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Financial Empowerment Challenge Ideas phase: How did we get here?

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Our Financial Empowerment Challenge Ideas phase has begun! If it’s anything like the Research phase, we know we’re all in store for some creative, insightful and unexpected ideas that will change the way we look at financial empowerment – and of course, some lively discussions and inspiring collaborations that will bring out the best in our ideas along the way.

But how did we get here?

If you’re curious about what went on behind the scenes as we prepared for the Ideas phase, read on.

Why Research?

When we use human-centered design to tackle a big topic like financial empowerment, we start with research because it allows us to dig deep into the issue, understand more about what’s working and what isn’t, and build empathy for the people it affects.

During the Financial Empowerment Challenge Research phase, we used approaches like interviewing, sharing our personal stories, observing the models and systems that are already out there, and finding creative ways of putting ourselves in other people’s shoes. This helped us experience the issue from all angles and uncover patterns and themes that could shed light on the places we really need to focus on when we start brainstorming solutions.

What’s Synthesis?

There’s no official roadmap for synthesis, but it’s where we bring together all of our research, observations and insights, take a step back, and identify emerging themes and opportunity areas for designing solutions. In other words, we ask ourselves: ‘What areas appear to be ripe for innovation?’

So how did the OpenIDEO Team do this?

  • We read through all of your Research posts (yes, all 272 of them!), digging into the conversations they’ve sparked, and identifying the issues and insights each post brings to light.

  • We kept track of these insights, and noted when other posts offering additional (and sometimes contrasting) perspectives got added along the way.

  • Towards the end of the Research phase, we started grouping and regrouping the posts and their underlying themes until clear opportunity areas emerged.

  • We discussed these with our challenge sponsors, CO-OP Financial Services and MasterCard, to get their input and ensure these themes aligned with their goals for the challenge, too.

  • When we had 6 that stood out, we started crafting new “How Might We” questions, generative prompts to encourage explorations in the Ideas phase.

Where does that leave us now?

As we dive into the Ideas phase, we’ll be able to choose from these opportunity areas, or “Missions,” and add our relevant ideas – no matter how early-stage – that might have potential for addressing these issues. Read more about these Opportunity Areas.

What fresh ideas do these opportunity areas spark for you?

As we move forward, let’s keep the momentum going. Join a local OpenIDEO Meetup to brainstorm solutions with other passionate people in your community, or download our Brainstorm in a Box to host your own ideation session. Add your own ideas, or help others’ ideas develop by contributing your comments, questions and expertise. And remember, like the human-centered design process, OpenIDEO challenges are meant to be iterative, so the earlier you get your idea onto the platform, the more community input you’ll receive!

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Thanks for being part of the OpenIDEO community and the Financial Empowerment Challenge – we can’t wait to see what we create together!

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Financial Empowerment Challenge


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