Designing better student loans using system thinking

Improve student loans

Students go into debt to pay for college. In the United States, the amount of student debt has surpassed $1.3 trillion, which puts it on par with auto loans. Americans like to think the student debt is an American phenomenon, but this article from the New York Times shows that students in other countries also borrow, and borrow almost as much. Borrowing may not be American, but struggling to repay is. How can we improve student loans?

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Three Ways to Design Better Retirement Accounts With Systems Thinking

Designing better retirement accounts

In a recent retirement study by Transamerica, respondents of all ages said that they would need to save at least $1 million to feel secure in retirement. If we all did that, we’d be a society of millionaires. There’s a big disconnect here, though, because the survey also shows people are nowhere near on track to save a million bucks with the IRA and 401k plans available today. Designing better retirement accounts is a strong first step towards financial security.

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The power of design: social service program design

SocialServiceDesign01

In her TED talk, “Social Services Are Broken: How We Can Fix Them,” Hilary Cottam displayed a chart mapping 20 years of social services interventions in the life of one family (screen shot shown above). Color-coded shapes along two timelines mark each encounter in which schools, police and social services interacted with the mother, sister or son in a family. The inset timeline shows the accelerating nature of interactions with the system, while the main timeline shows the 50+ incidents that occurred in a single year.

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Marketing Approaches to Reducing Gun Violence

Police in riot gear at Ferguson protests

Ferguson. Staten Island. Pasco. Baltimore. Police mistrust and gun violence are currently dominating the headlines. Crime, health and safety, institutional transparency, accountability–all these public sector issues intersect the problems of police mistrust and guns. Could there be a marketing approach to reducing gun violence?

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