A few weeks back we ran a sprint focusing on Innovating to Save Community Businesses During COVID -19. Clearly, the word Community is in the title, as a reminder of what we stand for at Cookhouse Labs: Building a community, connecting with a community, taking care of our community. In essence, Cookhouse Labs takes us back to what insurance is all about – community.
During our sprint, we interviewed small business owners, and what we heard from them was how stressful, scary, and frustrating this current situation is for them, which is no surprise; we expected similar words. Even though entrepreneurs are used to uncertainty and sometimes thrive and use uncertainty as a motivator, the current level of this uncertainty is even higher and scarier than usual as a result of the COVID-19 lockdown, which has resulted in a tremendous impact on their immediate families, their teams, and the families of every employee involved.
Empathy is our compass during our process and our journey, as it is the key ingredient for our methodology. Listening to our personas, we identified the current level of fear, stress, and worry. It is one thing to KNOW that there is such an impact; is another thing to SEE and FEEL the impact as the team heard the words and saw the expressions on the faces of the owners we interviewed.
So, what lessons did we takeaway?
The current situation is creating an environment of:
- Confusion – People are not sure what to do next, since no one knows how long the lockdown will be in effect;
- Frustration – Everyone is feeling stuck because, again, not knowing when the business will be running again, there nothing or little an owner can do or plan;
- Loneliness – Many people are feeling alone and isolated, as if they are only ones feeling stuck or confused;
- Fear – Owners worry about what will happen to their businesses. For all of them, this is their passion, and for some of them, their longtime dream
The biggest takeaway was seeing their reactions as the team interviewed them. For many business owners, it appeared as if it was the first time someone took time to really listen to how they felt and how this is impacting their life. Even more important, it was the first time someone asked them, “What do you need? How can we support you?”
The sprint team did an amazing job at connecting to their human side and empathizing with each person they interviewed, truly feeling their real emotions.
As the result, the team defined a solution: Providing a virtual space that can be available for these small business owners quickly, while they need it, at no cost to them. It’s a solution that provides them with the feeling that they are not alone and that someone does have their back. Who? The insurance industry, specifically the insurance members that participated in the sprint.
So, stay tuned and keep coming back to learn more about this virtual space: What it is, how it will be created and how YOU can be part of it, if you wish. Meanwhile, this sprint is moving on to a Phase II. At Cookhouse Labs, Phase II means, we are moving forward from ideation and testing to bringing the idea to life. Click here to find out how you can join Phase II!
We would love to say thank you to those business owners that were happy to share their time and stories during the sprint. And we invite you, our community members, to learn more about those businesses whose owners were comfortable with sharing details about their companies. Links are listed below, so pay them a visit!
Thank you to our business owners – check out their pages and share if you feel inspired to do so! #CommunitySupport