The insurance industry — like most industries today — faces unrelenting pressure to be able to pivot on a dime so they can stay relevant to their customers. What’s driving this period of enormous transformation for the insurance industry?
Technology, in large part, but also customers who expect their business-to-business experiences to be just as personalized and frictionless as their experiences on the business-to-consumer side.
The simple phrase, “There’s an app for that” has changed the world in much the same way the concept of a personal computer did. Slow at first, then reaching a critical mass, and all of a sudden consumer expectations — regardless of who they were doing business with — were turned upside down. The idea that everything should be available easily on your smartphone, with a few simple steps, altered the customer-company relationship forever.
There is a new landscape of consumer expectation, and if you’re not evolving to meet and exceed them, then your business risks disruption, and even obsolescence.
That’s trouble for a traditional industry like insurance. Outdated thinking, technologies and approaches mean the argument for change is often “That’s the way we’ve always done it,” even while knowing that old approaches simply will no longer work. It’s now mission critical for the insurance industry— and any industry — to equip itself and its people with new ways of problem-solving, innovating and transforming.
That means they can’t just evolve for the sake of evolution. It has to be change and transformation that adds value to the customer. True innovation engages customers in new ways, creating positive energy and excitement. That’s why they need design thinking.
With design thinking, you start with customer needs in mind and expand your thoughts about what is possible, probable and feasible. For insurance, that might involve reconsidering how new types of annuities are created, and it’s how this tried-and-true industry can stay competitive and relevant in the face of disruption.
So where else could design thinking lead the insurance industry?
Defining the customer outside of just actuarial modelling. Look at your customers in-depth and create personas not just including demographics and health information but also psychographic inputs. Maybe your marketing team has already done this but if not — break your business down into areas — retirement savings, life insurance, whatever you specialize in. Then break it down further. Millennials have just started to think about retirement, whereas GenX are on the cusp of retirement age and have a sense of urgency to get things all buttoned up some may be congratulating themselves for compiling a juicy portfolio, while others who haven’t saved enough are beginning to panic. Each of these customer groups is unique, so give them hypothetical names and personas, and figure out how to meet their needs.
Define who isn’t your customer (yet). Who aren’t you reaching? And, why? Millennials who are living paycheck to paycheck? People with nothing extra to save? Whoever they are, give them names and personas, too. It’s the first step to figuring out how to your products can solve their problems.
Map out your customers’ journeys. Once you have some personas of typical customers and potential customers, ask your team to map out some possible customer journeys, persona by persona. Identify where, along that timeline, you have opportunities for influence, and use those touchpoints to inspire new products or marketing ideas. Through design thinking, you can uncover possibilities for new products and services that will solve real problems and provide real solutions.
And you don’t have to stop there. Once you uncover those solutions and are ready to turn those concepts into reality, design thinking can be your guide to bringing new innovations, revenue streams and business success to life — by putting the customer at the heart of everything you do.
Learn how to enable innovation skill-building at scale here or download our free ebook Kickstart Innovation: A Guide for Organizations.