Guest blog: Design Sprint - taking Intrumhack’s winning ideas forward
As the new year unfolds, it is a great time to summarize learnings from the previous one. Last year, we at Intrum started a journey towards something new with our first external hackathon organized in collaboration with Tieto, IBM and Nordic Finance Innovation.
The aim was to hack for financial well-being, and see how we could help our customers with their personal finances. It opened our eyes to many outdated assumptions we had about ourselves and our customers, but also to many inside-out thinking patterns we had ended up with without noticing it.
In the Nordics, collection and credit management industry is quite mature and is in many cases stuck with "this is what we have always done" thinking. This year we launched Intrumhack to challenge these views and to open up for outside views and new ideas. As the project lead, I could see how my colleagues at times struggled with opening up. But once everyone got started it became easier and easier. It helped that most of the participating teams were young and didn't have any preconceived ideas on what we do in collection and how the business models work. It was very refreshing and inspiring to all of us, from the developers and data scientist to the directors involved. To learn more about the hackathon and the winning ideas go to Intrumhack webpage or check out the video summary of the intensive two days of learning and innovating.
After the ideation and concepting in the hackathon, we took a natural step forward by continuing the work with the winning idea and arranged a design sprint. We had done separate ideation, prototyping and customer testing before, but this was our opportunity to try it all out for the first time in one intensive and strictly facilitated week. For us, doing the design sprint was also a step towards a more customer-focused way of working. The winning idea from the hackathon was quite a perfect fit to that ambition, as it was a concept based on understanding how collection affects people and what we could do to relieve some of possible anxiety.
The design sprint was a great experience of co-creation with our team and with our customers. The days were long but engaging and productive. We had developers, business development people and customer advisors participating. Some of us were quite familiar with the methods used, but for some it was a real change of pace. It was interesting to see how the dynamics in the group worked and how even the more pessimistic people were swept away in the discussions. On the first 3 days, we felt like we could have gone on the whole evening with mapping the goals, sketching the possibilities and sharing and deciding which ideas would support our goals best. At the end of the week, everyone felt like they had given their all and were ready to head home with their heads full of new ideas and possibilities.
The most important takeaway from the whole process was, besides the obvious ideas and concepts, seeing ourselves, our company and our industry from outside in and opening up to actually receiving these external views and using new methods in moving them forward.
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