Of all the local laments heard when Minnesota’s bid to host World Expo 2023 — a three-month world’s fair — fell short last November, none was more heartfelt than this: Minnesota would have gained much from the brand identity that would have derived from the intended Expo theme, “Healthy People, Healthy Planet: Wellness and Well-being for All.”
To their credit, visionary thinkers at Minnesota’s Medical Alley Association, the public relations firm Tunheim, and several others connected with the World Expo bid agreed. They decided not to let go of the idea that Minnesota is a fitting venue for a major gathering about innovation in health and medicine.
But they decided it should not be just one meeting, it should be an annual event. And it should be global in reach and expansive in its embrace of ideas and inventions for promoting human health.
The result is the MANOVA Global Summit, scheduled to debut at the Minneapolis Convention Center on Oct. 8 and run four days. The name is a mash-up of Medical Alley and innovation. Though it will be a far cry from a World Expo, MANOVA could be the start of something big.
With a registration fee for nonstudent individuals starting at $850, MANOVA isn’t for everyone. (Group discounts are available.) But for health and wellness specialists who seek a window on their industry’s future and connections with those who will help shape it, the summit should have considerable appeal. In addition to Medical Alley, the event’s founding partners include Walmart and Mayo Clinic; the event is also getting substantial support from Minnesota Public Radio and the University of St. Thomas. The MANOVA organizational team, which calls itself the 2023 Partners, is headed by Mark Addicks, a former chief marketing officer for General Mills.
Even for nonattendees, MANOVA’s content is worth noting. Its organizers envision a larger role ahead for consumers and retailers in American health care. They believe care providers have growing reason to work in concert not only with developers of new products and treatment regimens, but also with those who finance, market and distribute them. MANOVA will strive to bring such stakeholders together.
If that doesn’t fire your imagination, this should: High-level work is continuing to build Minnesota’s international reputation as a place where human health is practiced, protected and restored.
That’s an identity that Minnesotans should be proud to take as their own. It’s true to this state’s history, affirming of its current industrial strengths and durable for the future. It’s inclusive and aspirational. Everyone shares an interest in health. Every Minnesotan can be engaged in sustaining his or her own health and enhancing the health of others.
And every Minnesota leader, in both the public and private sectors, should be thinking about how their institutions can contribute to the branding work that the Expo bid started and MANOVA Global Summit aims to continue.