Have you met the Financial Empowerment Challenge Community Champions? Hailing from Chicago, Brazil, Nairobi and Turkey, Andy Witt, André Fernandez, Wekesa Zablon and Alper Yaglioglu are OpenIDEO community members who have volunteered to help enhance our discussions and support the development of great ideas. Collectively, they contribute to the community by posting their own ideas, creating connections among community members and building upon contributions.
Leveraging their past experience in OpenIDEO Challenges, their diverse skills and their unique perspectives, each Community Champion has taken on on a specific role:
André, our Community Researcher, helps community members strengthen their ideas by testing their assumptions, defining the end users and incorporating relevant research and inspiration into their work.
Andy, our Community Anthropologist, digs to find interesting themes, exciting collaborations and impressive teams, and reports back to the community in forms of blog posts.
Wekesa acts as our Community Cross-Pollinator, highlighting and encouraging interaction and creating connections across the OpenIDEO community.
Alper, our Community Prototyper, helps community members prototype their ideas by guiding their thinking and uncovering actionable items and quick experiments.
We asked our Community Champions a few questions to get to know them better:
What do you love about the OpenIDEO community?
Alper: I feel lucky being surrounded by awesome OpenIDEO members who are more than happy to share their expertise and unique perspectives with the community. I begin every challenge with zero knowledge and end up being a real expert. That's what I love most about the community.
Wekesa: OpenIDEO is a space to develop courage by vigorously learning and adopting your thoughts based on the new insights the community affords us. Almost immediately after sharing your ideas on OpenIDEO, you are furnished with an unexpected path of new ideas and promising possibilities.
Andy: OpenIDEOers are amazingly optimistic and tirelessly wanting. We sit on the cusp of a brilliant future, dependent only on our present. With open minds and illuminated hearts, OpenIDEOers have the indistinguishable spirit of ambition to no less than change the world.
What excites you most about the Financial Empowerment Challenge?
André: I see money as an important tool to give comfort to my family, to make my dreams come true and to create value in a larger scale. Money requires responsibility, as it impacts other areas of our lives - relationships, self-esteem, careers, emotions, etc. It's a topic that triggers me.
Andy: It is a great untapped potential, leveraging the raw power of communities—their values, networks and resources—to affect meaningful impact at scale. Though we may be collaborating with a focus on financial empowerment, our resulting outcomes will strike infinite ripples across other industries. We’re talking wave change.
Wekesa: Nairobi, a business hub and capital in East and Central Africa, is a “space of diversity”. Kenya has churned out a few recognisable tools around financial inclusion and empowerment, such as M Pesa, Mbao pension plan among others, and I want to share it with the OpenIDEO community and give the challenge a global perspective.
Do you have any advice for newcomers to OpenIDEO?
André: The advice I'd give: go ahead and don't hesitate to show your opinions! Try, fail, stand up again and keep on moving!
Alper: Mix with the community. The best way to do that is to join the conversations happening around the posts. We'd like to learn more about you and your unique perspective that might inspire others in the community. Finally, please don't leave the challenges after the Research phase! Seriously, don't waste the inspiration, the Ideas phase is where real magic happens.
Andy: Challenge what is. Create what could be. Change the world. No idea is too wild, no future too unreachable. Whether you were with us from the beginning of the challenge or just testing the water now, fresh perspectives are always warmly welcomed—we're so glad to have you on our team!
Keep an eye out for these guys during the challenge. They’re doing a great job and are helping to support an awesome community that’s creating real global impact.