Above: Maria Cavalcanti, Pro Mujer President and CEO, collaborates and ideates with her team.
This post is one in a series focusing on the second networking group of NetHope members participating in IDEA (Imagine, Design, Execute, Assess), a broad umbrella for digital transformation processes offered to NetHope members through The Center for the Digital Nonprofit. The first IDEA implementation pilot was based on Dream, Design, Deliver, a social impact accelerator developed with Microsoft.
By Jean-Louis Ecochard, The Center for the Digital Nonprofit
Many low-income women in Latin America hold the central role of caregiver for their families, and thanks to financial services from Pro Mujer, they can now grow economically, too. But often their labor and hard work can impact their health and put their resilience at risk. Imagine how low-income women would be further empowered if the same organization who provides them a path to wealth supported them in their path to health?
Since 1990, Pro Mujer has been an agent of change in Latin America empowering underserved women to realize their full earning potential and elevate the community around them. In Argentina, Bolivia, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Peru, Pro Mujer has witnessed proof of that investment in women yields returns that span multiple generations. Knowing that access to health care is an essential component of economic empowerment and resiliency, the organization sees an opportunity to do more. Through digital transformation Pro Mujer is putting in to action a dream to expand their trusted health offerings into a robust healthcare platform.
As the 14th organization to start accelerating digitally through NetHope’s IDEA Journey, Pro Mujer started the process with one challenging question. How might we best improve the health outcome of low-income Latin American women in the next 5 years? This question quickly expanded into more detailed list of questions such as:
Their CEO, Maria Cavalcanti, knows that in our modern world, one must fully leverage digital capabilities at all levels to achieve successful business transformation. This is why she assembled a team of leaders across all levels and geographies of the organization. An immersive two-day Dream workshop was conducted at Avanade’s New York office with 24 participants. Hardik Amin, Andrew Borg, Bry Willis, and Adriana Montana facilitated the workshop as a multidisciplinary team from Avanade’s Innovation Advisory, and Digital Innovation Studios. Microsoft provided funds to sponsor this phase of IDEA (as Dream, Design, Deliver), and Adam San Miguel from Microsoft Tech for Social Impact also participated.
The IDEA journey makes use of design thinking and prompts the organization to first listen to all participants
in approaching the challenge. In order to create representative personas of underserved Latin American women, a team of Avanade and Pro Mujer specialists held bilingual conversations in six countries, learning from the stories of 36 Latin American women. From these productive meetings surfaced six proto-personas, illustrative of low-income women of all ages with diverse aspirations.
Understanding the stakeholders in the healthcare ecosystem of these women became the first order of the day. Participants inventoried, grouped, and linked the networks of people, organizations, and governments; and identified key themes and opportunities to ideate upon. The diagrams brought clarity to the healthcare interactions of low-income women and how these intersect with Pro Mujer’s existing programs.
Each team proceeded by mapping the journeys of these personas, asking clarifying questions about their life events, and mapping the typical activities these women might engage in during their day. The day concluded with the creation of a series of questions to frame the potential solutions.
On the second day, innovative case studies from all sectors and geographies were put to paper and soon covered the walls, forming a ‘wallpaper of inspiration.’ To further enhance our possibility to innovate, NetHope presented the current state of digital transformation for women beneficiaries from multiple nonprofits. James Marzola, Avanade’s Data and AI Executive, enlightened participants with his knowledge of cutting-edge advances in Artificial Intelligence and Remote Healthcare.
These inspirations positioned teams to ideate on the framing questions developed on day one. Using a creative matrix, 418 ideas were generated in 45 minutes for broad categories such as technology, people, and games. The categories were quickly grouped and prioritized them across an axes of importance and effort. Each team selected one idea to advance forward and a storyboard prototype was also developed to be presented to a guest panel including two visiting Pro Mujer board members and Stella Goulet, Avanade’s Chief Marketing Officer.
The energy in the room was palpable. A collective of passionate individuals, collaborating in Spanish and English for a pitch to show off digital innovation to their peers and the guest panel. Focus and creativity were at their peak, and so were great laughs, music, and theatrics. It was an experience to remember.
“It was a truly inspiring project in innovation and teamwork! We have returned eager to drive many of the ideas generated into action,” recapped Maria Cavalcanti, CEO of Pro Mujer.
The solutions presented addressed the challenges in innovative ways, blending physical and digital worlds to make them relevant to low-income women:
Through the IDEA Journey, Pro Mujer is starting to rapidly advance a new digital line of business in healthcare to complement its financial services. Leveraging the power of the digital transformation to lift the barriers to empowerment for low-income women in Latin America. Pro Mujer has a dream for a Latin America where all women thrive.