WOMEN’S FUNDING NETWORK-04

The Women’s Funding Network, a US-based philanthropic network that aims to improve the lives of women and girls, launched Signal for Help: a discreet hand gesture that anyone can use on video calls to communicate that they are enduring domestic abuse. The signal, which is made by turning a palm to the camera, tucking the thumb into the palm and folding four fingers over the top of thumb, was created this quarter for individuals who may be isolated with abusers during the coronavirus pandemic and unable to call emergency services. The Signal for Help was first launched by the Canadian Women’s Foundation, a Women’s Funding Network member.

For some of us, being stuck at home due to COVID is a matter of extreme boredom. For others, it can be the worst possible scenario — far worse (it goes without saying) than catching COVID. So it’s amazing to see how the WFN, in creating this made-for-video-calls hand signal, examined consumers’ new daily routines to see where its mission could fit in. And with Zoom’s daily active users skyrocketing from 10 million to 200 million, our new reliance on video chat is an obvious facet of that.

Another insight here? There’s been a stream of high-tech innovations popping up in response to COVID-19, from sensor-equipped masks to autonomous cleaning robots. But don’t be fooled: The most innovative, most impactful ideas aren’t necessarily the high-tech ones. In fact, the relative simplicity of this hand signal (it didn’t require ten scientists, a factory to develop, a shipping scheme, etc.) is what enabled this idea to be introduced quickly in the first place, and be immediately useful to victims in need. As soon as someone learns about the Signal for Help, they can use it on their next Zoom call.

So think about those who are especially vulnerable and even overlooked during this crisis. Can your organization create an easy-to-deploy - and more importantly, easy to use - solution for those in need?

Stay healthy,

The TrendWatching content team