Impact Lab FAQs

The Financial Health Impact Lab is a program that supports a select group of companies committed to developing and testing innovations to improve financial health. To join the program, Impact Lab participants agree to a specific set of terms.

Who is eligible to be in the Impact Lab?

Participation in the Impact Lab is available exclusively to Financial Health Network Members. We select Members to participate in the Impact Lab by assessing their ability to:

  • Develop a promising new product, feature, or tool for improving financial health
  • Implement a test at scale to produce statistically significant results
  • Track financial health data points for a control group of consumers

As an added benefit, Impact Lab participants are automatically eligible for the Financial Health Leaders program. The Leaders program recognizes Financial Health Network Members who are measuring the financial health of their customers, employees, and communities.

How much time will I need to invest in participating?

If you’re selected for the Impact Lab, your time commitment to the program will vary depending on the innovation you want to test and its stage of development. For example, developing and rolling out a new product requires more effort than testing an existing product feature. Internal operational requirements are the primary driver of the time required.

During the first few months of engagement, you can expect weekly check-ins with the Impact Lab team as we develop and refine a plan for evaluating your innovation’s impact. Once the innovation and testing plan are final, you can expect monthly check-ins during the data collection process. This cadence is flexible in order to work through any challenges that may arise during data transfers or analysis.

What is the time frame for engaging with the Impact Lab?

Once you have been accepted into the Impact Lab program, you can expect the engagement to last approximately 15 months. A sample timeline is provided below to illustrate the program’s stages and milestones.

Participation in the Impact Lab includes five stages:

  1. Innovation Design and Study Planning (~3 months): You may seek input from the Impact Lab team on ways to apply behavioral science to the design of your innovation. Once the innovation design has been finalized, the team decides on the study population, testing process, and impact metrics, documenting these details in an evaluation plan.
  2. Innovation Launch and Baseline Measurements (~1 month): You prepare your internal team for the innovation launch and create baseline measurements. The team shares measurements with the Financial Health Network Impact Lab team to test the data transfer system and ensure the data are complete.
  3. Ongoing Analysis of Intermediate Results (~6 months): You collect data over approximately six months (note: your collection period may vary depending on the timing of the impacts you expect from your innovation). During this phase, you’ll have monthly check-in calls with the Impact Lab team to ensure the data collection process and test are going smoothly. The Impact Lab team will conduct analyses and provide you with interim findings from the data collected during this period.
  4. Final Impact Analysis and Synthesis of Results (~1 month): You deliver a final dataset at the end of the testing period. The Impact Lab team conducts final data analysis and synthesizes findings for a public report. The team will share the research findings with you when the analysis is complete.
  5. Published Report of Findings (~4 months): The Impact Lab team will prepare a report on the findings. You’ll have an opportunity to review and provide input prior to publication.

Impact Lab applications are reviewed on a rolling basis so you may apply anytime; see the main program page for information about the rolling review process. The Impact Lab team will communicate with selected participants within two weeks after their application has been submitted.

What can my company test with the Impact Lab?

Our goal with the Impact Lab is to develop an evidence base for how products and services can improve financial health. This means that a broad range of innovations can fit within the program, such as novel product features or messaging campaigns. Through the Impact Lab, we seek to learn about the mechanisms and types of approaches that can impact financial health and to highlight them for others to emulate and implement.

Generally, full product evaluations may reveal less about the underlying mechanisms that drive financial health outcomes, making them less of a fit for the Impact Lab program. We might evaluate a novel implementation of an existing product if the goal is to test it with a new set of users, environment, or delivery channel, however.

If you’re uncertain whether the idea you’d like to test is a fit for the program, sign up for a time to talk with us about it. Even if your innovation isn’t a fit for the Impact Lab program, Financial Health Network experts can still help you with product design through our consulting practice. Connect with us to explore how we can help you assess the financial health impact of your product.

When should I apply? How fully baked should my idea be?

We encourage companies to apply when they have a plan for developing and implementing a new finhealth innovation, and before the innovation itself is finalized or rolled out to users. The Impact Lab team can help you refine your ideas during the application process. For example, if you have a product or feature in mind that you want to test, we can help you think through options for the type of testing, population, and concepts to test. If you have a question or an idea you want to tackle, we will draw on behavioral science research to provide suggestions for product design and delivery. You may apply at different stages of product development.

The Impact Lab may not be the best fit for testing if your innovation has already been implemented and rolled out. If you are looking to test it in a new context, with a different user base, or by adding a new feature, however, an existing innovation may be a match for the program.

Your team should have the capacity to execute on the proposed innovation when you submit your application. You will have the flexibility to adapt and further refine your original idea, if needed, after applying. If you are unsure about eligibility or would like to discuss your idea before submitting an application, you can schedule a 30-minute consultation with the Impact Lab team.

What are my options if I am not selected for the Impact Lab?

The program has limited capacity and will not be able to include all of the promising innovations that Financial Health Network Members develop. If you are not selected for the Impact Lab, the Financial Health Network team will connect with you to identify alternatives. In cases where the innovation is too early-stage to be ready for the Impact Lab, you are welcome to apply again for a future cohort. If your testing needs fall outside of the Impact Lab scope of work, or if you face technical limitations to implementing testing through the program, we offer a range of opportunities to collaborate through our consulting team.

Can I partner with a non-Leader? (or with a non-Member?)

As part of the Impact Lab, you may partner with another company that is not a Member of the Financial Health Network. If you are partnering with a non-Member, your company must be our primary point of contact for the duration of the program and must be leading the innovation implementation.

For an example of previous Impact Lab partnerships, read about Elevate and Finicity’s collaboration for the 2019 cohort here.