Amazing Ideas Emerge from CO-OP THINK Prize 15

Amazing Ideas Emerge from THINK Prize 15

Five winning ideas were chosen to share recognition and a $10,000 prize in CO-OP THINK Prize 15: The Challenge, sponsored by CO-OP Financial Services and MasterCard.

What was the challenge? A stunning 2.5 billion people globally lack access to formal banking services like checking and savings accounts. Without basic financial resources, “getting ahead” is next to impossible.

OpenIDEO and contributors from around the world broke this challenge wide open by asking and answering the question: How might we use the power of communities to financially empower those who need it most? Grassroots efforts made by communities can spark change and financially empower, educate, and protect people who are financially underserved – but how?

Anyone was welcome to contribute to the CO-OP THINK Prize 15, whether they had a perspective or experience to share, a solution worth considering, or feedback on the value or feasibility of ideas. An amazing 14,738 visitors from 138 countries and territories went to OpenIDEO’s collaborative platform, with more than 500 active participants and nearly 2,500 on-line comments and contributions to team efforts.

During the challenge, diverse, often international idea teams were formed. Contributors not only developed their own ideas, but also collaborated with others. Offline collaboration took place through in-person meetups. Out of the many ideas, 26 were chosen to move on to the “Refinement” stage.

After several rounds of collaboration and feedback, the top five final ideas were selected based on the following criteria: Whether the idea was human-centered, collaborative, community-centered, unique, implementable, and showed a vision for success.

The final ideas ran the gamut from transforming the way people look at money to more day-to-day, grounded solutions. Contributors included people from all walks of life. While diverse, the ideas were also brilliant and inspiring. Each originator of the five winning ideas will receive an equal share of the $10,000 CO-OP THINK Prize 15.

The winners are:

Community Coin. Originated by Justin Bean, founder of San Francisco-based 3D Printing for Humanity, Community Coin is a new form of currency. Through an online and mobile app platform, individuals will be recognized and rewarded for providing services, and a new service-based economy would be created, with reputation acting as a form of currency.

Libraries as Financial Literacy Hubs. Originated by entrepreneur and fund manager Trevor Hallsstein of Oakland, California, libraries will serve as community hubs to teach skills and expose citizens to financial literacy tools. Basics would include how to create a budget, how to save for a down payment on a large-ticket item, and how to get a jump on starting a business.

Re-Look. Originated by Nicole Lopez-Conti, Manager of Communications and Public Affairs at Patelco Credit Union in San Francisco, Re-Look turns credit union members’ declined loans into approvals. Instead of flat-out rejection, it offers borrowers either a 30-, 60-, 90- or 180-day track to successfully reapply for loans. Members will learn the reasons why a loan was declined and get specific steps to become successful borrowers.

Harnessing the Power of Volunteerism to Empower Youth and Women. Originated by Jean-Marc Mercy, CEO and founder of the Bridge Initiative in the Democratic Republic of Congo, this idea involves training youth volunteers, particularly females, to empower community members to be financially literate and eventually gain access to credit to improve their livelihoods. The idea team will look to partner with academic institutions, embassies, and nonprofits to help train youth volunteers on community development.

A Grassroots Youth Campaign to Initiate Change. Originated by Tori Adele Signorelli, a Cincinnati-based freelance designer and writer, this idea team will create a youth campaign to change the stigma around money among high school and university students. It involves a social media campaign and grassroots efforts similar to the Rock the Vote initiative to generate buzz and build awareness, focusing on students who are between the ages of 18 to their early 20s.

CO-OP THINK Prize 15: The Challenge shows the tremendous change that is possible when we use our collective creativity and brilliance to come up with solutions from a grassroots approach to create change in our communities. To learn more about the winning ideas and follow them as they get implemented,           click here.