Munich Re

How can Human Centered Design support innovation in the biggest reinsurance company in the world?

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The impact

We trained +700 participants, held +20 Basic Design Thinking Workshops, did 10 Moderator Trainings, experienced 9 Startups Expeditions and all of this happend in 8 different countries.

With over 40.000 employees, a revenue of €50,4bn and a total profit of €3.1bn just in 2015, the Munich Re Group provides a huge impact on safeguarding the world. Founded in 1880, with its headquarters in Munich, Munich Re is a global insurance provider with a vast history and a well established reputation.

A company of such immensity deals with a great number of complex challenges on a daily basis, which makes creating a space for innovation within the company a challenge.
To help them tackle this challenge, Munich RE contracted J2C in early 2015. The transformative process began with two short-term Design Thinking Trainings and has led to a long-term partnership

The initial challenge

Becoming more innovative

Munich Re asked J2C to develop a transformation strategy for its internal corporate structure, with the aim of becoming more innovative. In order to enable this, many work structures had to be modified to make room for creativity and the courage to pursue new approaches. Our challenge was to understand the individual needs of Munich Re in their context in order to establish an innovation landscape that would fit their needs. From then on we supported the process of assisting Munich Re in becoming an entrepreneurial organisation.

The approach

Effective tools for a company on their journey in becoming an innovative organisation

We have worked on a variety of programs ranging from single-day inputs to long term projects lasting up to 6 months. Among other formats here we present a short overview.

•Basic Design Thinking Training: Introducing and teaching Human Centered Design on all levels of the organisation. From CEO and Board Members to Executives and Employees
•Moderators Training: Training Munich Re employees to become Design Thinking moderators, enabling them to facilitate workshops internally as well as with clients externally.
•Entrepreneurial Leadership: Training leaders to become facilitators of change with the aim of unleashing creative potential throughout the organisation.
•Project Management: Accompanying and accelerating internal innovation projects
•Fast prototyping: Learning the special skills for bringing the ideas to life
•Fast Business Modelling: Innovating Business Models supported to run projects for fast development of client-oriented products and services.
•Innovation Expedition: Discovery trips and Startup Expeditions to kick start and inspire a mindset change all over the world – from Silicon Valley to Berlin.

A glimpse into the work

The transformation requirements

How can a large company become more innovative

To become more innovative as an organisation, it’s indispensable to constantly foster an environment that inspires, cares for and respects the inner entrepreneur. This doesn’t happen by the flick of a switch. Transformation requires a long haul and needs to be implemented on all levels of a company. In a long-established working culture, transformation requires a holistic overview and strategy on multiple levels. It’s about removing oneself from being process oriented to becoming customer, purpose and value driven.
By becoming better at fine-tuning products and services to meet the client’s needs the organisation seeks out its position to stay relevant in a fast changing world of business.

The willingness

Transformation needs time

In order for the impact of our cooperation with Munich Re to be fully effective, J2C – as an external partner – outlined each step of the way as profoundly as possible. This implies a deep understanding of not only the company, its structure, employees and culture but also a detailed understanding of the market surroundings of the industry in which it operates. There is no single golden way. Each company is different in its culture, structure and mindset. The challenge lies in balancing day-to-day tasks to sustain current business while being able to implement transformative processes that also need time and attention. The basis of all success is the willingness of all employees – from board down – to take on the challenge of innovation at its most serious level and step out of the comfort zone - accepting that changing can be an uncomfortable process. Learning and experimenting with new ways of working will at times be time consuming and will challenge daily routines. Munich Re has shown a great amount of willingness to do so. It is an honour working with them as our partner.

If you are interested in getting a deeper understanding of what we did and how we worked together with Munich Re get in contact with one of our coaches.

The coaches