We spent 2 days assembled in a collaborative design workshop — complete with post-it's and full wall whiteboards.

Design Discovery:

Deciphering Hidden Complexity in choosing Insurance Car Repairers

Summary: Design Discovery for an Online Insurance Car Repairer Selection Experience™️

This case study details my experiences, as part of a team, completing Design Discovery for a proposed new experience for IAG NZ car insurance customers. The focus of our Discovery was exploring a new way for State (400,000) and AMI (500,000) customers to choose car insurance repairers during car damage claims.

Guided by a 2-day, 8-person design workshop, we created a Service Design Blueprint Map. Ange Black and I planned, led and facilitated the workshop, including running senior stakeholder presentations and making post-workshop recommendations. Our process for this project was based on the Double Diamond Design Process, developed by the British Design Council in 2005. We focused on the initial 2 steps of Discover and Define. We started initial work in the Develop stage with plans to begin Deliver in following months.

Discovery Project Core Team:

0.
The Project Brief

Establishing the project brief and the team approach, goals and timelines.

The Design Problem

The project team was tasked with improving the process for how customers choose car repairers for claims lodged through an online claim form. Previously, IAG customers who had lodged online claims with IAG's main consumer brands (AMI and State) had to wait for IAG staff to call them back after they had lodged a claim.

In contrast, customers who lodged claims by phone-call could immediately choose a repairer during the initial phone conversation. This led to a worse experience for online customers. The project team focused on design discovery for a future digital system that enabled customers to choose a car repairer while lodging claims online.

The process has wide reaching consequences, impacting all claims staff, all car claims and repairer partners. The initial project focused on defining the problem, consultation with stakeholders, exploring constraints and narrowing the scope to define minimal viable solutions. The project team achieved this goal through the creation of a Service Design Blueprint Map.

Project Constraints

There were three main high-level constraints for the project: Scale, Approach, and Organisational Prioritisation. Each constraint had to be considered in a different way — and some of the issues the constraints caused were only realised midway through the project, causing additional issues.

The most significant constraint was Scale. The Repairer Allocation Experience at the center of this project had the potential to impact hundreds of IAG staff members, 800,000+ customers, 100+ Panelbeaters and Car Repair Workshops, and the daily work of 50+ IAG Motor Assessors. As a result, extreme care and consideration was required at every step of the discovery process — as appropriate for an experience that impacts so many people.

The second constraint was Approach. While this might seem an odd constraint, this was the first time the team had created a full Service Design Blueprint. We were applying a process new to IAG. Improvisation, creativity and trust amongst the team was required as we learnt and applied the new design process. Working together as a team, we were able to overcome these difficulties. Undoubtedly, future Service Design Blueprint projects will avoid this same complication.

The final main constraint was Organisational Prioritisation. Like all large multi-national businesses, IAG has a never-ending number of priorities. This project had a limited number of staff assigned to complete the project, alongside their business as usual responsibilities. These constraints were considered and respected when developing solutions, plans or ideas, particularly in regards to software development needs — due to the particularly busy nature of our digital colleagues.

All in all, these three constraints of problem Scale, process Approach and organisational Prioritisation contributed to the way we approached the problem, the results we achieved and the overall final outcomes. The project team worked through these constraints through teamwork, careful consideration when required, and creativity to overcome challenges.

Our Approach and Process

The project team applied an IAG internally modified version of the Double Diamond Design Process, with the scope of the project focused on the Define and Discover stages. Gathering data to better understand the complexities was crucial for the project, given the large number of stakeholders and systems involved.

The project team prioritised subject matter experts from across the organisation, and consulted with the four distinctly different parts of the business. Including these experts from across IAG was a crucial aspect of our success.

SCOPE AND PROJECT TIMELINE

The project team aimed to complete the Define and Discover steps of the Design process within a 3-month period. This meant gathering, analysing and synthesising the data to achieve a deep understanding of the problem.

