For our second challenge of the 2022-2023 program year, we partnered with ProsperUs Detroit, a nonprofit that supports entrepreneurs with opportunities and capital needed to build businesses, generational wealth, and vibrant neighborhoods. Five teams of Fellows worked collaboratively with the ProsperUs staff as well as community stakeholders to create deliverables for this project – learn more from the perspective of each team! 

“Use a sword as a sword, not just to slice bread.”

As we started back at square one in the design thinking process for a new challenge project, the cohort felt more confident, having experience with the process. Despite the familiarity in the overall process and schedule of the challenge project, we quickly recognized how those are the only two things that stay consistent. Friday #1 already instilled change through working with a new nonprofit, ProsperUs Detroit. The design questions were so different compared to our first challenge project. The team composition also changed, meaning we were starting this project with a new set of our peers as teammates.

Meeting with our ProsperUs liaisons, Joanna and Janae, during the project kickoff

Our team was posed the design question, “How might we advance organization and team priorities by practicing a coaching approach to meeting the needs of entrepreneurs?”. Right from the start, we began operating in the ambiguity as coaching approaches can have different contexts depending on the factors that this approach would be designed to address.

As we navigated through stakeholder and liaison meetings, our understanding of the project increased. Our goals became clearer and completing the defining step during the process still proved challenging but was accomplished nonetheless. Defining was crucial to the success of our ideation phase. The team was able to come up with not only fantastic and effective deliverables but also feasible deliverables that could be introduced to the ProsperUs staff. The direction of our project continued to shift with each Friday with the Friday spent prototyping with our liaison finally moving us out of that ambiguity. Through strong teamwork and collaboration, our deliverables stood these changes and only required shifts in perspective. We were able to put together five deliverables all with the goal of assisting the ProsperUs staff to adapt to a coaching mindset.

Blog by Fellow Team: Ryan Wingfield, Katherine Kenney, Katie Ferriby, Eboni Thomas, Talia Greenberg