Kiva Zip 

Strategic Operations Plan

Design Strategy 

Kiva Zip is a pilot for Kiva, a non-profit organization with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. As part of a multidisciplinary team I worked to help Kiva Zip shift their strategy to better meet the needs of their borrowers, increase their borrower pool, improve repayment rates and improved their operational efficiency. Below is a breakdown of the process. 

Initial Diagnosis/System Review: Through a series of interviews and working sessions with the KivaZip team, we identified and prioritized critical system leverage points to achieve their company goals. Our initial assessment made clear that almost all pain points system-wide originated with borrower challenges and our agreed upon strategic intent was to focus on improving the borrower experience as the first step to growth.

User Insights/Segmentation: We conducted in-depth interviews with a diverse group of Kiva Zip borrowers  and identified two customer segments with distinct needs that represented unique challenges and opportunities. Personas were developed to help tell the story of these borrowers and key insights were captured.

Strategic Operations Plan: Our insights led us to four sets of corresponding strategies and tactics that target borrower messaging and support: build a system of reciprocity, borrower support, borrower communication, and borrower to trustee conversion. We recommended measuring progress according to 4 key metrics: operational efficiency, repayment rate, community/connections, and borrower to trustee conversion rate.

Outcomes: Kiva Zip is on their way to meeting their company goals. There has been a communication and strategic shift towards community building. The overall borrower experience has improved thanks to a focused effort on providing borrowers with more support. There has been a substantial increased in lender base and  loan volume. Their borrower pool and repayment rate has increased. And lastly, their operational efficiency has more than doubled.


"I really enjoyed working with Catalina -- she brought a very interesting, fresh and outside the box approach to our project, and here insights are fascinating, extremely helpful, and most importantly of all, tremendously inspiring!" Jonny Price

"It was an absolute pleasure working with Catalina. I learned a great deal (particularly through the journey mapping exercise!), and am pumped to implement all the suggestions. As Matt [CEO of KIVA] said towards the end of the presentation, "let's do everything!" Akash Trivedi

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  • <a href=""></a>
  • Project Scope
  • How might we
  • Identifying and understanding Kiva Zip's Key Stakeholders
  • The Journey Map shows that all pain points system-wide originated with borrower challenges
  • <p class="p1"><span class="s1">
<p class="p1">We identified&nbsp;<span class="s1">system leverage points &amp; chose</span>&nbsp;to focus on improving the borrower experience as a 1st step to growth</p>
<p><br />
  • Within the borrower community, we identified two&nbsp;customer segments with distinct needs that represented unique challenges and opportunities.<br />
  • Maria, a first generation immigrant, represents the Community Oriented customer segment
  • Mark, a small business owner, represents the Business Oriented customer segment
  • Our research led us to some key insights
  • <p class="p1"><span class="s1">Our insights led us to four sets of </span><span class="s2">corresponding strategies and tactics&nbsp;</span>that target borrower messaging and support</p>
  • <p class="p1">We recommended measuring progress&nbsp;according to 4 key metrics</p>
  • Implementation Timeline
  • Outcomes
  • Outcomes
  • Outcomes
  • Outcomes
  • Outcomes
  • Outcomes
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