Digital advances are driving a growing number of different industries. From health-care to insurance and manufacturing there isn’t a single market that can ignore innovation. That’s why the people able to solve new problems through novel solutions are gold to any and every organization. In this context, design thinking has become one of the most important methodologies to manage the growing business complexity that comes with advanced processes. Design thinking has become somewhat of a buzzword overflowing from twitter into company presentations and tutorials, but why is design thinking so relevant to the challenges that Insurers are facing today?
First of all, we need to understand what design thinking is. It’s a problem-solving methodology proposing a process articulated around 5 steps, which may also occur simultaneously. The process is designed to frame problems, ask the right questions and, eventually, come up with new and more effective ideas. Each step helps solve problems using the essential skills of collaboration, communication, creativity, and critical thinking. To be more specific the five steps are Empathy, Define, Ideate, Prototype, and Test/Feedback. Instead of coming up with a plan for how every part of a business could work, a team designs an ongoing sequence of small, rapid prototypes to learn if and how that specific business will work. The main idea is testing assumptions early to build stronger solutions.
Better solutions, faster
thinking allows teams to work more efficiently because they stay aligned and
keep people at the center. It’s a way to come to better solutions, faster. That’s
why innovators in a range of domains, from literature, art, engineering, and
business have adopted it. For example, when Airbnb was founded in 2008, its CEO
Brian Chesky decided to meet Airbnb hosts in-person to collect feedback about
their product. He said: “If I want to make something amazing for you, I need
to spend time with you”. That’s a design thinking approach. Companies like
Google, Apple, and Samsung also adopted DT, which means for managers, who
aren’t used to face-to-face research with customers, to get deeply immersed in
their client’s perspective and also co-creating with stakeholders. As designers
do every day. Another great example of design thinking is IBM’s investment in
the new methodology by building a large internal design team. The
effort has paid off: IBM has seen a 301% ROI by implementing design
thinking. The human-centered design also improved product outcomes, reducing
the risk of costly failures, and increasing portfolio profitability.
Lastly, some important
insights come from Italy, where the methodology has been studied by Milan’s Polytechnic.
A survey of Italian innovators has shown that design thinking is more effective
when it is applied to specific stages or processes as Design Creative Problem
Solving (32%), Creative Confidence (25%), Sprint Execution (24%) and Innovation
of Meaning (15%). And it works only when the entire team is engaged: from the
manager to the intern, from seniors to juniors.