Post written by Yury Kotikov, MIM February 2014 current student
Even before the start of the program, I was very enthusiastic about the week ahead. It was our first chance to apply what we had learned in the classroom to solve real business problems. And I was 100% sure that the task would be easy for me after 1.5 years in management consulting.
But what a surprise it was to learn that i2i is based on the design thinking methodology instead of the traditional analytical approach. This made it far more challenging as design thinking is rather different in many aspects from the problem solving approach used by top tier consultancies.
This year the company asking IE students for help in their challenges was Mutua Madrileña, one the biggest insurance companies in Spain. The company had three questions:
- How to be the best insurance company when nothing happens (no accidents or claims)?
- How to increase the sales without investing in traditional advertising?
- How to win the heart of the customer and be connected to them at the emotional level?
We had only four days to form and present our solutions. Each day involved many challenging tasks and active learning processes. To make the contest even more demanding, the teams were composed of students from different sections, which gave us an opportunity to work with people we had never worked with before. The teams formed three cohorts, each charged with the task of answering one of the aforementioned questions.
Day 1 started with the presentation of i2i Consulting Lab from Conchita Galdon, Manager of Area 31, entrepreneurship and innovation space at IE Business School. Than Fernando Bueno Merino, Innovation Director of Mutua Madrileña, had the floor with his introduction of the company’s business. The rest of the day was devoted to a design thinking workshop. Using the example of such a simple thing as a wallet, we had a chance to grasp the main idea of the design process, which basically says that everything around us has a lot of space for improvements. We walked through every stage of the design process, from understanding user needs to prototyping and collecting feedback to make the product better.
Day 2 was dedicated to fieldwork. Probably, it was the most “out of the comfort zone” experience of the week. We had to spend the whole day on the streets of Madrid asking people about their insurance to find clues for potential solutions to our questions. But, following the methodology, we had to start from something less emotional than personal finance to make people tell random students about the insurance and to move slowly towards the topic of our interest.
Day 3 was definitely the longest. We started from the workshop that helped us to reflect on all the insights collected through the previous day and to form a vision of our consumer. Every team had to go through the design brainstorming process, generating as many ideas as possible, eliminating the shadiest and picking the best. After finding our very best ideas, we had to prototype them by drawing the simple storyboards with our vision of users’ experiences and to go to the street again to ask our potential users for their feedback. The last stage of the process was to refine our ideas in accordance with the feedback we received and to prepare the presentation of the final product.
Finally, Day 4 – the presentation of all our efforts. It was divided into two stages. In the first stage the teams in each cohort presented their ideas to the i2i coaches. Then two best teams of each cohort were chosen to present their solutions to the Mutua Madrileña executives, who had the final say in selecting a winner. This time it was the team from the Spanish section with the idea of sharing your insurance with the people in trouble, which really impressed the whole audience and the judges.
Unfortunately, my team did not make it to the final round. Nevertheless, the whole week was a very entertaining and a learning experience.