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Businesses aiming at connecting instead of selling.

Next Door Cafe is a new coffee shop experience. All State Insurance wanted to find out better ways to connect to customers needs and created a community think tank to find out.

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Written by DeletedUser

I'm building on the Human Library post, because Next Door Cafe is a similar idea.

Not surprisingly this is a creation built in part with the help of IDEO Chicago. All State Insurance wanted to understand the true needs of their customers so they figured why not just ask them. The space then becomes a large, customizable experience where you can write on the walls, use stick notes to leave notes where ever you want as well as rent our conference rooms or the entire space for an event you may want to have.

When you visit you are greeted by All State Coaches, these people are old agents who are now using their knowledge to help guide you when making large decisions with insurance, loans, starting a business, etc. The wonderful part is that they are NOT selling you anything. Everything the coaches offer is 100% free. The model is similar to something like Google that trades free services for you willingly releasing your information. They also provide group classes, and sometimes bring in experts on subjects to lead seminars ranging from crafts to economics.

Personally, I went in and met with an agent named Jessika. She helped me find the resources and path to start my own Graphic Design business. She was thorough, helpful, and went the extra mile to make sure I was understanding what she was teaching and that I didn't have any issues along the way.

On top of the coaches there is a cafe inside that serves delicious Metropolis coffee and an assortment of pastries and sandwiches. Also tons of comfortable couches and space to spread out.

At first it was a little slow going for Next Door, The public thought of it as a gimmick that was suppose to lure them in to buy insurance. I understand the skepticism, it is a bold move for something like an insurance company which is typically perceived as being stale and conservative. But in my experience I was able to move furniture to fit my needs, check out the conference rooms for client meetings and draw everywhere to figure out design solutions.

Next Door Cafe


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Thanks for this.

How can we make EVERY store more collaborative -- even those without large $$ resources (or IDEO's support)?

What do you think the lo-fi version looks like?

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