The collaboration with SAS started in 2002, with the ultimate goal of showing senior management how innovation and design can increase profitability and strengthen the SAS brand. We helped SAS set up a cross-functional, multi-disciplinary innovation team that could conduct market research, build scenarios, generate ideas and prototype concepts.
One of the first areas the new innovation team zoomed in on was the check-in process for business travelers. They identified several opportunities to improve the user’s experience. By challenging existing conventions, regulations and systems, the team integrated and streamlined the processes for check-in and security screening. They even designed a special self-service check-in kiosk. To gain management buy-in, the team brought their ideas to life using personas, storyboards, short films, sketches and renderings. And to evaluate, they calculated potential ROI through computer simulations and cost-benefit analyses.
Real-life tests in selected airports proved that the redesigned check-in process did indeed lead to considerable cost savings for SAS and substantial time savings for business travelers. Spurred by this success, the innovation team moved on to explore novel approaches to other areas such as competitor benchmarking, user research, and in-flight services.