How Intuit’s Design Thinking Methods Helped a Middle School Raise Money
July 16, 2019 | Design Thinking
by ExperiencePoint

How Intuit’s Design Thinking Methods Helped a Middle School Raise MoneyDesign thinking isn’t just useful for driving business innovation. It can also be used to establish fundraising initiatives, if Intuit’s experience at one middle school is any indication.

Intuit has a long-held commitment to design thinking. CEO Brad Smith has been quoted as saying, “At Intuit, innovation is everyone’s job.” According to the company’s website, all of Intuit’s 8,000 employees are expected to create, invent and look for new and better ways to improve customers’ lives. They do this through two core innovation competencies called Customer Driven Innovation (CDI) and Design for Delight (D4D). Both are facets of design thinking.

With CDI, groups focus on important, unsolved customer problems and then figure out ways to solve those problems. With D4D, they take small, cross-functional teams that dive deep into customer empathy, focusing on what matters most. They get customers involved by using experiments and prototypes until they get it just right.

Recently, one team decided to use their design thinking principles to help a local middle school devise ways to increase funding. The school, Imago Dei, is a donation-based private school that aims to break the cycle of poverty for its students.

The challenge was to find innovative ways for the school to increase its funding, but the kids got something else in the bargain: mentoring in design thinking from a company that specializes in it.

Bake sales are well intentioned, but these types of initiatives are generally “one-and-done” fundraisers and not very sustainable. Instead, the Intuit team mentored the students to ideate something better. What they came up with not only helps the school, but it also teaches students important skills and helps the community as well.

They created an organic garden, tended to by the students. Without previously even knowing what a farmer’s market was, these students now grow their plants and take them to a farmer’s market to sell. Through this experiential learning process, they’re not just learning how to garden, they are also learning business principles, sales skills, and self-confidence all while earning money for the school. Throughout the process, they’re mentored by an Intuit team using the principles of design thinking.

The skills they’re learning will stay with them long after they graduate, cementing the power of design thinking into their lives. And that’s a win-win for everyone.


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