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ReFresh 05: Financial Empowerment Challenge Highlights – Community Centered Ideas

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With one week left in the Ideas Phase, lets reflect on how the role of communities has been driving the development of concepts on the challenge boards!

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Image Contribution: Alejandra Baigun, Microlearning

A significant part of the Financial Empowerment Challenge is focused on the inherent potential of communities. During the Research Phase, we learned that the broad umbrella of ‘communities’ can be narrowed down when we consider the unique contexts of the people that we’re designing solutions for. Often, it helps to flesh out a concept with a specific audience before the idea can be scaled up to address the needs of people everywhere. Let’s take a look at how our global collaborators have been developing ideas to address the financial needs of specific community groups.


Community-Centered Ideas


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Harness Unique NetworksTraditional Food Markets in India

In response to how traditional mom and pop shops are being pushed out by organized retailers in Delhi, Ambily Adithyan is working on a home delivery platform to empower local vendors with better access to local markets.


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Launchpads for LearningThe Power of Volunteerism

Building on the Bridge Initiative that launched during the OpenIDEO Youth Employment Challenge, Jean-Marc Mercy is planning to train a team of 50 youths to empower his local Kinshasa community with financial literacy skills.


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Reimagine Community SpacesThe Maslow’s Street Fair

Inspired by Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, Delilah Renee Smith is planning to leverage public spaces in San Francisco to create community events where homeless individuals in the process of rehabilitation can access basic financial resources.


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Fix What ExistsFace to Face Lending

Recognizing that almost 40% of Americans are excluded from mainstream banks, Jared ByBee is working to build a network of credit promoters to help marginalized communities in Athens, Georgia improve their credit scores.


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Change Our WaysA Grassroots Youth Campaign

Inspired by the “Rock the Vote” initiative, Tori Adele Signorelli has been designing a youth campaign to change the stigma around money-talk and promote financial responsibility amongst high-school and university students.


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Circumvent the SystemThe SIMS: Personal Finance Life

What if we could utilize a virtual community to simulate experiences that can lead to better financial habits in real life? Brian Renke is proposing to build on the successful SIMS platform to help people practice financial decisions.



Community Voices

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Mansi Parikh is a MBA student and entrepreneur based in Boston, Massachusetts. She’s been sharing a series of insightful contributions and thoughtful feedback in the challenge. We’ve definitely appreciated her super engagement so far. Let’s see what’s been inspiring Mansi in this challenge and how she will plan iterate on her Savings Card idea.  



Which conversations in the Ideas Phase have been inspiring you?

The Chameleon Card, The Financial Overview Kit and The Grassroots Youth Campaign have all been very fascinating and inspiring in developing ideas for the Savings Card. I believe all of these 3 ideas could easily become extensions for The Savings Card. The Ideas are coming in thick and fast and I haven't been able to keep up with the rate at which they are being uploaded and updated but hopefully I can catch up with many of them in the Feedback phase.

 How might you use the new experience map to help you iterate your idea?

The new experience map provides a great starting point to get everyone on the same page with my idea. Since adding the Map there have been some extremely insightful questions which have helped test and question assumptions, fostered new ideas that can be added in and an overall higher level of conversation which can help with future iterations. For example, since I added the Experience Map for the user, I've had a lot of questions about the incentives for the merchants and creating an experience map from that point of view is the next logical step in the process.


Lets Look Ahead

In the last week of the Ideas Phase, let’s continue to think about how our concepts can adapt to the financial needs of specific community groups. The Experience Map and User Scenario are great human-centered design tools that can help ground our ideas to the contexts of the people we're designing for. As we enter into the Feedback Phase of this challenge, we’ll look forward to how our larger OpenIDEO community will work together to collaboratively strengthen each others’ ideas!


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Financial Empowerment Challenge , ReFresh

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Photo of Han Jenny

The wellbeing of communities depends on the wellbeing of their members – and financial stability is at the core of our potential to thrive.
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