In the service sector, competition is so high that any way to get feedback from the market to tailor products to consumers’ needs is absolutely crucial. In a recent blog post, Henry Chesbrough speaks about Open Services Innovation and explains why it is crucial to innovate in the service sector : “Innovating in services is the escape route from the commodity trap and a solution for growth, giving firms a significant competitive advantage. As they innovate into the future, companies must think beyond their products and move outside their own four walls to innovate”. Insurance companies also need to involve their customers early in the process of innovation ; in other words, ask consumers what they need and value… and results can be surprising !
Recently, one of France’s most famous consumer insurance companies, AG2R LA MONDIALE, decided to engage with eYeka’s co-creation community to get visual and deep insights from consumers. The aim of the co-creation campaign was to get creative feedback from consumers about Flexeo Santé, AG2R LA MONDIALE’s fully customizable health-insurance plan that can be bought online.
To generate these insights, AG2R LA MONDIALE formulated a simple question : How do you see health-insurance that encompasses everything ? The French co-creation community from eYeka was asked to respond with visual representation or even by telling a story… on the condition that it revealed people’s expectations about general health coverage and services that could be associated with it. The call for entries was branded (AG2R LA MONDIALE appeared as the sponsor) but it was also “private”, which means that submissions were not visible to anyone but the person who posted it. This is to avoid plagiarism and biases that could result from it – every submission is authentic and personal.
We received more than 50 submissions which revealed what people expect from AG2R LA MONDIALE and its health-insurance plan offerings. We asked Damien de Bloteau, Innovation Manager at AG2R LA MONDIALE, to tell us what he thought about the generated insights :
M. De Bloteau, what convinced you to launch a call for entries on eYeka ?
Today, a lot of people talk about co-creation and new idea generation, and we wanted to do just that : appeal to a different community of people than our clients, who could generate new ideas about our product. At AG2R LA MONDIALE, we listen a lot to our customers, but we also want to get insights from people we don’t know or we don’t have access to.
Just after having discovered the community’s contributions, what could you say about them and the insights that they conveyed ?
First, I’m pleased to notice that the way we traditionally listen to the market seems to be successful, because eYeka’s consumer creators have expressed ideas that we have partly recognized with our internal market research techniques. However, ideas are far more widespread and the weighting is not quite the same : here we have a lot more contributions about stress, assistance and prevention than about repayment of drugs or health services, which is what health insurance is mainly about ! This is interesting because it highlights the differences in perception of health-insurance ; our somehow product-centric vision is broadened by the consumers’ vision and needs.
Will you use these ideas and insights in the re-design of the second generation of Flexeo ?
You could say that, yes, because we already planned to implement the winning idea of your co-creation campaign… But beside that, my role as Innovation Manager is also to detect weak signals about our offerings and peoples’ expectations, and there are definitely ideas I’ll explore deeper. Some interesting ideas stemming from your community, for instance, dealt with centralization of health data, personalized access to information or peripheral services.
And beside the individual ideas, would you tell us what you think about the contributions as a whole ?
What struck me in the set of contributions is that we have to be very careful in our communication. We indeed tend to have a product-dominant communication, but I now see the importance of a service-dominant communication, especially concerning aspects like social relationships, personal assistance etc. Our core competency is quite technical : we identify needs and develop an advanced solution to them. But we must also work on our way of communicating about our products. To wrap things up, I would definitely say that an insurer who thinks about everything must also think outside of pure insurance products !