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ReFresh 01: Financial Empowerment Challenge Highlights – Building Empathy

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With one week left in the Research Phase, let's reflect on what's been inspiring us in the Financial Empowerment Challenge so far!

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Image Contributions:  Andreas ThomaBrian RenkeRyan's History Classes  

Building empathy is a powerful part of the human-centered design process.  By putting ourselves in someone else's shoes, we're able to become more aware of people's unmet needs, their unexpressed feelings, and how they behave in their environments. More importantly, by engaging directly with people's experiences, we're able to extract insights that can create opportunities for innovative ideas to happen. That's why we're excited to share some highlights of how our OpenIDEO community has been building empathy on and off the challenge boards.

Community Refresh

Individual Interviews – Conducting individual interviews is a great way to take a deep dive into empathy. We're inspired to hear Andreas Thoma's conversation with Hilaria - a maid who had grown up in a small community within the Tlaxcalancingo region of Mexico. It was revealing to learn that Hilaria's community relied on each other for loans due to fear of being in debt with large financial institutions. More so, Hilaria also expressed that she would've opened a bank account had there been someone to show her how the banking system works.      

Share Your Story – Another fantastic way to engage with people's experiences is to share your story with the OpenIDEO community. We're always excited to see how many people resonate with the personal narratives on the platform. A great example of this is Brian Renke's personal reflection on the qustion: What Does a Financial Mentor look Like? Brian's account of learning financial literacy from his father sparked our community to share similar stories of who their financial mentors had been growing up.   

Empathy Workshops – Likewise, storytelling also loves company. That's why we were thrilled when Ryan's History Classes held an empathy workshop with 76 ninth and tenth graders to kickoff the Financial Empowerment Challenge. After discussions, the students each reflected on the OpenIDEO research posts and shared their stories of what financial empowerment means to them. We can't wait to hear more updates from this fantastic research project.

Community Voices

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Trevor Hallstein is an entrepreneur who runs a mission oriented investment company in San Francisco. He has been a rockstar in building empathy with people both on and off the OpenIDEO platform. Let's take a look at what he has in store for the upcoming Ideas Phase of the Financial Empowerment Challenge.

We’re excited to hear that you were inspired by Libraries as Financial Literacy Hubs. Tell us about your plans to interview the staff of Bay Area libraries.

Trevor: I stopped by this weekend and had an initial conversation with the supervising librarian at Oakland Public Library, my local library branch. She was familiar with the Financial Well-Being program out of the South San Francisco Public Library and was interested in speaking more early this week. I’ll keep you posted on what I learn!

How might we help you prepare for the upcoming Idea Phase of this challenge?

Trevor: When talking about the Oakland Public Library offering financial literacy workshops, the librarian asked, “Do you have a curriculum”. Leveraging the OpenIDEO community around this could be helpful. I feel entirely out of my league around what does financial empowerment look like for the Oakland Public Library's general patron base. Getting input from people with direct experience in supportive services to keep the curriculum in line with human centered design principles would be helpful.

Let's Look Ahead

We'd love for our OpenIDEO community to support Trevor in building financial literacy programs for Bay Area public libraries. Have awesome feedback to share? Chime in on Trevor's latest research contribution here: Oakland Public Libraries. We'd also love to hear more stories of how people are building empathy for the Financial Empowerment Challenge. So let's grab our Interview Toolkit and head out into our communities!

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