Perspectives From American Family: Tales From the Road Less Traveled

Editor's note:American Family Insurance held a webinar on December 15, 2021 focusing on customer research.

The customer research and development tactics of startups and corporate accelerators provide opportunities for research novices and veterans alike to become uncomfortably intimate with the people whose problems we’re out to solve. In the sea of ambiguity that defines the creation of new value we must navigate an archipelago of baseless assumptions and behavioral mysteries, all the while with an eye on the dwindling sand of time and money in our hourglass. 

In our brief time together, I’ll share three stories of customer discovery and design at the most granular level – where surprising insights were formulated in days, then tested behaviorally with prototype solutions in hours. 

As you listen to the stories, consider how a startup mind-set could help to reframe how you approach the kinds of research questions you are asked to answer, specifically:

  • Falling in love with problems and following them into uncharted waters.
  • Fast, lower fidelity tactics that can uncover signals to justify higher fidelity work toward statistical significance.
  • Testing assumptions behaviorally to uncover say-do gaps.


Bill Murray, Startup mentor/Innovation catalyst, American Family Insurance