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Everyone has access to positive family experiences, quality co-learning & meaningful community connections to realize wellness & potential.

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Updates: How has your idea changed or evolved throughout the Prize? What updates have you made to this submission? (1500 characters)

As parents and family members ourselves, our Founder and co-founding families encounter everyday challenges to achieve work-life balance, network support, and accessible quality learning. This is why iNFamily partners with family champions and community leaders to develop the locally adaptable solutions. Our idea has evolved throughout the Prize by taking our "Listen Learn Engage Educate Empower" approach to focus in on modern families of transitional stages, including the 0-3 early childhood development. For parents/families of younger-age children, we have come to understand that trusted support services--including household tasks and experience sharing--as well as meaningful community connections can be so valuable for parents to realize their own wellness first and foremost. Parents with better family-work balance and a positive community support system can more consistently express care and love to their children, in addition to cultivating a quality learning environment. We have also learned that not all families can financially afford such support and co-learning opportunities, so a point credit system to exchange provided services and programs is fundamentally important for all families to benefit.

Name or Organization

iNFamily Education International. We partner with local, national and international organizations such as The Association of Midwest Museums and New York Hall of Science to bring high-quality, research-based learning activities, programs and training to modern families and local communities.


Our core team is currently headquartered in Silicon Valley, California, but with resource partners and advisors across the West Coast, East Coast (particularly the Tri-State area) and the Mid-West region. We are rolling out in Northern California first to launch family co-learning groups and community innovations hubs in Berkeley and San Jose. Our 2018 plan is to build core competencies through on-the-ground community work, and then replicate the model nationally with local & regional partners.

What is your stage of development?

  • New Innovator, with less than one year of experience in ECD


  • For - Profit

What is the stage of your proposal?

  • Piloting: I have started to implement my solution as a whole with a first set of real users.

Describe your submission in one clear sentence

iNFamily matches and facilitates family support, co-learning opportunities and community connections that evolve with family life, needs and improvement goals.

Describe how your solution could be a game-changer for your selected Opportunity Area (600 characters)

We EMPOWER today’s modern families with everyday support and lifelong co-learning that embody our core values in S.H.A.R.E. (Sight. Happiness. Aspiration. Responsibility. Empathy.). Through iNFamily, family collaborative experiences are transformed into dynamic opportunities for wellness, experience-based “gig” work and community entrepreneurship. We zone in on vetting and training family partners and community coaches to deliver family support services & quality co-learning programs, We match families so they have the ADAPTIVE EXPERIENCES and COMMUNITY SUPPORT to navigate the ECD journey.

Select an Innovation Target

  • Platform: Creating a community or market that facilitates interaction between users and resources.

Tell us more about your innovation (1500 characters)

iNFamily is a network of trusted family partners and a marketplace of cross-cultural, multilingual co-learning groups to support and empower families to improve outcomes. We match families with the following: o Family support: On-Demand Access to Wisdom/ Experience Sharing, Household Tasks & Socio-Emotional Support. | Scenario Example: A working mom needs a last-minute child care arrangement for her 2-year-old due to a prolonged work meeting. ~ iNFamily Solution: Match the mom with local iNFamily partners so she could pick a partner to assist with the pick-up and care arrangement. o Co-learning: Next-Gen Learner-Centric Programs via Family Co-Learning Groups (1:8 ratio), Community Co-Op Hubs, Webinars, and Live-Streaming Sessions. | Scenario Example: A stay-home mom is interested in cultivating English-Chinese bilingual learning for her 3-year-old. ~ iNFamily Solution: Match the mom with a local co-learning group host whom can assist to deploy a certified coach to facilitate a weekly level-up program at the mom's house or at a playdate gathering as an one-time or recurring activity. o Community connection: Teams of experts, coaches, and everyday community members to support individual needs via app and community co-op hubs. | Scenario Example: A father struggles with his 1.5-year-old's screaming behavior. ~ iNFamily Solution: Match the dad with parents of similar experiences & trained ECD counselors for different answers; paid options for "1-on-1 consultation."

What problem are you aiming to solve? (3 sentences)

We are aiming to solve the problem that today’s parents do not have systematic access to adequate peer/mentor guidance, positive support and community resources to accompany their parenthood & ECD journey. The everyday work-family challenges set them back into a vicious cycle of imbalanced selves, thus undermining their parental roles. Mothers, in particular, disproportionally endure the inequitable pressure.