Key milestones we achieved during the project:

  1. Defined the core problem, and refined and finalised the project scope
  2. Sent a Customer Research to survey 900 IAG customers, receiving a total of 350 responses and a mix of qualitative and quantitative data
  3. Built understanding and mapped the existing, current processes by working with Subject Matter Experts across the organisation
  4. Built the foundations of a Service Design Blueprint Map during a 2-day Service Design workshop with assistance from the four key stakeholder groups
  5. Finished the Service Design Blueprint to capture the interconnected experiences of Customers, Claims Staff, Repairers and Assessors
  6. Collaborated with the Australian IAG office to learn about their experiences designing for a similar process
  7. Explored and documented the technical systems and requirements involved with the Lead Software Architect
  8. Identified pain points, metrics and signs of success during the overall experience, grouping each of these via core principles
  9. Developed Guiding Design Principles, using the results of the Design Workshop, the Service Design Blueprint and Customer Research
  10. Created a prioritised list of solutions and recommendations; then themed and ranked the ideas by potential impact, difficulty, cost and values
  11. Presented the ranked ideas and recommendations to the Senior Leadership Team to obtain endorsement and support for the next steps of execution

1.
Discover

Research, data-gathering, talking with people and gaining insight into the design problem.

The project began with data-gathering. After the fact, it's easy to see how everything connects together and present the results using a clear narrative timeline. In reality however, life is never so tidy. A lot of the early focus on the project was figuring out what we knew, what we knew what we didn't know, and what we didn't know we didn't know.

We overcame these challenges by talking to as many people as we could — and ensuring a healthy approach of re-visiting early assumptions and information. This was especially relevant as some early expectations, knowledge and assumptions were off-base, particularly our understanding of the process executed by the customer facing teams.

After gathering all of the relevant, impactful or important data we could, we began to synthesis and start to understand the factors at play. This was achieved through the creation of a stakeholder map, a system map, and summarising and documenting the research sources utilised.

Collaborating with Stakeholders
As a large, complex organisation — any changes at IAG have far reaching consequences. Car repair claims are the most common claim type AMI and State, the two main consumer brands IAG offers. Any change to the customer experiences of these claims requires careful consideration. That requires consulting and working alongside all impacted stakeholders.

The four key stakeholder groups of IAG Claims staff, Customers, Vehicle Repairers and IAG Vehicle Assessors
We identified the key stakeholder groups involved in the process.

Gathering Research and Data
Before our design workshop, the project team gathered customer and staff research to inform decisions. This helped us understand the different pain points and important considerations of customers and staff. Our main research tool was a survey completed by ~350 customers. This informed the service design blueprint, with plans to run further face-to-face customer interviews as the project progresses into solution design.

Our Customer Research sources relied on existing internal research, a survey completed by 350 customers, and interviews with internal Subject Matter Experts
We utilised existing research and a project specific customer survey.

Identifying System and Technology Considerations
As well as identifying the impacted stakeholder groups, the project team examined the different technical systems currently in use, both internally and externally. This aspect of the project was led by the Digital team, and helped identify the technical architecture systems that enable each step of the process to connect.

Between the IAG claims team, external repairers and IAG assessors, there is six main systems involved in the overall process
Each system and system-connection had to be documented, understood, and considered.

2.
Define

Synthesising, processing and attempting to understand all of the information at hand to identify the areas to focus on.

The Discover step involved a wide exploration, and was followed by a dive deep to begin to understand the information we had gathered. Based on the stakeholder map, we knew there was a large number of different groups involved in this process — groups who had previously had minimal interaction with each other, which needed to be considered.

During the Define phase, our primary goal was to understand the information we had gathered. In order to achieve this, the project team planned and facilitated a 2-day workshop. This workshop brought together 8 subject matter experts from the key stakeholder groups involved in the repairer allocation process. In this workshop we analysed our customer research results, identified pain and delight points and created the foundations of a service design blueprint. This work later led to the creation of our three guiding Design Principles.

