Heroic Hackathon Designer
UX Design UI Design Rapid Prototyping
I took part in a 24-hour hackathon sponsored by the Lufthansa Innovation Lab in Berlin. Our mission was to come up with an innovative new way of tackling the broken claims management system in the airline industry.
The Lufthansa team was so impressed by our concept that they approached me and the MING Labs team to jointly develop a solution based on our prototype. Phase 1 is currently under development.
For decades, claims management in the airline industry has been a sorely neglected ugly duckling. For customers wanting to give feedback or make claims for lost baggage, damaged items, or delayed flights, the process is downright painful. In the words of Lufthansa's own Innovation Hub brief...
"Transportation providers do their best to hide feedback forms on their websites, employees are not empowered to make pay-out decisions without detailed research, and customers are unsure of the worth of their claim."
For airlines, claims are a source of massive overheads: entire organizations are devoted to claim handling and external service providers are hired to process and handle claims. Hence claim management is not only quite costly for an airline, but inherently leads to customer pain. Lufthansa's question to us was thus a simple one: how can new technologies and digital innovation change this to benefit both parties involved?
On the Runway
Imagine walking into a room filled with designes, coders, business analysts, and product managers, being handed a problem statement and the programming tools to potentially "make something happen", and then being given 24 hours to split up into teams and then spring forth a working masterpiece unto the world. This is a hackahton - feverish, fun, and insanely rewarding.
Working with the eternally-brilliant Jeroen Jonkers, my colleague and Project Manager at MING Labs, we spent the first 6 hours ideating, scribbling, brainstorming, and and accosting unsuspecting user research participants to eventually land at a rough early concept that we could be proud of. Then, it was down to me to lay out and decide the details of the entire end-to-end flow, interface elements, content, and underlying experience principles. Each and every resultant screen was a labour of thoughtful, considered love, and 18 sleepless hours later we had our prototype - polished, test-run, and ready to present to the world.
With increased awareness of claims policies and individual rights, and the emergence of companies like AirHelp acting as third party defenders of jilted travellers, airlines are seeing a power-shift when it comes to the handling of the inevitable irregularities that go hand-in-hand with air travel.
We saw this as an amazing opportunity for Lufthansa to take positive ownership and develop new transparency mechanisms, in turn cutting their total cost of claims and dramatically enhancing the experience of their customers.
Taking advantage of major trends like constant connectivity, mobility, the Internet of Things, and the sharing economy, our reimagined travel companion sets out to make flight delays, cancellations and lost baggage a seamless, stress-free experience for every air traveller. Check out the interactive prototype below:
A Smooth Landing
Lufthansa were thoroughly impressed by our concept and prototype, and upproached us to work on their 'Linea' project to help bring our visionary experience into the real world. This kicked off an exciting new partnership between our studio, MING Labs, and the nation's largest airline.