Human-Centered Design and Other Blog Topics
Believe it or not, but I blog on platforms other than this one. In fact, some of them have relevance to Fonkoze’s journey. Let me highlight a couple of recent ones.
A few days ago I posted a blog related to my visit to J/P Haitian Relief Organization, which was started by the actor Sean Penn in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake. They use TaroWorks, a technology tool developed by Grameen Foundation (my day job). I was able to tack the visit onto my trip to Haiti for the Fonkoze Family Coordinating Committee, which I Co-Chair. That meeting focused on the importance of Fonkoze being a member-based organization (and what that means in practice), and how SFF was working to increase client retention. As a result of that visit, I encouraged J/P HRO and Fonkoze to consider some areas for collaboration.
I have also published a blog on what I have learned about partnerships through working in the Arab World for the last ten years. After a preamble focused on the history of Grameen Foundation’s work there, I boiled it down to 10 lessons. I referred to this blog during my wrap-up comments at FFCC, since working in partnership — which can be very powerful and terribly maddening — is a central part of the Fonkoze journey, too.
Also on the Grameen Foundation “Insights” blog I wrote about the eMerge Americas conference, which was focused on jump-starting the idea of Miami becoming the Silicon Valley of Latin America. Maybe this vision, if realized, will create opportunities for Haitian-America tech entrepreneurs in Miami?
Lastly, I published a blog about a conference Grameen Foundation organized in Mumbai, India around the concept of user-centered design in financial products, also known as human centered design and client-centered design. Basically, the idea is designing financial products that are the most relevant to the needs of the poor, ideally in a customized way. Doing so could have a major impact on client retention. So could scaling up the Foundation’s adult education modules, so they were available to all clients who wanted them. Anyway, I gave the closing speech at the Mumbai conference and here is the text of my remarks, and here is a final report from the conference in an easy-to-read format.
User-centered design is one way of describing what SFF, in partnership with the Fonkoze Foundation, is doing in an effort to come up with a new generation of products for its members. It is not easy work, but it is what the Haiti’s poor need, and deserve. More than ever, I believe Fonokze has the team in place to design and deliver those products. But it will nonetheless take a massive effort to do so, and perhaps some lucky breaks from Mother Nature in the form of no major natural disasters for another year or two.
This coming Friday is the semi-annual retreat of the Fonkoze Futures Committee, which is focused on fund-raising for the family of Fonkoze organization — essentially spearheading a five-year capital campaign. I have agreed to Chair this group for one more year.
Furthest afield from my work with Fonkoze, I published blogs, such as this one, about my time in Key West celebrating my 20th wedding anniversary with a bunch of my dearest friends, including the Carter Brothers Band who entertained us for seven straight nights with amazing music.