Explain your idea (5000 characters)

iNFamily 1.0 - ON-DEMAND FAMILY SUPPORT (Chatbot via Web & Messenger/Text-Based) Through iNFamily, family members focus on their to-do’s; we take care of the rest by matching access to sound advice, household tasks and family support. 1. Describe your need: Choose from a variety of family support services* and select the day and time you'd like your need fulfilled. Give us the details and we'll find you the help. 2. Get matched: Select from a list of qualified and fully vetted iNFamily Partners for your need. Choose Partners by your preference and start chatting with them. 3. Mission accomplished: When your need is fulfilled, payment will happen seamlessly and securely. *2018 Service Areas: Growth & Learning ; Entertainment & Activities; Family Life; Wellness Support; Logistics Planning iNFamily 2.0 – ON-DEMAND COMMUNITY SUPPORT (Unlimited Q&A subscription app) Support is our craft. We bring teams of experts, coaches, and everyday community members to custom support your individual needs – from being empathetic listeners to answering your questions. For $9.99/month, subscribers get unlimited Q&A support from the iNFamily community partners, daily feeds of the latest family/learning/economy/job trends, and bi-weekly webinars. Premium subscription plans and 1-on-1 consultation are available to access specialized experts and experienced family partners. iMuseLab 1.0 – NEXT-GEN INNOVATOR TRAINING (iACE Cross-Cultural, Multilingual Programs) iNFamily’s “future of learning” model – “iMuseLab” -- focuses on cultivating next-generation “GLOCAL-minded” creative and innovative talents. It goes beyond the much-talked about 21st century skills. It offers a unique combination of iNFamily values, adaptability mindsets and World Economic Forum research-based competencies required for the future economy. iMuseLab adopts iACE ((innovative Athletes, Creatives and Entrepreneurs) -- a cross-cultural, multilingual leveled-up innovator training framework based on the “performance excellence” criteria for Athletes, Creatives and Entrepreneurs. Coach-led blended learning is facilitated to activate the “purpose,” “mindsets,” and “cross-disciplinary competencies” of learners. For the ECD age group, we leverage the proven learner-centric delivery model to engage babies and toddlers in developmental age-specific exploration and activities. iMuseLab 2.0 – FAMILY CO-LEARNING & COMMUNITY CO-OP HUBS (Drop-in & Membership) From “Mommy’s Breakfast Tea”, “Daddy’s Sports Bar,” to “Next-Gen iACE” and “Little World.” iMuseLab events and activities help families nurture a strong family co-learning and community co-op culture. We support what families need to inspire and facilitate co-op effectively. We offer a flexible point system ($50+/month) and membership plans ($99+/month) to allow families to choose the levels of family support/co-learning exchanges/community co-op they aspire to, or start with just a program and see where it takes. For $149+ monthly memberships, families can enjoy participating in a variety of activities and programs offered by different iMuseLab and family co-learning locations to suite their preferences. Members also have exclusive access to the iNFamily marketplace, network with peer members and coaches, as well as gain personalized support to achieve their improvement goals. For ECD, we offer space and activities designed to help families explore a world of play and learning alongside their infants and toddlers. We encourage co-learning through all kinds of sensory play, fun and family intimacy. Membership 1. Fill Out a Family Profile: Share your family setting, day-to-day challenges and support preferences. 2. Get Matched: Get 3 personalized iMuseLab matching recommendations for your current needs. 3. Keep What You Want: Continue what works; stop the rest and try something new. We will match you with iMuseLab* programs/services to best help and support you.

Who benefits? (1500 characters)

Modern families across different communities.

What kind of impact will your idea have? (1500 characters)

By 2020, we aim to bring our programs across the US at scale, reaching 100,000 families directly through our model and 1.5 million through skill-based changes to the ECD practices.

How does or how could your idea impact low-income children? (1500 characters)

To empower families who cannot otherwise access quality co-learning programs and family support services, iNFamily launches the One-for-One iNCommunity giving to support and inspire families in need. Equity and inclusiveness are guiding principles to iNFamily’s work at all levels to provide the support resources and network to increase learners’ and parents’ completion of quality programs linked to wellness and economic security for families. We hare also in the process of designing a point credit system for families to exchange provided services and programs through their own work/support achieved through the iNFamily platform. This provides both upward financial opportunities to families of low-income children, as well as equal learning opportunities.

Innovation: What makes your concept innovative? (1500 characters)

Implementation of an entirely new business model by repurposing and maximizing values of the underutilized talents (e.g. stay-home parents, retired people, SOHO professionals, etc.), resources (e.g. libraries, community centers, children museums, etc.) and programs (e.g. leading ECD programs from nonprofits, ELL platform from other geographies, etc.) across communities.

Scale: Describe how your idea could reach a significant number of end-users. (1500 characters)

COMMUNITY OF FAMILY PARTNERS & ENTREPRENEURS We work with family champions and community leaders to help them start their family support/co-learning services & mobile community hubs. We provide assistance with needs assessment, marketplace matching, coach deployment, professional development, rating system, payment collection and everything in between. We pioneer the “iNFamilyPreneur” model to empower independent, community ambassadors with incentive-based community distribution network. Imagine entrepreneurial opportunities to promote and grow quality family co-learning and community co-op from home and in the community to achieve upward financial and learning mobility with flexible family-work arrangements. To empower families who cannot otherwise access quality co-learning programs and family support services, iNFamily launches the One-for-One iNCommunity giving to support and inspire families in need. Equity and inclusiveness are guiding principles to iNFamily’s work at all levels to provide the support resources and network to increase learners’ and parents’ completion of quality programs linked to wellness and economic security for families.

