Application of the Design Thinking Approach for Process Redesign at an Insurance Company in Brazil

José Ricardo Cereja, Flavia Maria Santoro, Elena Gorbacheva, Martin Matzner

Situation faced: During the review of an information system for medical material purchasing at a Brazilian insurance company, it became clear that part of the process supported by this system was done informally and there was no consensus among the employees about some of the related fundamental concepts and procedures.

Action taken: A consulting firm hired by the insurance company to find a solution to these challenges proposed to use the Design Thinking approach to process redesign, by aligning the Design Thinking stages with the phases of the Business Process Management (BPM) lifecycle. A series of workshops that applied various Design Thinking tools was conducted with representatives from all of the company’s departments that deal with the purchasing process, as well as a team of information technology (IT) professionals.

Results achieved: The Design Thinking approach facilitated the following outcomes: (1) formalization of the employees’ perceptions regarding the existing purchasing process, (2) design of a to-be process for material purchasing, which was approved by all stakeholders, and (3) formalization of requirements for the new information system for managing the material-purchasing process.

Lessons learned: The case demonstrated the value of applying the Design Thinking approach to process redesign and improvement, adding useful instruments for BPM analysis. The BPM lifecycle phases correspond well with the Design Thinking stages, and Design Thinking techniques match BPM’s social-construction viewpoint well.

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