Mobiliar – a systematic approach to foresight-driven innovation
Mobiliar is the oldest private insurance and pension company in Switzerland, insuring a third of all households and companies in the country. For nearly 200 years, the company has provided Swiss consumers with safety and reliability. The cornerstone of Mobiliar’s long-term success? A relentless focus on the future of the customer and systematic pursuit of innovation.
We spoke to Mobiliar’s Head of Foresight, Maren Kottler, about how she and her team use foresight to build future-proof innovation strategies.
How do you bring foresight and innovation together?
To drive innovation, we’ve performed trend scans for almost a decade. It’s essential in our work to monitor our environment for changes around us. Two years ago, we introduced a trend platform from Itonics to manage insights more effectively.
"Our goal was to be prepared and systematic in our approach to using the power of trend-driven innovation."
In 2020, we wanted to take our innovation activities to the next level. We discussed with the Rohrbeck Heger team how to strengthen foresight-driven innovation at Mobiliar, and they emphasized the power of scenarios to drive future-proof innovation. So, we set about building scenarios with Rohrbeck Heger in our project called Mobi2030+. The greater objective of scenario-building was to align the organization behind a common view on future markets, opportunities, and risks, and to ultimately develop emerging opportunities for our innovation teams to pursue.
What are the benefits of working with trends and scenarios?
Scenarios give us more options from an innovation perspective. We not only generate more opportunities and ideas, but we do so by defining future use cases and understanding future customer needs.
"Rather than observing our peers or new tech-based entrants to our industry, we own our innovation agenda. Fundamentally, now we are creating our own futures. And that feels very empowering."
The process of building scenarios is also a huge organizational learning opportunity. Going through the Scenario Sprint process with Rohrbeck Heger provided a number of ‘aha’ moments. So, we not only developed a common understanding of what key trends we need to watch, but, more importantly, we developed a common understanding of what these trends mean for us at Mobiliar, our industry, and our customers.
The key to success, and part of the benefit of working with Rohrbeck Heger, is the ability to follow a systematic scenario-based approach to discuss complex strategic questions based on trends. With the scenario method, we are able to deal with a large number of trends, risks, strategic challenges, and strategic opportunities, and search for solutions in a more objective and replicable way than before.
What advice would you give to organizations looking to engage with foresight?
Firstly, commit to the foresight and empower a team of passionate, diverse people. Bring in the loud, radical, revolutionary. But also bring in the quiet, conservative, and analytical. Together, step out of the operative box of the day-to-day. Think creatively, keep a broad perspective, and trust what comes out of the process. It is there that you will uncover a wealth of opportunities.
Second, start with foresight today. We’re living in changing times, and the pace of market evolution is dramatically increasing. If you’re not going to step out and think outside of the box and consider opportunities, changes, and risks, you’re definitely going to miss something.
Remember, your future is not guaranteed— the market, with its old and new competitors, will not be kind to you. So, it's up to each organization to look ahead and see what is coming, anticipate this change, and act to create a profitable future.
We met Maren Kottler at our last Future Atelier on April 28, 2021, where she shared her experiences from implementing foresight methods at Die Mobiliar.