Feasibility: Where are you with understanding the feasibility of your idea? Describe what you’ve done so far and your plans. (3000 characters)

We have done pilots in the K-12 age group for our programs. We have acheievd a 100% retention rate with ~100 families involved, as well as activated more than 50% of our family participants and coach base to become ambassdors in their respective communities. We have an all-star team with over 70 years of executive and start-up experiences in education, technology, content marketing, consulting & research, led by a cross-disciplinary trained and Ivy league-educated Founder with a proven extrapreneur record of exponentially multiplying revenue streams by repurposing programs & people via data analytics. The iNFamily advisory board is headed by McKinsey Academy's co-founder Michael Keany, joined by experts and thought leaders such as Deloitte Innovation Lab's Founding CTO, HBO's SVP of Infrastructure & Operations and Executive Director of Association of Midwest Museums.

Business Viability: How viable is your business model? (1500 characters)

Word of mouth is the natural propensity in co-learning and family experience sharing. By ensuring the highest levels of service quality, experience satisfaction and co-learning commitment, iNFamilyPreneurs contribute to the next-gen family co-learning and community co-op through their natural access points of parental, communal and institutional networks. We provide the platform, tools and database to help iNFamilyPreneurs build and expand family co-learning and community co-op by repurposing and maximizing values of the underutilized talents (e.g. stay-home parents, retired people, SOHO professionals, etc.), resources (e.g. libraries, community centers, children museums, etc.) and programs (e.g. leading PBL programs from nonprofits, ELL platform from other geographies, etc.) across communities.

HCD: How have you used human centered design to build or refine your concept? (1500 characters)

Please see the imaged slides for more details.

Tell us more about you (3000 characters)

Cathy’s nearly two decades of educational devotion started at the age of 18 when she initiated NYLD in the Bay Area using hip hop to engage literacy learning & youth development. While at Deloitte Consulting, Cathy spearheaded the thoughtware and multi-million-dollar practice development of Early Learning Network that was adopted by states like Pennsylvania. Her innovative and data-driven approaches to education landed her a leadership offer to head NYC DOE's Office of Early Childhood Education. Yet, to bridge her multicultural passion and her transitioning role into single parenthood, Cathy subsequently led New York Chinese Cultural Center as Executive Director and then went abroad to assume the EVP & Deputy Editor-in-Chief role at BiG, a Greater China region's family edutainment and publishing group for Disney, Marvel and Discovery Kids bilingual programs. As a Millennial parent on-the-go, Cathy shares the similar daily experience with everyday families striving to achieve work-life balance, network support and accessible quality learning. Thus, in 2016, she started iNFamily Education with the mission to empower improved outcomes for modern families. iNFamily builds on a smart data and experience-driven model to provide family support services and personalized learning experiences via family co-learning groups and community co-op hubs that evolve with family life, needs and improvement goals. Cathy was honored in 2016 with Phenomenal Women's Award by Santa Clara Office of Women's Policy. She was Chair of Parent Advisory Committee and Executive Board Treasurer for her home school district in San Jose.

Do you have the people and partners you need to do what you’ve described? (500 characters)

Yes, we have a strong all-star team with over 70 years of executive and start-up experiences in education, technology, content marketing, consulting & research. We have also targated rollout partners across different institutions, content providers and technology partners, including PTA, Hive, Worldwide Women, New York Hall of Science, Ashoka's Parenting Changemakers, Association of Midwest Musuems, Adobe, etc. We are looking for impact investors & foundation funders for larger-scale rollout.

Are you willing to share your email contact information submitted on OpenIDEO with Gary Community Investments?

  • Yes, share my contact information

[Optional] Biography: Upload your biography. Please include links to relevant information (portfolio, LinkedIn profile, organization website, etc).

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Thanks for your idea Cathy, I really like it. All the best

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Nice And Good Blog

Photo of Dahalia Jackson

Hi Cathy, I really like your brilliant idea to support the modern family across communities and wondered about your plans to support/include families of children with disabilies or complex medical needs?

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I like your idea because it promotes learning and social collaboration. Good Luck!

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I love the "it takes a village to raise a child" approach with the modern twist. Is there anyway to implement some kind of a barter system for the people who can not afford the payments? Giving their time and services value while also providing the families with services they need. Or a sliding fee scale?

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Interesting model, but I am not sure that I see this getting buy-in from low-income families and communities, who could be a critical audience for enhancing family engagement. I find the value proposition more appealing for middle to upper class families with 2 working parents.

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Cathy I am passing on your idea to Parents as Teachers National Centers Family Engagement Specialist Lindsey Forton

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Hi Cathy! I am the Family Engagement Specialist at Parents as Teachers and I would love to chat with you more about this idea to see what you have found and are hoping to find from the project. We are doing a lot of work around family engagement and are always excited to see what others are doing in the field!

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This idea really gets my thoughts about community engagement going. I am interested to hear about experiences in your k-12 project.

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Same here! :)

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One of the missing thing in our society today is sufficient family support. I think parents should give their children more time as by so doing they help improve their learning abilities.
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I enjoyed reading your project. I live in Denver, CO. I hope to connect. Best, Roya

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