Thrivent Enabling college students to avoid debt through an  educational website and app

  • Research
  • Design
  • Build

Digital Innovation

Project Overview

  • Client

  • Industry

  • Timeline

    3 months

Thrivent Financial is a Fortune 300 mission-driven financial services company that encourages its members to “be wise with money.” Over the past three years, Highland has helped Thrivent research, design, and build digital products that connect the organization with a new generation of members.

Client Challenge

With an ambitious vision and a call to expand their member base, several business units across the Thrivent enterprise sought to develop new products and services that would help them connect with younger audiences—from Millennial parents to Gen Z high school students.

Our Approach


We used journey mapping and the Jobs to be Done research methods to understand the push and pull forces driving potential members of the Gen Z and Millenial generations to action.

By examining journeys and jobs, we identified several opportunities to better serve the financial needs of teens, young adults, and parents of young children.


As we tested prototypes and analyzed research, it was clear that Gen Zs and Millennials needed a better way to prepare for and pay for college.

In a crowded space of college loan providers dominated by institutions looking to make as much money as possible, Thrivent decided to take a counter-market position. They created a digital platform to help students better understand their financial options so that they could take out as few loans as possible.


We developed the platform using Agile and Kanban methods, allowing designers and developers to rapidly adapt to new learnings about user needs. By developing on OutSystems low-code development platform, we were able to save time and money, getting the product to market in just three months.

Journey Mapping

We created a financial services customer journey map to understand the financial journeys of Millennial parents and Gen Z students. These maps allowed us to identify gaps in that journey and build a digital product that addressed a real customer need.

Rapid Prototyping

Our practice of collecting ongoing user feedback and testing site features before fully building them out saved Thrivent tens of thousands of dollars in development costs.

“I cannot tell you how much I appreciate the Highland partnership. Our team never missed a beat. I couldn’t have been happier with the mindshare they devoted to our products and our users.”

- Jennifer Vaillancourt, Manager, Marketing and Curriculum Delivery at Thrivent Student Resources


Trending up, up, and up

Thrivent Student Resources has been one of Thrivent's most successful digital innovation projects to date, far exceeding the company's original user adoption goals. In the two years after product launch, over 30,000 students used the new product to learn about reducing debt

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