Adaptive Financing

KATY MIXTER (SOM M.B.A./FES M.E.M. 2017)

In today’s rapidly changing world, there are many challenges facing organizations that finance and reconstruct communities after a disaster. In our work, we ask: what do key players in this space have to learn from each other? How can design and innovation processes catalyze new and actionable ideas that can improve the currently complex and often ad hoc financing processes for this space? How can these ideas enable better results in the process of recovery and redevelopment after disasters?
We posit that the answer lies in bringing stakeholders together in the design-phase of financial product development. By moving conversations about constraints and solutions for different actors in the value chain from the “iteration” stage to the up-front design phase, more efficiency can be achieved when dealing with complex social issues like disaster reconstruction.
Small businesses are critical to short-term relief and long-term redevelopment after a disaster as they provide goods, services and employment that communities need to survive and recover from shocks. However, small businesses often can’t survive after disasters, given 1) the cost of disrupted business, and 2) their inability to compete with free goods and services offered during emergency relief, like medical aid, tools, food, etc. We will test our proposed design process by hosting a workshop at Yale where banks, funds and other financial organizations tackle the challenge of creating financial products that mobilize private-capital to support small businesses after disasters.