Inside the Intuit Prosperity Accelerator’s Kickoff Week

Kicking off the Intuit Prosperity Accelerator program to welcome the inaugural cohort

It has been a busy few weeks as the Intuit Prosperity Accelerator welcomed its inaugural cohort to the virtual program. During the kickoff week, the eight startups were greeted by Intuit Canada’s Country Manager, David Marquis, Innovation Catalyst team to get a crash course in what to expect in the next 4 exciting months to come. 

Intuit’s Innovation Catalysts (ICs) are employees trained in design-thinking. The 8 startups that make up our inaugural cohort have been paired with ICs who will coach the founders on Intuit’s Design for Delight (D4D) innovation framework. Over the next four months, these pairings will build and execute pilots positioned to help Canadian consumers, self-employed and small businesses tackle financial challenges in the wake of COVID-19.

When you focus on solving real customer problems, you create delightful products

The Intuit team has an open secret: Design for Delight. It’s a concept that encourages falling in love with your customersproblems, not the solution. Before the startups can hit the ground running with prosperity-focused pilots,  the teams are going back to their customers. Leveraging Intuit’s D4D framework, each startup is connecting with consumers and small businesses to ground themselves in the pain points caused by COVID-19. 

D4D is rooted in deep customer empathy. Spending this time upfront will help the startups and their ICs design and frame the pilots and problem statement together. With this knowledge, they will then go broad to brainstorm possible experiment ideas, then “go narrow” to zero in on the pilots that will most benefit the customer – and quickly. The teams are already running rapid experiments with the customers to validate pilot ideas that could make real difference in a time of need.

COVID accelerated the need for velocity and for tackling the multitude of problems consumers and small businesses are facing on a broader scale. 

“In times like these, there’s no shortage of challenges,” said Marquis at the recent IO2020 event, where he spoke with innovators, startups and other tech ecosystem stakeholders about the Intuit’s approach to innovation and the Intuit Prosperity Accelerator program. 

“I think that the more we can scale and leverage technology, the better we’ll be as businesses, communities, and  – ultimately – countries. In Canada, we asked ourselves, ‘What more can we do?’ There’s an opportunity with this program to prove this concept more explicitly, using technology as a powerful lever that can help power prosperity for SMBs and the economy. There’s an opportunity to drive collaboration across startups, and the overall ecosystem with programs like the intuit Prosperity Accelerator, Digital Main Street and Canada United.  By moving forward together in a focused way, we can help solve specific problems related to future financial health of consumers and small businesses in Canada, and by extension globally. 

Here’s how the program will work: Intuit will bring a scalable base to help pilots leverage its industry insights and customer learnings, and also functional expertise in areas like research, product, engineering, and marketing, etc.. Startups will bring their teams whose innovative solutions are addressing problems that are adjacent Intuit existing product roadmaps. Highline Beta brings the expertise to recruit, design, execute, and oversee the program. It’s a great example of how this collaboration can really expand our scope of impact. 

“Innovation is always a bit of a leap of faith. I have faith that we’re going to learn in the areas adjacent to our core focus areas. I’m getting the added benefit of my employee base is energized and excited,” said Marquis. “We’re moving with purpose and solving a great problem, and we’re working with great startups. It’s exciting.”

Stay tuned for more updates! Meanwhile, please learn more about the Intuit Prosperity Accelerator, here.