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Financial Empowerment Challenge Opportunity Areas (or "Missions")

In the Research phase we explored the many issues surrounding financial empowerment – from the power of social networks and common bonds, to the untapped potential of community hubs and spaces.

Drawing from these insights, we’ve identified six opportunity areas, or "Missions," that we can use as jumping off points as we brainstorm new solutions in the Ideas phase.


As we learned in our Research phase, when it comes to finances, the universal currency is trust. Social bonds and community connections are often the foundation upon which financial empowerment solutions are built. Yet sometimes, we don’t realize the strength of our own networks, or don’t even recognize we’re part of them in the first place. Let’s seek out unique networks that may often be overlooked to capitalize on the power of trust and common bonds in creating financial opportunity.

How might we realize the untapped potential of social networks to support new financial opportunities and solutions?


Financial education isn’t integrated seamlessly into our lives – in fact, it’s often overlooked in traditional avenues like primary and secondary school, or forgotten in other mainstream channels like media and entertainment. In addition to these systemic barriers, obstacles to learning also stem from our own inability to identify our educational needs and remain engaged in the learning process – especially because everyone learns differently. We’ve seen the proliferation of innovative teaching tools that improve learning for all subjects. How might we learn from the best of these and apply them to financial education?

How might we use unconventional teaching methods and tools to instill greater financial knowledge and confidence?


Every community has common spaces, centers and institutions that naturally draw people together. These hubs represent shared community needs and hopes, safe spaces for people and groups, and serve as a crossroads of activity and cultural exchange – and in some cases, these shared spaces aren’t even physical. Let’s explore creative uses of these spaces that might unlock new solutions for financially empowering communities.

How might we use existing community hubs and resources to improve financial services?


Financial institutions and the resources they provide can be intimidating and difficult to navigate. In many cases, a lack of information – or extreme complexity of information – and lack of transparency are obstacles to making sound financial decisions. These resources are often especially challenging and inaccessible for diverse populations. Let’s rethink how traditional services and resources are delivered, and design solutions that can help simplify and humanize finances for everyone.

How might we make traditional financial services simpler and more human-centered?


We make financial decisions every day, whether we realize it or not. Our default financial behaviors are influenced by an array of factors, many seemingly outside our control – from cultural norms and the actions of those around us, to challenging personal circumstances and mental strains. Let’s think about how we can overcome these diverse barriers by imagining solutions that promote better financial habits – and make us agents of our own financial futures.

How might we cultivate habits that lead to healthier financial behavior?


Traditional financial institutions and systems don’t always meet the needs of all community members. In some cases, people simply don’t have access to banking services, while in others, social, cultural or economic factors make mainstream systems difficult or out of reach. Let’s imagine how alternative systems can promote financial independence by capturing the unique needs and resourcefulness of diverse communities.

How might we apply financial mechanisms that fall outside the mainstream?

What new ideas do these Opportunity Areas spark for you? Share them with us!