‘ideas lab’ highlights vast potential of social media in co-creation of products and services.

Experience design and consumer research agency Foolproof has revealed details of its work with Direct Line on ‘ideas lab’, a pioneering user insights programme which represents a breakthrough in the way research is conducted on social networks.

The first ideas lab initiative saw Facebook users collaborate in the design of an iPhone motor insurance app. The quality and depth of insight - and exceptionally high engagement levels - proved revelatory.

The programme caught the attention of Facebook’s management who saw an innovation with the potential to influence profoundly the global financial services industry’s social media perspective. It is the only market research case study showcased on Facebook’s worldwide hub - and just their third-ever UK case study across all categories.

The project had two unique aspects. Firstly in its use of Facebook Advertising – leveraging Techlightenment’s market-leading Alchemy ad targeting platform to drive a balanced research sample for the project; and secondly in that all aspects of the fieldwork were conducted within the Facebook platform.

Richard Bassinder, Innovation Manager, RBS Insurance commented: “The real beauty of Facebook is that you get multiple business benefits: development of your product by the community plus the opportunity for users to share information for further campaigns and development.”

Tom Wood, Managing Partner of Foolproof said: “Direct Line’s ideas lab project is one of the most exciting pieces of work we’ve ever been involved in. Over 300 Facebook members participated in the study and we were delighted with both the quantity and quality of participation.”

The new version of Direct Line’s On the Road app is now live on the Apple App Store. The new user experience reflects many of the findings taken from the project.

The project has been shortlisted in the MRS Research Awards 2010 (Financial Services category).

Published on: 12:25PM on 10th November 2010