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Mixed groups to speed up innovation

The innovation workshop was creative to say the least. With the support of RISE and the smart co-creation method, Länsförsäkringar managed to produce 724 innovative ideas. Three of which are being realised.

As the new Head of Innovation at Länsförsäkringar, Niklas Huss wanted to create an innovation portfolio. He sought help from RISE to develop ideas that create ‘a safe and injury-free everyday’.

“The insurance industry is undergoing a transformation where we are going from selling a reactive product to offering services that operate preventively and proactively. Services that make people feel safe and live healthier lives,” says Huss.

From good to brilliant ideas

In May 2017, some 60 people met over two days to explore ideas able to facilitate the transformation. Half of the participants were professionals from Länsförsäkringar and half were ‘non-experts’ from other industries.

“Our process is based on the realisation that the very best ideas are actually developed by people who do not know much about the problem area. The experts have a mental inertia and already ‘know’ what can and cannot be implemented. Those who are not experts avoid a lot of bias and can think freely,” says Peter Sandberg, Innovation Strategist at RISE.

Or, alternatively: experts often come up with good ideas, but it’s laypeople who come up with the brilliant ideas.

Volume first – concretisation second

The first day of the workshop focused on volume. Six groups produced 724 ideas which were jotted down on sticky notes. The following day, the ideas were translated into potential projects and concretised on an A3 concept sheet.

“When the time comes to name, visualise and describe ideas in terms of customer benefit and business benefit, usually only one tenth remain. In our case, we had a portfolio of 70 ideas,” says Sandberg.

Of the 70 ideas, participants voted on the best 13. The selected ideas were analysed in more depth during the summer by Länsförsäkringar before the heads of the 23 county branches were required to choose which projects they would like to support.

3 concepts for innovation

Three ideas received more than ten votes:

“One is the Lev Friskt (Eng: Live Healthy) app, which uses gamification to support people in their daily exercise by making them aware of how much they are moving around. It is already finished and has been tested with customers,” says Huss.

Another app is Goda Grannar (Eng: Good Neighbours), which aims to create a sense of security through extensive neighbourhood cooperation. Through the app, neighbours can get to know each other, help each other, borrow items from each other and form groups for different activities. In November 2018, the Hus-PT project was launched.

“It functions as a personal assistant in smart homes, and can communicate things that need to be done. It notifies the owner if there is moisture in the basement or if a roof tile has blown off. This is another idea that can be incorporated into an app. We’ll just have to wait and see,” says Huss.

Re-inventing insurance industry

He is pleased with the collaboration with RISE:

“The expertise RISE has provided through research and other things has been an incredible asset. We have now identified a concept for innovation, LF-open, which will possibly be rolled out in the regions.”

Because in the future, selling insurance won’t be enough:

“No, the insurance industry needs to start helping people to change their behaviours so that they can avoid developing diabetes and other diseases, instead of acting when it is already too late. We want to work proactively to reduce the burden on healthcare and suffering among our customers,” concludes Huss.