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[SERIES] Inside Cookhouse Lab - Introduction to Design Thinking

[fa icon="calendar"] Apr 24, 2018 1:49:30 PM / by Sven Roehl | Chef

Sven Roehl | Chef

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Every hero needs a villain, right? Similarly, every great idea, solution, or invention always needs a problem. And while the solution is often what gets all of the glory and attention, how we deal with said problem is just as, if not more, important. As Albert Einstein once said, “we can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them”.


The Importance of Identifying the Problem

In the world of insurance, all insurers are motivated to solve one problem: how to minimize the risk of financial loss. But for many organizations, the innovation strategy behind solving this problem lacks a key component. While many companies do a great job analyzing the latest technological trends (like Cloud Computing, Artificial Intelligence, or Blockchain) and trying to find answers on how to make use of them, they often don’t think about the root cause of the actual problem.  


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Understanding Customer Expectations 

Steve Jobs once wisely said, "it's not the customer's job to know what they want!". He's not wrong. To create the best solutions for the customer, companies need to have a very clear understanding of their exact problems. And in today's digital world, standards are high. People are shaped and influenced by their digital experiences with sophisticated companies like Amazon or Uber - and these expectations transfer over to their insurance needs as well. This means that insurers need to understand the expectations of these customers in order to build greater customer loyalty, cut costs, and improve profitability. 


Design Thinking Puts the Customer First

The concept of design thinking has been around for decades in various professions like engineering and architecture, but has recently exploded in popularity in the business world. At a high level, this process helps organizations solve complex problems by shifting the focus from a business-centric solution to a customer-centric solution.

Previously in the insurance space, most insurers took the approach of creating solutions based solely on assumptions and hoped that their products or solutions would resonate with target audiences. Design thinking reverses this logic by first identifying the root(s) of the problem, observing how people think and behave, and gathering customer insights. From there, practical solutions are created. 

At Cookhouse Lab, we have seen first hand the power of design thinking. By using this methodology, teams have the opportunity to look at a problem through the eyes of the customer, put themselves in their shoes and fully empathize with the customer - who is ultimately the end user. Design thinking also encourages creativity and when these elements are put together, great things happen. Check out some of the problems that have been solved in Cookhouse Lab using design thinking here.


Stages of Design Thinking

The following are the stages of design thinking process:

  • Empathize with the customer and other stakeholders
  • Define the opportunity or problem
  • Design a solution
  • Create and build a Minimum Viable Product/Concept/Service
  • Test the solution with customers and users

No matter what the problem is, this process facilitates a path that leads to many possible solutions that can be tested and changed. In other words, it encourages continuous iterations of a solution. This quick testing cycle, at very early stages of the design, allows for organizations to create, fail, change, and adapt quickly - all while being mindful of monetary, time, and resource investments. 


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Building MVPs Through Design Thinking

Design thinking involves the creation of  Minimum Viable Products, services and concepts that are presented to end users to test ideas. In 2017 alone, we developed over a dozen InsurTech MVPs that have combined the best of the industry's newest technologies with innovative ideas from passionate professionals to create consumer engagement apps, blockchain portals, and more.


<< Check out what innovative MVPs we created in 2017 here! >>


Design Thinking at Cookhouse Lab

Using Design Thinking at Cookhouse Lab has not only led to tremendous ideas and MVPs but also the chance to contribute towards changing perceptions in insurance. As we discovered in our Loyalty & Rewards project, insurers today struggle to show their customers that they care about their life, wellness, and behavioural changes. But with Design Thinking, empathizing with customers is always a top priority, so if we continue this momentum, these perceptions will become easier to break. 

Most importantly, the innovative ideas that come from Design Thinking in Cookhouse Lab help us and the InsurTech community, contribute to making insurance better


Want to experience the Design Thinking process firsthand? We've got a full schedule of projects that are waiting for your input! Check them out here.

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Topics: design thinking

Sven Roehl | Chef

Written by Sven Roehl | Chef

Co-Founder of Cookhouse Lab and CEO of msg global solutions Canada.

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