Listening to clients in Ukraine

How can we design products based on feedback we’re hearing from clients? This was the question the HOPE Ukraine team sought to answer at a three-day retreat in July, using a process based on IDEO’s human-centered design approach. After collecting client feedback, HOPE Ukraine wanted to step back and brainstorm ideas based on their potential impact on clients. According to Dan Williams, HOPE’s director of spiritual integration:

It can be really easy to go into an operational mindset, to start problem solving, and to think about ideas from the perspective of, “Will it work?” without letting ourselves live in that space of, “What are our clients saying is important to them, and can we find a way to make it work even if our immediate response is that it would be tough?”

The process

First, the team dived into client feedback and came up with a number of observations, which they grouped into themes.

1.1 Grouping observations

These observations led to several “How might we…” questions to start asking how HOPE Ukraine might meet these needs. Out of these, the team chose a few questions to develop further, including, “How might we expand or increase our impact through providing other non-lending services?”

3.1 HMW Question

The story

From this question, one group pursued the idea of a greenhouse incubator, a working greenhouse that would train farmers in the skills needed to successfully run a greenhouse. To help think through the idea, they invented the hypothetical Volodya family, who’ve worked their fields for years but don’t have the technical knowledge to develop greenhouse farming. Their son, Volodya Jr., graduated from college but doesn’t have a job—a common problem in Ukraine that’s led many young people to leave home in search of work.

4.1 - target client

The team mapped out Volodya Jr.’s potential interaction with the incubator, starting with hearing about the project, visiting it, and deciding to join.

4.4 - vision trip  4.5 - arrival

As Volodya Jr. received classroom and on-the-job training, he’d also be discipled by facilitators and develop or deepen his relationship with God.

4.6 - training and discipleship

At the end of the training, Volodya Jr. would graduate—and receive his share of the greenhouse’s profits. The graduates might even decide together how to tithe a portion of their income.

4.7 - harvest and graduation

Once Volodya Jr. graduated, he could either start his own greenhouse incubator, passing on the knowledge he’d gained, or help his family move into greenhouse farming on their own land.

4.8 - invest and multiply

Over the next few months, the HOPE Ukraine team will explore these ideas further, tabling some and refining others to be piloted with clients. While they may find that a greenhouse incubator isn’t the best way to meet the needs of clients, the exercise provided a helpful framework to think about the story they’re trying to work toward and the impact they’re hoping to see.

HOPE Intl

HOPE Intl

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As Christ’s followers responding to His great love, HOPE International seeks physical, social, spiritual, and personal restoration in places of brokenness. Through Christ-centered microenterprise development, we empower men and women to strengthen their families, build their businesses, and unleash their dreams.

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