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The Inclusive Economy

Learning Cluster Uses Human Insights Research to Develop Promising Savings Innovations

By Parker Cohen and Pamela Chan on 02/04/2016 @ 10:00 AM

Tags: Financial Capability, News

Years of evidence show that with the right tools, even the most financially vulnerable families can save to build a better future for themselves and their children. At the same time, we know that being diligent about saving can be a challenge for people from all walks of life. That’s why CFED, with the generous support of MetLife Foundation, convened six organizations from across the country in the Savings Innovation Learning Cluster. The goal of this project was to design and implement innovative savings solutions based on the needs of low- and moderate-income clients. The result is a series of lessons about “human-centered design” that can inform the development of products that boost financial capability.

Over the past 18 months, Learning Cluster participants have been working on projects that incorporate elements of consumer research, behavioral economics and human-centered design—a creative, inclusive process for developing programs that are tailored to the needs of clients. In other words, by gaining more insight into the needs of their clients, Learning Cluster participants designed and implemented services that meet client needs while maximizing impact. These methods are highlighted in Spurring Savings Innovations: Human Insight Methods for Savings Programs, a brief that details four of the human insight methods used during the Learning Cluster: client interviews, client journey mapping, concept boards and prototyping. The brief also highlights how other financial capability and asset-building organizations across the country can use these methods to enhance their own service delivery.

We also published Saving by Design: An Analysis of Six Strategies’ Potential for Scale, which provides a scalability analysis of the six savings strategies pioneered by the Learning Cluster participants. This analysis details each organization’s savings strategies and their results, as well as the types of organizations that could implement similar strategies and their potential for widespread adoption.

We encourage service providers looking to improve the outcomes of their savings programs to leverage these lessons to inform opportunities to innovate and refine those programs. By embracing a human-centered approach—one that takes client input, behavior and needs into account during each stage of the process—we can put more families on the road to financial capability and long-term financial stability.

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