Why use design thinking to identify automation opportunities?
As we move from the launch to acceleration phase, the most important tollgate is go/no-go for the proposed automation project based on a business case that stakeholders believe in. However, a business case is not just a matter of crunching numbers. It is about the business and IT stakeholders sharing a common vision of who will benefit from the automation, why they will benefit from it, what needs to be built to provide the same, and how it should be tested and deployed. To do this effectively, we should adopt a useful, systematic approach, and that’s where design thinking helps. In this article, we won’t get into details of the design thinking approach, but will limit ourselves to outlining three key benefits:
1. A structured method for analysis based on real world inputs:
a. Who? — The user, her persona, and her needs.
b. Why? — Pains, gains, and insights.
2. Synthesis of ideas from multiple stakeholders
a. What? — Pain relievers and creators across processes.
b. How? — Prototype to test hypothesis and iterate.
3. Continuous improvement through an iterative process.
How to apply design thinking across the insurance value chain?
Now that we have considered advantages of using the design thinking approach, let’s see how we can apply it to identify automation opportunities across the insurance value chain. The approach consists of five stages as shown in the figure (below).
- Identify criteria for automation opportunities: There can be many criteria to consider. From our experience, the two most important parameters we have observed are:
a. Type of work – Clerical, rule-based, and judgement-based
b. Total effort – Number of units and effort per unit
- Map the parameter against the insurance value chain: To evaluate each process with high, medium or low automation potential. Please keep in mind that different lines of business and different business processes have varying types of work and the total effort associated with them.
- Shortlist high potential processes: The processes we have seen offering the highest potential in most cases are underwriting / new business, policy servicing, and claims management.