top of page


Design Toolkit + Organizational Leadership

How might we create a design toolkit for a two-sided online marketplace that reflects Kiva and its culture?

Course: Leadership by Design - MBA in Design Strategy, CCA

Instructor: Sharon Green


I worked collaboratively on a team with three classmates throughout the project. I took on the Health Specialist role in our micro-pilot and final review. This involved coming up with a dialogue and interaction to evoke trust. I also took the lead in shaping the look and feel of the pop-up experience and crafting the flow. 


I came up with the name, Well Bar, and I worked with a teammate on the brand strategy and architecture. In addition, I sourced the jars, the powders that we used to represent our health boosts, and the smoothie samples we offered to customers to taste and select their flavor choice.




Appreciative Inquiry

Design Thinking

Organizational Leadership

Brand Culture

Change Management



Leverage the best of Kiva to compose a design toolkit for creating a vibrant online marketplace.

Research Methods

  • Appreciative Inquiry

  • Primary Research

    • Surveys

    • Interviews

  • Secondary Research

Executive Summary

To help realize Kiva’s vision of building an online marketplace, our team conducted research to shape the design and successful build-out of an online marketplace to feature Kiva borrowers’ products. Our partnership with Kiva employees and other stakeholders, including interns and borrowers, granted us in depth perspective into the inner-workings of the organization, highlighting what works best within the organization.

Determining the characteristics of Kiva’s Positive Core afforded us with insight into Kiva’s strengths that should be capitalized on in the online marketplace. We synthesized our findings into actionable initiatives presented in this process review and design toolkit with special attention to continuity, novelty, and transition to promote effective organizational change.


Appreciative Inquiry


Our team used an Appreciative Inquiry approach for this project, which seeks to discover what is working best rather than fixing problems.

Appreciative Inquiry is a fundamentally unique model - it assumes that “energy flows where attention goes.” Therefore, to create optimal results, Appreciative Inquiry investigates the positive aspects of an organization in order to amplify them.



Process Overview

We worked collaboratively with our main partner liaison to establish the project scope. Together with Kiva, we agreed on a question to drive our work: How might we leverage the best of Kiva to create a vibrant online marketplace?


During the Discovery phase, our team got to know Kiva organization's environment, including the people, objects, environments, messages, and services. The Discovery stage included secondary research, field observations, surveys, and stakeholder interviews. At the conclusion of this phase, our team and the Kiva US team had a shared understanding of the organization’s Positive Core and Affirmative Topic and how each related to the development of the online marketplace concept.

Key Findings - Lender's Survey:

  • Promoters

    • Streamlined user-friendly process with a variety of options to make loans and have an impact on individuals’ lives

  • Motivation

    • The ability to re-lend money again and again

  • Impact on Lenders

    • Access and transparency to the borrower’s gender and location along with their story and industry

  • Detractors

    • Repayment delinquencies discourage lenders from offering other/additional loans

Key Findings - Borrower's Survey:

  • Sell Products

    • Borrowers stated they want to sell their products/services on a platform

    • Aspire to grow their businesses

  • Increase Engagement

    • Desire increased engagement with Kiva Lenders through mentorship and networking opportunities

  • Open Communication

    • Want a feeling of connectedness with Lenders and Customers

Key Findings US Kiva Staff Interviews:

  • Passion

    • Passionate about the Kiva mission and helping the underserved

  • People

    • Positive, Entrepreneurial, Intelligent, Community-oriented

  • Culture

    • Flat organization, Transparent, Encouraged to show appreciation

  • Impact

    • Driving success and making a difference in people’s lives

Positive Core:

The Positive Core represents the past, present, and future capacities, in addition to the assets of the organization.


Affirmative Topic

The Affirmative Topic sets the frame for the design team’s ideation and prototyping. It’s a positive statement of what the organization wants to strengthen and grow, a statement of the organization’s desired future.

Through the development of a marketplace platform, Kiva wants to provide new opportunities for meaningful interactions that bond their community together. The experience will be more than simple, functional and beautiful—it will be an expression of Kiva's shared spirit of supporting moments of accomplishment, purpose and joy in every human the Kiva organization touches. The platform will connect Kiva borrowers and lenders in ways that generate financial and social capital, proving that our organization can be both socially impactful and economically sustainable. 

The Kiva organization's culture is uniquely positioned to execute this task through their diversity of talent and relentless commitment to providing opportunities for those willing to work for and with them. 


The Dream phase supports the organization in moving outside its status quo to envision possibilities beyond present day thinking. During the Dream phase, our team and stakeholders shared stories about the organization’s culture. This phase included a co-creation session with Kiva staff members to ideate actionable concepts for incorporating the Positive Core into the marketplace



Online Marketplace Design Criteria


As a team, we developed concepts for how the Kiva marketplace experiences can embody the Positive Core. Referencing the following criteria will help future Kiva projects to leverage key components that are highlights of the Kiva brand and organization to add value. The following table outlines Dream ideas for each of the four pillars of Kiva’s Positive Core




Well Bar is a wellness pop-up shop that enables urban millennials seeking fun, personalized, and trustworthy wellness options to meet with a health specialist, sample flavors, and play to create a custom health mix, empowering them to remain healthy without pharmaceuticals.

bottom of page