The goal:

Allianz’s goal is to continue to shift customers from traditional to investment (unit-linked) based life insurance products.

However, Allianz’s sales and post-sale have not caught up to this shift leaving the advisor and customer experience lagging behind leading fintech and insurtech companies.

Currently, Allianz does not offer advisors with sufficient digital tools to help sell investment-based life insurance products and has limited digital tools for customers to manage their portfolios and to remain in touch with Allianz after the sale.

HMW questions:

  1. HMW empower and educate sales agents?
  2. HMW help customers manage this type of investment based products?

The team

Frog co-located in the Munich office of Allianz called the Global Digital Factory to help Allianz accomplish their goals. The team existed out of:

CD Interaction Design
CD Design Research
Principle Solution Architect
Principal Interaction Designer
Senior Design Research
Visual Designer (me)
Intern Interaction Designer
Intern Visual Designer

Apart from the frog team, there were around 20 Allianz employees from 5 different countries that we as frog had to incorporate in the design sprint. This was not only to help us gain a lot of insights into these very complicated and requirement heavy products but it would also help Allianz to create advocates of the design process after this project was done. This meant that we also had to incorporate a learning track into the program to inform and teach all the Allianz participants on what we’re doing and why we are doing it.


The project lasted 2 months and was executed in Germany. the project plan looked like this:

Frog team

The frog team (on my birthday :D)

allianz projectplan

My responsibility

In the first four weeks of the project, my main task was to support the Design Researchers who took lead in this immersion and research phase.

I had to create a ton of workshop materials design stimuli and I documented by taking the role as a photographer. Since we were often split up in smaller groups to do certain exercises like ideation sketching or gathering of feature requirements; I had to lead smaller groups through several exercises countless times. We flew to Milano, Bratislava, and Paris to interview sales agents and customers to perform field research. I was part of the team that went to Paris where I had to help out by creating workshop material, do note taking and document through photography. The design researchers defined the strategy for design research. It was a great learning experience for me to be collaborating with them throughout the early stages of the design process.

During the prototyping phase, my responsibility increased and I had to make sure that the Allianz guidelines were strictly followed in the three main prototypes we had set to build and test. These were built in close collaboration with the other frog designers, Allianz product stakeholders, and internal Allianz designers.

During the validation phase, we returned to the same locations and I flew to Bratislava (on my own this time) to execute on user testing using the prototypes we’ve built. The rest of the frog team was dialed in over the phone and did note taking from Munich. 

I decided to make this a picture based case study… enjoy 

Alignment & Immersion

Kick-off day. Getting to know the full team, defining team norms and alignment on the long term goal and success criteria. We also dove into some hypothesis generation to help align expectations. 

kick-off alignment
team norms
hypothesis generation

Creating an ecosystem map & Customer journey for the client & agent

ecosystem mapping
ecosystem map outcome
customer journey mapping
customer-journey map

Explain the Allianz team the purpose of research and how we are planning to approach it. The rest of the day we used to create a research plan, Interview guide and preparing design stimuli. Translating everything into Italian, Slovak & French. Yay!

time timer
explaining stakeholder interviews
preparing interview guide

Field Research

Flying frogs and Allianz team members out to perform field research in Italy, Slovakia & France.

Both sales agents and clients are walked through a script of questions to get a better understanding of how they sell (agents) or buy and maintain (clients) life insurances. We also get a general feel on how comfortable they are with the stock market

dr paris
dr milano

We walk them through the prepared user journey. This way we plot out pain points, emotions and general takeaways from both parties. More team members are sitting behind a one-way mirror with a translator. Observing and taking notes. 

user journey mapping
dr note taking

Sense making

After flying back to Munich we started to gather all the data. We did a lot of clustering exercises, try to prioritize and spot trends. We also started to consolidate all the insights on the user journey. 

sensemaking 1
sensemaking 2
sensemaking 3
user journey

Out of all this information came 6 archetypes. 4 related to the clients and 2 related to agents. Also, 12 opportunity areas were identified. 

archetype example
opportunity areas

Ideation & Concept Creation

Individual solution sketching! We set scope by asking everybody to take 1 archetype and 1 opportunity area and have in mind where in the journey the concept fits. This way we take our research into account while going into the ideation phase. 


Clustering/combining concepts. We plotted them back on the user journey. We did a voting session to prioritize the concepts. After the voting session, we created a 2×2 based on effort & Impact to help us prioritize the concepts

concept plotting


Starting off we had to collect as many functional requirements as we could. We collected a lot during the interviews but also the on sight Allianz team was able to give us a lot of insights. Based on these requirements we started to create a storyboard for the prototypes 

collecting requirements

The next step was to create wires and Visual Design based on the Allianz design language. We had a few check-ins with Allianz designers to understand if we’re staying within the guidelines. The requirements and storyboards helped us to be focused while creating detailed prototypes. We build out the prototypes in Invision through linked Sketch files.

sketch file
myInvest art

Validating & Refinement

Flying back to Italy France and Slovakia to validate our designs with the agents and customers we interviewed during the design research. Most of the team was sitting in Munich, dialed in remotely. There was a translator in the room so the entire team can take notes. 

bratislava test

synthesize the feedback to understand what worked and what didn’t. After this, there was one more round of iteration to improve the concepts.

outcomes 2

Final Share-out with key stakeholders

After a round of iteration, we had a share-out with key stakeholders from Italy, Slovakia, and France. We showed them what we’ve done, how we’ve done it and why we’ve done it. The goal of this share-out was to get buy-in from the countries because they had to invest their own budget to blow life into these concepts.

One of the concepts eventually got adopted by the Italian market and is at the moment being sold by intermediaries. 

final presentation

Lessons learned

I learned a lot from the close collaboration with very senior design researchers and interaction designers. It got me deeply involved in user research. Helping them out with setting up a research plan, interview guide, and design stimuli.

It was very valuable to return to the users we initially talked to with prototypes we’ve designed based on things they’ve told us. They get the feeling they are really being listened to and therefore you get very honest feedback.

Being integrated with the client helped us to understand the very complex financial products relatively quick. There is an insane amount of requirements attached to the products we had to design. Not just on a product level but also on a country level. Having the clients on sight helped us to move fast through this complex landscape.

Integrating 30 people into the design process is very intense. It is difficult to keep a full group focussed at all times. It requires a lot of repeating to keep all the noses in the same direction. I would have preferred to schedule sessions with most of the Allianz folk to get the right information out of them when we need it and keep more time for heads down design work. Though the entire education track has also been an incredible learning experience for me. I got to teach and I learned an unbelievable amount of information from my fellow colleagues. 

happy team