Mapping the Current State Customer Flow
An essential step before the design workshop was identifying the happy path most commonly experienced by customers. This influenced the service design blueprint. An immediate pain-point we identified was that customers who lodged their claims online experienced extra steps above and beyond phone-call claim lodgements.

The overall process has ten main steps for online customers, whereas over the phone customers have 8 main steps
The most common happy path for customers. Identified before our workshop to inform the eventual service design blueprint map.

An Amazing Presentation and Display Tool
Our completed service design blueprint mapped the four key stakeholder groups, the points each group interconnected and the possible opportunities where pain points and divergences from the happy path could occur. This map was a great tool for presenting our work to senior stakeholders, helping receive buy-in and organisational support.

The service blueprint is split into four swim lanes; Customers, Claims Staff, Vehicle Assessors and Vehicle Repairers
We utilised existing research and a project specific customer survey.

Identifying Customer Partner and Employee Pain and Delight Points
From the service design blueprint, informed via customer research we identified key pain and delight points, including the themes that had the most significant impact on our customers, IAG’s employees and IAG’s partners. Identifying these points helped us craft design principles, which in turn let us balance competing priorities, constraints and needs while proposing solutions to test and prototype.

We identified a range of pain and delight points; with the primary pain points being communication and expectations, whereas staff are the primary delight point.
We identified the key stakeholder groups involved in the process.

3.
Develop

Brainstorming ideas, solutions and concepts to address the painpoints identified during the discovery and define process steps.

After completing the service design blueprint, the project team began presenting the project to the wider IAG organisation. A key focus of this was presenting the three guiding Design Principles we had designed. These principles helped the project team tell a compelling story to senior and impacted stakeholders. Simultaneously, the principles also helped unify the project team towards a common direction and goal.

Using the Design Principles, the project team then began to explore and develop potential solutions. These solutions were informed by the pain and delight points we had identified, the process mapped through the service design blueprint, and most importantly, the guiding Design Principles. The initial list of ideas and concepts was then refined and grouped into core ideas, ready to later be progressed and delivered. Refining these ideas was my final contribution to this project before leaving IAG in January 2019.

Defining Guiding Design Principles
The guiding Design Principles were created by combining everything the project team learnt into unified statements. During the 2-day workshop we identified approximately 75 pain and delight points. To create the design principles, the pain and delight points were grouped and combined into 6 high level themes, which were then combined into the complete 3 principles. This approach proved successful as we presented the principles to different stakeholder groups, each group quickly saw their experience and perspective had been included.

We used the pain and delight points to create three guiding design principles, focused on our core stakeholder groups of customers, staff and repairers
Each Design Principle aligns to a different stakeholder group. This was unplanned, but endorses the overall process we used to create these principles.

Brainstorming and Analysing Ideas; a Pragmatic Approach
The final outcome during the 12-week project cycle was brainstorming ideas, solutions and concepts to address the pain points we had identified. We brainstormed ideas by bringing together the initial workshop participants — and focused on each individual Design Principle. Following the brainstorming session, we grouped similar ideas into 7 overall strategies to be reviewed and progressed.

Using the pain and delight points, plus our guiding Design Principles, we brainstormed potential solutions
Our final ideas are summarised as; improve outdated processes, modernise technology systems, and invest in supporting IAG staff and repairer partners.

4.
Outcomes and Results

Reviewing the project results, lessons, wins and losses.

Our goal for this project was to build an understanding of the repairer allocation process, and consider how that process differed for online vs. on the phone customers. Using that information, we would then build a new solution — benefiting the different interaction channels, IAG staff and repairers along the way. In seeking these goals, we needed to consider the different stakeholder groups involved.

We achieved these goals through the creation of a Service Design Blueprint, which was later summarised and presented through the creation of three Design Principles. The project was a cross-team, collaborative effort, utilised customer research and pushed our boundaries and comfort zones.

