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Applying design thinking in the digital transformation of business models: the case of a tech insurance startup

  • The insurance industry in Germany has been dominated by a commission-based sales model for over seventy years. Intermediaries sell insurance contracts to end customers and are paid a commission depending on the value and type of insurance. This commission-based approach incentivizes salespeople to keep adding new policies to customers in order to make a living, and customers do not get the insurance solutions and advice that suit them the best. A financial services provider has now developed a novel business model that aims to disrupt the insurance industry in Germany. It replaces commission-based insurance with commission-free tariffs and instead includes a flat fee for managing the client's insurance policies. However, the business idea can only be realized profitably if the administrative expense per client is significantly reduced. Due to strict regulations in the insurance industry, many activities within the process are mandatory. The goal of this work is to automate the business process behind the idea through the use of digital technologies and to reduce the workload in order to make the business model profitable. We used design thinking as a mental framework to carry out the digital transformation of the business model in a structured way. As part of this qualitative research, we conducted expert interviews and a document structure analysis to define hurdles for the realization and to develop detailed process maps. We carried out a process workshop, during which we analyzed the process and identified requirements for a digital prototype, which was developed using the low-code framework bubble.io. Through workload time measurements, the impact of digital transformation on the performance of the process was confirmed. Finally, different digital options were compared with each other. The findings of this work support the thesis that design thinking has a positive influence on the success of digital transformation and in particular in the development of solutions tailored to people. This success is underlined by a reduction in workload times by 71,2% for bottleneck activities. The comparison of the various digital options implies that the development of customized digital applications is preferable for unique and complex problems.

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Author:Simon Hirt
Advisor:Kai-Markus Müller
Document Type:Master's Thesis
Year of Completion:2022
Granting Institution:Hochschule Furtwangen
Date of final exam:2022/05/31
Release Date:2022/10/20
Tag:Design thinking; Digital transformation; Innovation management
Page Number:61
Degree Program:IMM - International Management
Functional area:Business Strategy
Open-Access-Status: Closed Access 
Licence (German):License LogoUrheberrechtlich geschützt