Shruti Ramiah

Invest in Me

March 2010

Service design

CIID
Copenhagen, Denmark

Investment tools today are systematised and impersonal. What if we could control how our investments are put to use? ‘Invest In Me’ takes this idea and pushes it to the extreme by allowing a person to invest in a specific individual. It is a service that brings investors and students (people who are chronically in need of financial assistance) together for their mutual benefit.

Investors select a promising student that they wish to support based on varied criteria such as area of study, academic excellence etc. They do so by paying the interest on the student’s loans. In return, once the student has a professional job, the investor receives a fixed percentage of the students salary for a specified period that has been negotiated at the very beginning of the investment. The student is able to postpone his/her financial burden until a point when they have greater financial ability. The investor bets on the student earning well and in turn, repaying well.

One could say that this system treats people as stocks. It was interesting for us to see how people reacted to this idea. How much of a personal relationship would they really like to have with their investment or investor?

The ‘Invest In Me’ system is flexible and at the extreme can be used to be purely charitable or ruthlessly profit oriented. We explored whether people could balance the two and see the possibility of “charitable investments”.

The process of creating ‘Invest in Me’ consisted of intensive, iterative experience prototyping through which we were able to simultaneously develop the birds-eye view as well as the detailed mechanics of the service interaction.

Three rounds of user research were done, using touch-point prototypes appropriate to the goal of each round. The first round was student-centric – aimed at establishing whether students could see clear financial benefits and were receptive to the concept. The second round focused on prospective investors to gauge whether the concept sounded like a plausible investment idea and whether their expectations from the service aligned with those of the students.

The final round of experience prototyping incorporated feedback from both investors and students to address the overarching concerns – how personal a relationship and interaction are people open to and can investors comprehend the idea of “charitable investments”?

Collaboration with:

Gizem Boyacioglu
Jesper Svenning
Pedro Andrade
Sebastian Thielke

Invest in Me
Invest in Me
Invest in Me
Invest in Me
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CONTACT
hello@shrutiramiah.com