Smart roadside assistance


ANWB: creating the future of breakdown

And how we co-created smart roadside assistance with our childhood heroes.

Imagine having a little Wegenwacht angel watching over your shoulder every time you drive your car: warning of potential breakdowns, advising on how to take better care of your vehicle, and explaining what that little warning light means that has been illuminating on your dashboard for months. Well, from October 1st this has become reality. ANWB smart driver is live.

Smart mobility

In early 2019, in a small mixed ANWB and Deloitte team, sponsored by Bas Jansen (Head of ANWB connected car) and Erna Kuiper (Director of Consumer Market, Assistance and Mobility), we explored how ANWB could maintain relevance to their members in the age of smart mobility.

1,5 years later, I reconnected with Bas Jansen to talk about their journey so far and how he looks back on the co-creative process we went through together in the spring of 2019. We reflected on a couple of takeaways from our (partially) joint creative journey.

Customer-centered, but with employees at the heart. Especially if they’re national heroes.

In just 10 weeks we smashed through a high paced, customer-centered and creative process. Moving from member’s (ANWB is officially an association) needs and values, through different ideas and concepts, to how the new service could feel, work, make money, go to market and, above all, make Dutch roads safer for everyone. All this in continuous co-creation with ANWB experts and stakeholders, members and non-members, and our childhood heroes – the men and women of De Wegenwacht, the Dutch roadside assistance.

We asked them if and how data could make their jobs better, and they told us stories and anecdotes of what it means to be Wegenwacht. Taking care not only of your car, but especially the people in it. Honestly, I have rarely encountered a group of people so passionate about their jobs and proud of their history. That’s why we decided they should be at the heart
of it all.

“Doing this together with de Wegenwacht has proven to be a winning strategy.”

Co-creation leads to not only a relevant product, but also enthusiasm and buy-in from stakeholders.

At the beginning of the project, we carefully planned the involvement of different stakeholders throughout our design process; depending on area of expertise, influence on decision making and availability. We tried to quickly answer questions like, “who do we need to involve in which decisions?” “What expertise do we need at what stage in our process?” And “who are we co-creating with, when?”

“The way we involved the board of directors in our way of working helped build enthusiasm for the next steps.”

Additionally, we made ourselves as accessible as possible. In the pre-COVID days, we could easily host them in our space, always equipped with chocolate and car-shaped liquorice (autodrop). In our very own project war room we would talk them through what we had been doing. Our most important outputs were always up on the wall. Anyone could drop by at any moment, be led through our process and give us feedback on anything.

Build a small dedicated team that can move fast.

We worked in a small, dedicated team. This team would drive daily activities like customer research and co-creation, insight generation, prototyping and testing. A diverse mix of people with commercial, creative and technical expertise driving daily activities. Half ANWB, half Deloitte.

After my Deloitte colleagues and I left, the same formula was used for the build-team. Again, a small dedicated team drove the implementation and construction of our ideas. Again, multidisciplinary. Focused, fast-paced and lean.

“It was not easy freeing up a dedicated team, but it paid off. This lean, start-up way of working has become an example within ANWB.”

A phased, step-by-step approach to innovation allows you to build confidence in your ideas.

Working in short missions towards a decision or a release allows us not only to keep up the pace, but also to gradually build trust in your ideas; focusing always on the most important hypotheses to test and taking them on one-by-one, step-by-step. This is the approach we used together in the early stages of the project, and the approach that has been taken further by the Smart Driver development team in their go-to-market. They released an alfa-version in February 2020 to a limited number of members for free to gather initial user feedback on the different functionalities and services. A Beta version followed in July to see how many of those members would actually start paying for it. And now, it’s finally time for the big market launch!

We wish our friends at ANWB all the best with this big milestone, and we will always keep cheering whenever they show up in those cool yellow vehicles.

Did you find this useful?