OREGON PROSPERITY DESIGN LAB
Office of the Governor of Oregon | Oregon Business Council | OBC Poverty Reduction Task Force (2014)
DESIGNER AND CO-FACILITATOR
529 for CHILD CARE
A tax-advantaged savings investment vehicle
Oregon Governor Kitzhaber, with the support of the Oregon Business Council (OBC), sponsored a Design Lab to identify design ideas that will address some of the challenges of moving people from poverty into good jobs balanced with a humane safety net for those who cannot work. The Design Lab is an impact project for the Prosperity Agenda championed by the First Lady of Oregon, Cylvia Hayes, and supported by the OBC Poverty Reduction Task Force.
The Design Lab focused on building the bridge from a safety net to higher-income stability for specific target groups of people in poverty and looking at the system designs that will result in the best outcomes for each target group. The system designs that will work for targeted groups will then be looked at collectively to see what universal system design ideas should be implemented and which designs may be appropriate for specific target groups.
DISCOVERY AND RESEARCH
Our team's initial phase began with a discussion of our assumptions and challenging what we believed we knew about local economies and poverty. Research was conducted to determine the target groups that represent the majority of poverty in the state. Over 360 participated in discovery conversations and data was synthesized from local and state agencies to develop the target personas.
All six personas were developed to ground the work of the community design lab teams. The community design labs teams were made up 8-12 individuals from the community, business leaders, health care sector employees, UX / CX designers, and government officials all led by a facilitator that took place the course of three days.
Personas and Infographics
DESIGN LAB OBSERVATIONS AND INSIGHTS
Facilitators guided the community design teams through a Human-Centered design framework including empathy, define, ideation, and pre-prototyping in order to come up with new ideas to solve the personas problem.
MORE CUSTOMER DISCOVERY
With additional customer discovery, we determined that those in poverty have little way to pay for child care when they needed it most. Credits, vouchers, and other methods we still either insufficient or people didn't meet the criteria.
IDEATION: CHILD CARE BANK
After rounds of facilitated ideation sessions, the team landed on a child care savings plan modeled after the 529 education saving plan. In a 529 account, money can grow free from federal taxes and be used to fund qualified expenses at eligible institutions nationwide.
The solution solved our identified challenges:
1. High cost of monthly child care expenses that put it out of reach
2. Small payments could be invested early on to build a "nest egg"
Paying for child health care was the most determinant factor for families
facing and experiencing poverty.