Our work in progress service blueprint wall — a whiteboarded wall covered end-end with post-its.
The Completed Service Design Blueprint Map

It's a mouthful of a title, but the service design map we created is the foundation of this entire project. With it, we took information, data, insights and knowledge from all over IAG and combined everything together in such a way that helped us understand exactly what our customers and staff cared about.

An interesting challenge we faced was presenting our work. As shown in the (pixelated for confidentiality) photo, the wall was a working artifact. We briefly considered creating a hi-fi well designed version, but decided to prioritise our time in other areas.

Stakeholder Inclusion

One of the most impactful things the project team did was prioritise time, energy and social capital to include different stakeholders groups from across IAG. This was important because in the past IAG has operated with different business units heavily siloed from one another.

In addition to including different parts of IAG throughout the process, we also prioritised regularly presenting updates to even wider parts of the organisation. We held presentations at the end of each day of the workshop, presenting to ~30+ people. Following the workshop, we presented the in progress and final Service Design Blueprint to 4-5 smaller groups. These regular presentations and updates helped us keep everyone up to date, helped to create buy-in and take stakeholders through the project change journey.

Results and Delivered Outcomes

The project delivered a number of outcomes. In keeping with the initial scope of the project, our work focused on internal change and a deep-dive discovery on the problem space, rather than delivering final results to customers. Overall, we delivered the main outcomes we set out to achieve. We also pushed the organisational knowledge of IAG — working in a brand-new way.

Key Outcomes:

  1. Design Principles
  2. Service Design Blueprint Map
  3. PowerPoint Pack summarising work to-date
  4. Customer Research Results
  5. Research questions to investigate next steps
  6. Organisational and Cultural Change

Considering the outcomes we achieved, the project team created a strong case to advance to the next stage of product development. While there was definitely a messy middle to the project, particularly as we learnt to work in new ways, the process created positive outcomes, ready to advance in the next step.

Next Steps

This case study describes work, completed September to December 2018. My final contribution to this project was handing over the work the project team had completed to the newly hired Service Designer, Amy Sekhon Cunliffe. Amy was employed to run the final stages of Develop and Deliver in 2019. The completed work was documented in a slide deck ready for Amy to use as she joined the committed and determined team.

The initial plans for 2019 focused on face-to-face customer interviews based on our initial concepts, bringing on a tech lead to the core project team, and working on implementing quick wins and small fixes balanced amongst ongoing projects.

Project & Personal Lessons

This 3-month project was one of the most challenging, and rewarding periods of my career to date. As the CX Design Lead for the project I was directly accountable for progressing the Customer Experience Design aspects of the project. While I had previously participated in similar work, I hadn't been the nominated lead — especially on such a large and complex project.

Biggest Lessons I learnt as a CX Design Lead:

  1. Progress starts when you start, even if you don't quite know what you're doing, just getting started is crucial.
  2. Trust your team, and make sure you check in with each other frequently. Stay on the same page and clarify assumptions.
  3. Stick to convictions about uncomfortable conversations — this was especially relevant to how we approached customer research on this project, something I think I should have pushed for much more heavily than I did.

Overall, my biggest lesson from this project was learning that I'm capable of taking ownership of an ambiguous, complex problem, and delivering successful results. Against that, I learnt for future projects the importance of maintaining conviction on pushing against project directions I disagreee with — even when they go against the crowd.

All in all, I'm proud to have worked alongside the great team who contributed to the project, and I consider it a success.

Wrapping Up:

Hello! If you've made it this far, I admire your commitment — either to reading through everything, or for your skimming ability. This was the final project I completed at IAG over four years. It was a great experience that taught me a whole lot, especially about how I cope with pressure 😅 something we all need to learn!

Now, if you enjoyed this case study so much that you'd like to read more from me, I'd love for you to check out my personal portfolio https://jasontcrabtree.com, or check out my blog at https://blog.jasontcrabtree.com. I *infrequently* write about my experiences learning and thinking about Design, Strategy, Code & other things I think are rad.