Defining a New Type of Corporate Innovation

UI/UX Design, Wireframing, Lo-fi & High-fi Prototyping
Design Intern
May 2014 - Aug 2014
What happens when IDEO teams up with Harvard and Fidelity?
This was a completely unconventional internship, which led to a wonderful, surprising outcome. It was the first year that IDEO had decided to team up with the Harvard Innovation Lab and Fidelity’s Center for Applied Technology (FCAT) to create a new venture studio.

Everything about the internship was different. Since the internship itself was somewhat of a prototype, we iterated and built it out as we went along - a perfect way to learn about the design process.

To be selected as an “Intrapreneur”, I participated an unconventional “Make-a-thon” process. We were placed on a team full of strangers, while we were being observed by our IDEO/Fidelity/Harvard bosses.

To my surprise, I was selected with 15 other interns among a group of 120+ students from the Harvard College, Business School, Design School, and more.  Here’s what happened.

In the world...
Fidelity Goes to Harvard for 'Intrapreneur' Interns via The Wall Street Journal
Here's What Happens When IDEO teams up with Harvard and Fidelity via Medium
IDEO Intrapreneur Lab via Madame Ghandi

Good Things Come In Threes

There’s something special about trios, and the Intrapreneur Lab was the perfect way to bring together there radically different organizations to create something new and innovative.

IDEO: A Deep Dive into the Design Process

IDEO was positioned to be our coaches in the design process. For many of the Intrapreneurs, it was our first time ever working in the design field. The IDEO team, led by David Goligorsky, put together an incredible curriculum that taught us about the various aspects of design.

We followed an iterative process that had lots of ups and downs, loads of horrible prototypes, and even some hard pivots. But it taught how to ask questions, embrace ambiguity, and work with others to communicate thoughts & ideas in a new way.

Fidelity: Collaborating with our Stakeholders

Fidelity was positioned to be our experimental playground. The Fidelity Center of Applied Technology is an organization within Fidelity Investments that is focused on exploring new forms of technology to create both internal and external value.

Fidelity was the perfect partner. We had a group of mentors who coached us through some problem and opportunity areas, as well as introduce us to stakeholders that could give us critical feedback on our concepts.

Harvard: Cultured in a Center for Innovation

Harvard was positioned to be our home, where innovation is cultured. We had private workspaces in the newly-built Innovation lab and it gave us access to a community full of other startups, mentors, and facilities.

One of my favorite moments was that the i-Lab staff would hold a weekly pickup basketball game, and it gave me an opportunity to meet some great entrepreneurs while also getting in a great workout.
A Join Partnership between Harvard University & Williams Sonoma

This was my first time working in Design

And boy, was it fun 🥳
I had no idea what to expect when I applied for this internship. Admittedly, I don’t think the internship’s coordinators had any idea what to expect. But it had a tremendous impact for me. Although I was study engineering, I had a love for the creative arts. Design was the perfect way for me to connect those worlds.

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

During the internship, I was placed on a 4-person team with another classmate from the College, a student from the Design School, and a student from the Business School.

It was great to be on a multi-disciplinary team and get a chance to really work closely with other. My teammate from the Business School graduated from West Point and served in the Army, which brought an incredibly strong perspective to the work that we did.

He would also run 8 miles every single morning before work, which was super inspiring.

Prototypes are meant to be Broken

One of the biggest lessons that I learned during this internship is that prototype is meant to be broken. We inherently believe in the myth that we need to make the perfect prototype so that we can start creating our final product.

But if the prototype is perfect, then how will you know what you need to fix? This was a philosophy that drove a lot of the work we did at the internship. We created fast, iterative prototypes to get to our final solutions.

Demo Day

What is an internship without a Demo Day? We pitched our 4 ventures on our final demo day to a group of Fidelity leadership and executives, IDEO leaders, and Harvard i-Lab directors.

It was the best way to share our research insights and get feedback on each venture idea. And after the presentations, the Fidelity team was able to decide on how they wanted to move ideas forward.

Disrupting the Health Savings Account (HSA)

Our initial project brief was to find an opportunity area for wearable technology and workplace investing. For greater context, one of Fidelity’s large interest areas is 401k’s and other forms of financial management in the workplace.

It just so happened that ObamaCare was being piloted in the US during that time, which meant that there was a new set of financial vehicles tailored for healthcare -  both areas related to workplace investing.

We found that Fidelity was also pushing their HSA product offerings, as it was directly linked with ObamaCare. So, we created a prototype to help incentivize employees to invest in their HSA with the aid of wearable technology.

A Technology-Driven Way to care for your Health

What if you got rewarded for leading a healthier lifestyle? What if you could do that super seamlessly?

myHSA is an app that lets and employee automatically contribute to their health savings account based on the number of steps and activities they do.

It is tied to your existing wearable devices - Fitbit, Apple Watch, and Android Wear - and Fidelity account. People can earn rewards, get special contributions, and even meet other employees within their organization during events.

This also greatly benefits workplaces because it boosts healthier lifestyles, which we learned was directly tied to workplace energy and productivity.

I built our lo-fi prototypes, which led to hi-fi wireframes, clickable prototypes, and demo video.