Canadian Underwriter

Why insurers are training in design thinking 

March 20, 2020   by Jason Contant, Online Editor

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Canadian P&C professionals have approached Cookhouse Labs, an industry innovation hub, to help with staff training. Cookhouse co-founder Sven Roehl (pictured above) and Ibeth Ramos, Cookhouse’s program manager and innovation coach, explain why.
– As told to Jason Contant

We provide all different kinds of training, and there was one that insurers really pushed for: Design thinking. This involves developing an understanding of the people for whom we’re designing our products or services.

You can go anywhere in the world for design training. What we do at the lab is focus training on how to solve insurance-specific problems. When we do our two-day training, we always choose a topic that will be useful for insurance companies.

A few members have their own innovation departments and tell us that they have already done design thinking, but they are struggling to put it to use. We allow them to come and practice what they have learned in a safe environment. They can implement all creative methodologies, not just a specific one. The more they expand their knowledge, the more they are able to do themselves a service; the more they allow themselves to be truly creative.

It’s not like one methodology is good for everyone. Harvard has a design thinking course. For them, one challenge was that everybody had different questions about how Harvard’s methodology applied to their specific industry backgrounds — from government agencies, to teachers, to doctors.

Now we offer training for the insurance industry. We had a session a few weeks ago in which a couple of insurance companies and universities were trained on design thinking, focusing on how to change customers’ negative perception of insurance.

Cookhouse Labs is not about building solutions that are ready to be used in the market. The incubator is for the industry to come up with its own ideas based on a shared IP-approach. Our ultimate goal is to make insurance better by providing all the skills and knowledge that an insurer needs to become an innovation anticipator.

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