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Design-led thinking drives desktop video innovation. While pet insurance promotes the Internet of Things

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24 May 2016

Global Services

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A profile of Stuart Booth, UK Director of Digital at RSA.

Stuart Booth’s got a passion for design. And as UK Director of Digital at RSA, a global insurer with a 300-year heritage, he believes design-led thinking could transform an industry wedded to traditional, off-the-shelf underwriting models.

Stuart heads up digital strategy, which includes looking after web channel performance and fine-tuning the user experience. Yet, unlike some, he’s just not obsessed with new technology.

While many think he’s always up to his neck in complex code, he trained as a psychologist.

More interested in people’s needs and behaviours than the latest smartphone or gaming console, he nonetheless concedes that technology is fundamental to all he does.

“Technology needs to function as an enabler, not an end in itself―blending psychology and technology to solve real-world problems,” explains Stuart.

That inventiveness has had an influence on The Big Upgrade, a digital transformation programme sweeping through RSA, which is underpinned by BT technology.

BT One Cloud platform was chosen for The Big Upgrade using BT Compute power to host Microsoft Outlook, Skype for Business, and SharePoint globally. This is freeing RSA people to do their jobs in imaginatively different ways. Three distinct workstyles―roamers, hoppers and residents―mean they can collaborate globally with customers, partners and each other, wherever they are.

Convinced that similar technologies could apply to the once-dry business of selling insurance, Stuart says: “We need disruptive ideas to meet user needs better. Look at the work we’ve done in pet insurance―using technology to wrap it up into a new consumer proposition.”

RSA offers pet insurance through its subsidiary MORE TH>N. The technology idea is an enticing bonus. An electronic tag, attached to a dog’s collar, feeds information to the owner’s smartphone on the animal’s health and whereabouts.

Attractive to tech-savvy, doting dog owners wanting to keep tabs on their lively hounds, the technology’s part of a package including a 24-hour health hotline and monthly online wellbeing ideas. Its website, Wagglepets, offers five self-explanatory combinations from Trim & Tiny to Gorgeously Giant.

This moves RSA firmly into territory already inhabited by the Internet of Things. Never heard of it? You will. It’s the fact that some eight billion internet-enabled devices now communicate and interact with each other worldwide.

Predicted to grow to a mind-boggling trillion such intelligent objects by 2030, why shouldn’t dogs and their owners be part of it?

Stuart is now dabbling with ways to extend the firm’s front-end appeal by adding dynamic video from BT to customer-facing websites. This, too, will focus strongly on real-life customer needs.

With careful attention to digital design, Stuart thinks it could be another winner for RSA. But maybe not at Crufts.

Find out more by reading our case study on RSA.