Reimagine How Entrepreneurs Access Capital

  • By Evan Baehr
  • Published 2/3/2015
Design thinking is a human-centered approach to innovation that draws from the designer’s toolkit to integrate the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for business success.” —Tim Brown, president and CEO of IDEO

Design thinking is also known as a unified framework for innovation — one of those practices that is easy to say, but extremely hard to put into practice. And a number of frameworks have been designed over the past 40 years to help create a better process to innovation. What are the core elements of these frameworks? Most begin with user research, then ideation (remember this IBM commercial), prototyping, followed by testing. The process itself evolves and is not necessarily linear in nature — it is collaborative, just like an Able loan.

So, how can design thinking help a business? One word: innovation. Design thinking helps companies strip away normal ways of thinking and tackle problems to create a better product. Different points of view; new ways of seeing the world. Rapid prototyping and seeing if these things work. It is the creative studio, the atelier.

Able is proud to share that we are partnering with The Wharton Innovation & Design Club to help reimagine how entrepreneurs access capital. The challenge? University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) graduate students will help design an innovative user experience that guides borrowers and Backers from loan funding to the end of the loan term. Watch more here:

The Penn Design Challenge is a six-week program that provides students a structured environment to design new solutions to real world challenges. Last year, the The Wharton Innovation & Design Club worked with well-known fashion designer Michael Kors to explore how mobile and social technologies can transform customer engagement, excitement, and loyalty for the brand.

This year, graduate students across disciplines of design, business, and engineering will help us build a transformative user experience that creates an effective and meaningful way to connect borrowers and Backers through the Able loan platform. Students will build this customer experience through a series of interactive workshops, where students will learn best practices from design thinking. The Wharton Innovation & Design Club approaches innovation through user-centric research, ideation, prototyping, and storytelling. And, we can’t wait to see how their design thinking helps us create innovation.

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