Future scenarios
  • Type:
    Service Design, Future thinking
  • Timeline:
    3 months: May - July 2020
  • Role:
    Qualitative research, concept development, provotyping
  • Collaborators:
    Kristel El Achkar, Vitor Gobatto, Jeroen Ernst, Carla Camerlingo, Isabela B. Caria


The insurance industry is trying to change its point of view from intervention to prevention, and basically become a more customer centered domain. How an insurance company can become more customer-centered and innovative in 2030, able to provide their current and future customer outstanding experiences anchored around solutions that truly matter? With this question in mind, the client wanted to investigate how the services of the future - next 10 years -  will be for generation Z. This was the main target group, a generation already adapted to the digital world, that is highly likely to buy insurance when they reach their early 30s'.


The team started research with the following questions: a) what are the needs and behaviors of the generation Z in the present and their future needs?; b) what are the services that insurance offers today and what are their current capabilities?; c) what mega-trends are influencing the course of the world, in areas like healthcare, mobility, consumerism, work?

The research was based on:

  • interviewing people with ages between 20-25 (generation Z) and, for a comparison, over 30;
  • desk research for understanding insurance (services they provide, capabilities, needs) and investigating mega-trends.



Interviewing two generations gave the team the opportunity to reflect and analize the differences between them. While there are some differences in the way people in their 20s live their life compared to persons in their 30s, the environment where people live, experience and the social trends that are leading people's lives are powerful influences for both generations.


For example, one difference is that social norms and the social circle people have has a greater influence on people in their 20s than 30s. Older adults care more about structure, focus on fewer things, while both care about the experience they have with a service or product.






From a triangulation of all these type of data, the team created, using future thinking, two scenarios of the future: a possible one and a preposterous one. The first scenario, that this project is presenting, was happening in a remote and data-transparent world. The scenario focused on these two axes, due to the client's need to ensure transparency of data for their clients and the current trend in work toward remote working environments. These complex twi areas of focus gave the team directions to start testing potential new services for insurance, looking at: how would a remote working space and tools insurance could work, how could insurance aid in preventing job loss due to automation, how would a connected home environment help the user prevent accidents, and how wearable could save lives. After the creation of a future persona, and in order to test these ideas, a dark horse prototype and a provotype (a prototype meant to provoke reactions) was developed based on a storyboard.





The team also used a future persona to guide the construction of the prototype. The process to develop the persona was based on the insights from research, namely the needs and behaviors of the current generation Z, combined with the insights from the millenials and their future projections. This process helped the team come up with a future persona that fits into the future scenario.



To spark innovative ideas and push the team to conceptualize a future world, a dark horse prototype was used. This helped the team to creatively think about the future and aid in the development of the provotype -  a protoytpe used to provoke further ideas. The dark horse prototype depicts a negative, dark scenario in order to push the boundaries of possible and impossible, and find alternative ways to look at and develop the challenge.





In a highly data-transparent world, the scenario presented, everything is connected. People's data is the new currency, and it helps them live a better life.


The provotype developed in the form of a storyboard had the purpose to provoke people's reactions to an extreme prevention versus control scenario. It was tested with several people, while the aim was to understand how people would react to a scenario where insurance can save their life and prevent different accidents and life treathening situations.


The insights from these tests gave the team ideas to reflect on for the refining of the concepts. For example, some people were concerned about the confidentiality and anonimity of their data and how insurance will use this data, while others cared more about the intrusion of technology monitoring their lives.







While the storyboard analyzed several ideas where insurance can play a role, just two were more developed: an insurance for remote working (including space and tools used) and a reskilling insurance linked to a savings account (for people who might lose their jobs due to automation).

The first one is a B2B concept, that can be sold by the company the person is working for. The second one is a B2C concept, that people can buy individually. Of course, these concepts can be also bought vice-versa and they both depicts how they impact different areas of life. For example, a remote work insurance can create more opportunities for businesses, also impacts employees wellbeing and their family life. On the other hand, reskilling concept can impact how people self-finance and it touches areas like education.






Thinking about the question - is insurance sold or bought? - it is believed that a major mindset shift has to be made in order for people to buy insurance. As a complex topic per se, based on research, the team believes insurance will be sold also in the next ten years. The only difference is how the industry can prepare for this. From a business perspective,the customer segments will change to remote workers and companies who offer this option; for both of them, acquiring customers will be based on agents or using databases of employees to sell and upsell insurance, or offering composite insurances to customers of the company. New channels of reaching these customers must be in place, from IoT devices or new roles insurance agents might have - as educators and process facilitators. For all, an investment in software capabilities is required, also diverse partnerships, as learning platforms for remote workers reskilling or IoT companies.











For the scenario created the team developed a general strategic advice for the client in order to move forward, followed by advice for each concept. There are two important pillar-decisions that the insurance company can take in order to advance towards a more data-transparent world. Before these, to get started the team is suggesting an exploration of the type of data needed (a) to create prevention (the focus that the insurance currently looking into), meaning what are the measures that they have to take and also (b) to measure the data that is appropriate and feasible to share from the customers point of view.

The two important decision needed to move forward are:

  • creating of data ecosystems and partnerships in order to be able to share and create collaborations;
  • designing a culture of trust through, for example, clear guidelines of how to manage data and also by increasing the number of touchpoints between insurance and customers.


For the remote work insurance service, the first step to take into account would be identifying the first potential customers, by targeting companies that offer remote work for their employees. The two top decisions are implementing standards for data transparency, so guiding principles are in place, and secondly, increase IoT capabilities for remote settings, so an easier monitoring of data can be done.


For the reskilling insurance service, a first step could be detecting those jobs at risk followed by the two bigger decisions to invest in AI to match people to training and create partnerships with educational platforms and other stakeholders like governments and workers organizations.