We believe in the power of human-centered design to create meaningful opportunities for people experiencing poverty.

The Prosperity Agenda’s long-standing commitment to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty brings a powerful purpose to our partnerships with nonprofits, employers, and government agencies. Our knowledge of the communities we serve and the challenges they face ensures that we are focused on the right problems, and that we learn about the complicated dynamics at play. By combining the power of purpose and experience with human-centered design principles, our Innovation Lab develops pragmatic solutions that make a difference.

Our Process

We don’t shy away from a challenge, problem, or need in the communities we serve, but rather use design principles to inspire game changing innovations. By using a human centered approach, we aim to generate impact that reflect the values and goals of the families served - rather than our own. This means we listen to parents and agency staff about their own experiences to challenge our assumptions, judgments, and inherent bias. We start small and measure impact in real time. As we test solutions in quick cycles, we can iterate quickly on the direct feedback from staff and families.

Identify Challenges

We believe we are not the experts in other people’s lives. To focus our attention and find inspiration, we adopt a clear mind, full of curiosity and cautious of hidden assumptions. We identify the people who know the problem best and learn directly from them about their struggles and aspirations. We examine systems, incentives, intentions, behaviors, and barriers. We work with partners to frame the problem and surface meaning, purpose, and context.


After we take the time to empathize, understand and frame the challenge, we start asking, "what if…?" and “how might we…?” We take inspiration from the insights we discover by talking to our partners and parents experiencing poverty. We explore new ways of approaching challenges, drawing inspiration from diverse perspectives. We learn from current solutions that have been applied in adjacent areas and explore new ways of approaching a problem. We imagine how things might work, invite opinions from experts and novices, and combine ideas. We simplify, strengthen, connect, and explore.

Test and Refine

Great ideas are nothing without execution. We take the most promising ideas and test them to see how well they work, and to ensure their feasibility with our partner organizations and parents experiencing poverty. We make changes and refinements to our design with feedback from staff and parents to improve their experiences. We measure impact by capturing a baseline before we implement something new and measuring meaningful outcomes. Good ideas get better as we learn, before they cost a lot of money, and then we use resources to implement our solutions at scale.

Implement and Scale

Once an idea proves its worth, we make it available for other partner organizations to adopt and scale as they see fit. Because partners have a strong influence on which problems we address and often contribute to the design team, the solutions we develop are relevant and pragmatic. We believe in building a culture of learning to deliver meaningful and sustained impact. Even when we launch something at scale, we continue to listen and incorporate the feedback we hear from staff and parents who experience first-hand the solutions we create.

Get Involved

We're always looking for new partnerships. Whether you'd like to donate to our efforts, join the design team, or have an interesting problem you'd like help solving - let's have a conversation. Contact us at design@theprosperityagenda.org.

Learn more about some of our current projects: