John Hancock


The objective of the Lab of Forward Thinking (LOFT) is to create an environment where John Hancock and Manulife teams can discover and incubate new ideas, collaborate in a start-up like manner, and implement these ideas throughout the company. They do so through strategic partnerships, research and development initiatives as well as design thinking workshops and hackathons. 

CHALLENGE | As part of Startup Institute's partnership with The LOFT we were tasked with building a digital toolbox to help John Hancock and Manulife employees promote innovation in their day-to-day work.

SOLUTION | We created a medium-fidelity mockup of an online learning resource. 

TIMEFRAME | 6 Week Project

TEAM | 4 members

ROLE | UX Designer

SCOPE | Competitive Analysis, Personas, User Interviews, User Testing, Wireframing


Our team used design thinking methodology to analyze the project and determined that before we built anything, we needed to talk to John Hancock' employees to understand what their needs and attitudes were towards innovation, learning methodologies and online resources. We hypothesized that early adopters or people who have already have had an interaction with the LOFT would be the audience to build this resource for and they would be the megaphone for spreading innovation and getting others to come to the site. 


I conducted user interviews with these early adopters to better understand their attitudes towards innovation, learning methods, media and technology. This feedback informed our personas and prototypes to follow. 

Academic Alexa

The research showed that people liked to learn new methods through video, podcast and learning. We focused on creating an interactive website where people could learn, see how fellow employees were solving problems using design thinking and connect with The Loft. Below are some early wireframes.



We created an initial site to test with our users. 


After testing the site with our early adopters, these were the key findings.

  • Vault was a confusing name
  • People wanted a list of topics rather than a path to follow
  • Curated content was important 
  • People wanted to know when to use specific tools


Based on this feedback we made the following changes.


The key lesson for us was that one size did not fit all. A truly useful and compelling digital resource for innovation needed to be targeted towards executives and managers. Our interviews and user testing were only conducted with people who had already heard of the LOFT, and attended one of their workshops. Moving forward, more research would need to be conducted with managers in order to understand how to craft an online toolkit that best met their needs for innovation implementation on their teams.