Co-creation: How to involve the end-user as an innovation partner in pharma

Co-creation is about involving end-users and relevant stakeholders in your company’s ideation phase of new digital solutions. With co-creation, the participants are made aware that they can contribute towards the development of ideas and concepts. Therefore, it is a recommendable way to ensure anchoring and creating actual value to real users articulated needs.

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In Daman, co-creation is key to our digital concept development. RheumaBuddy is an example of what co-creation can lead to: RheumaBuddy is an app for young people with rheumatoid arthritis that helps them in a user-friendly way to register the variations in their disease between visits at the rheumatologist. Combining a personal tracking/diary with a community of peers that can help on a bad day has proven to create value for young people with RA.

Our approach

As a first step towards building a digital solution within RA, we started out being curious of how it is to be young and having to cope with RA. To get wiser on this we invited a bunch of young people to a co-creation day. We guided them through some brainstorm sessions focusing on what could make a difference for them in real life – their actual user needs and pain points. Mapping needs and challenges led them through an ideation phase focusing on ideas and concepts that could create value for them in everyday life coping with RA.

Happily, we came back to our office at Daman loaded with posters with post-its, drawings and ideas – the initial steps for creating a user-centric solution was made and the co-creation day had given us valuable insights into how it is being young with RA. The creative posters was good content for us to work further on in a conceptualization phase. The concept was turned into sketches and wireframes. To ensure validation from other relevant stakeholders such as rheumatologists and the patient association FNUG, they were involved closely in the process. This actually continued throughout the entire process: We had many iterations of user feedback as the app was developed, and this continued with release 1.1 and release 2.0+.

So what is the outcome?

Today we have a patient-centric app that has been very positively received amongst young people with RA. The overall goal has been to create an everyday tool for the young people to get insight in how their treatment works and use it as a concrete anchor point for valuable dialogues with their rheumatologist and so far the end-users has defined it as ‘the tool they have longed for’. Some patients have even stated, that they been given a different diagnose based on the use of the app.

Our toolbox: The methods used during co-creation

Recently Daman facilitated a co-creation day with 15 young people with psoriasis at the age of 15-30 years. The focus of the day was to guide them through a series of brainstorm sessions in order to create the most valuable and meaningful concepts for them in the future, dealing with their disease.

Some of the methods we used was defining their empowerment vision, developing an empathy map and using the method 3-12-3 brainstorm to prioritize and expand their ideas. We ended up with four inspiring concepts that can help make a difference for young people with psoriasis.

Here is a picture of the productive moments from a fun and inspiring day.

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We are still in the early days of the co-creation process on the project about psoriasis so we are excited to see where the journey will bring us.

The process of knowledge capture

One thing that is for sure is that co-creation not only helps your digital service partner to get a lot of inspiration and ideas for possible digital concepts – it also provides you and your team with valuable insights about your end-user. On that note, it develops an anchor point in creating actual value and engagement from relevant stakeholders in the longer run.

Co-creation is the key to user-centric innovation.  So why not get the best out of your design process – involve the user – and co-create.

User Experience Specialist, Nadia Lauridsen

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