Inclusive Financial Systems

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Abstract

Money. It’s the stuff that “makes the world go round”. A single $100 note wields enough agency to empower someone to buy life saving medication. Unfortunately though, banks disable people with disorders such as autism by neglecting to offer any form of accessible financial products, seeing these groups stripped of much of their financial independence.

Olive presents a new paradigm through which we may look at value. One that understands that money is more important than a a number. Making use of decentralised technologies, she offers an inclusive, transparent platform, that provides financial tools to give these groups a voice in how their money might be managed and spent.

Inspiration and Method

I was initially inspired by my own experiences with my brother Julian, who himself struggles managing and understanding money to the level that society demands.

Developing Olive required the use of inclusive design methodologies. This was challenging, however, as many of these groups struggle expressing how they feel, thus finding suitable testing and interviewing methods proved to be an iterative process. In the end, I found that the most effective ways of working with these groups was through story telling with lego and long term prototyping. Lego proved to be an amazing way of exploring their lives of today, and the problems they face. Long term prototyping, on other hand, allowed me to measure how their behaviour changed over time, and thus gauge whether an idea was right or not.

Result

Olive is the result of five months of closely working very closely with my user groups. She is, what I believe to be, the first financial product designed for adults living with Neurodevelopmental Disorders such as autism.

Making use of decentralised technologies, Olive presents value in a medium that these groups can understand and interact with, giving their carers a channel through which they can gauge their needs and goals, ensuring their voice is heard.

For carers, Olive allows them to invite carers, families and friends into helping oversee and support managing their finances. In doing so, she expands the social networks that are in place helping these groups in their days to day lives.

I believe that this thesis presents a new paradigm of value that realises that money is about more than just numbers.