Chapter 8 Case Study 2: LV, using labs to drive innovation forward

LV= is an insurance company which regularly ranks at the top of customer satisfaction surveys and has, for years, been a leader in the general insurance market.

But even a company like LV= has found that there is a risk of innovation being slowed to a standstill by a relentless focus on today’s business. Head of Innovation, Rod Willmott, highlighted an example, which we helped unblock with just a few days of lab work: ‘The system we call Resolv= has delivered call-centre operational benefits for LV= that can be measured in many millions of pounds and has won eight customer service and innovation awards. In fact, the idea came out of a Fluxx innovation workshop that was set up

to address a completely different problem.

‘We had gathered to define what we wanted out of our future intranet and deliberately included people from all corners of our business. One tentative voice on day one caught the imagination of the entire audience, “I just want to be able to share my problems and knowledge with my colleagues,” and right there a great idea was born for a new way to help contact centre staff give better service to customers.

‘Within the two days of the workshop we had created a prototype that let everyone see the potential value in this great collaborative idea; so much so that people who had originally attended reluctantly felt compelled to persuade their senior executive colleagues to join us, saying “you have to come and see this and the process we have been going through”.

‘Outside of the enthusiasm of the first challenge, the cynics massed. The concept that we could share and get knowledge from anyone in the call centre was one that didn’t land easily, but a few people were so enthused and empowered from that first experience that there was enough passion to convince the doubters that we

should try the idea out for real. A second, dedicated 48-hour session developed the concept, with input and shaping from the end users, our contact centre team, rather than those who thought they knew what was needed from a top-down perspective.

‘Our differentiation for this product was in the fact that the knowledge in the system comes from colleagues helping each other, live, as questions come in. If an answer is not already in the system, anyone can leap to the assistance of their colleagues pretty fast, thereby hopefully creating an ecosystem that makes our new product feel worthwhile and even fun to use.

‘The lab metaphor and approach pervaded throughout: small changes and constant feedback; test, learn and learn again; and keep it very close to the real users. These are lessons that have gone on to serve us well in many subsequent projects.’