We invited Cookhouse Labs China Partner Jason Alleyne to attend our first sprint of the year. Read about his experience below!
On March 2020, a 3-day project at Cookhouse Labs tackled an audacious challenge: how to identify, qualify, and classify opportunities and quantify their impact for insurers.
The participants were a truly diverse group, with expertise covering customer journey, product development, operational systems, business consultancy, distribution, and risk management. This diversity of thought and perspective would quickly prove to be beneficial.
Our sprint facilitator, Ibeth Ramos, kept the energy of the room upbeat and high-paced – the sense of urgency is very crucial to giving maximum effort. But the Cookhouse Labs ethos goes deeper than just the process itself. A human-centered approach and solution-focused mindset are the keys to the Lab’s proven success on these “mission impossible” type projects. Every team member’s title, ego, and pre-conceived notions about the solution remain at the door! Instead, strong team dynamics, sharing, and effective play replace the individualism and one-upmanship of the typical corporate realm. This empathy framing provides every team member freedom to maximize the output of the design thinking and lean- startup methodologies.
Here is an overview of the phases the team underwent in the 3-day Sprint:
1. Human to human introductions – we did an exercise that made every participant an equal partner in the process
2. Research the problem topic – then we listed the various challenges that the industry currently faces
3. Interview CEOs in the industry – then we built the persona of Sam, the CEO of Trust Insurance, and created an empathy map for that persona
4. Ideate – we used ideation to refine our challenge into one problem statement
5. Journey map – we developed a journey map for CEO-Sam’s key decision-making milestones for a calendar year. We identified pain points that prevent funding innovation, i.e. insufficient data feeds from actual customers and the tug-of-war between executives asking for bigger budget allocations for existing product lines
6. How might we – we used a “how-might-we” ideation process through iterative rounds to design the prototype of the solution
7. Customer validation – we conducted market validation through direct interviews with Insurance Policyholders by testing our prototype messages with them
8. Final presentation – we presented our prototype and our findings to the Cookhouse community
Please know, the journey will test your current mode of thinking – especially your normal approach to problem-solving. Some takeaways learned along our journey were:
1. Stay in the present and with the pace of the group
2. Properly research and define the problem before jumping to a solution
3. Move forward once a decision is collectively made by the group (remember, there are no egos here)
4. Give each stage in the process equal prominence and equal effort
The group completed a few tasks that they wouldn’t typically perform in their workplace. These include interviewing the customer, building the customer empathy map, evaluating the customer journey for pain points, and direct end-user market validation.
In the end, our team was determined to solve the problem statement: How might we leverage data and prioritize customer centricity in our strategic planning to achieve long term success?”
How innovative was the solution? Well…
- Our solution did not involve a broker. It is not a new insurance product. And our solution is not a smartphone app.
- Our prototype was created after interviewing 3 insurance executives. We shared it with 9 insurance policyholders, and their collective feedback was a resounding YES!
That is innovation!!