Helping Novo Nordisk design for diabetes

STBY have recently completed a project with the Danish pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk. We were asked to put a human face to four different types of patients with diabetes, all of whom cope with their disease in very different ways.  The company wanted to present their teams with materials that would guide and inspire development of future products and services, by synthesising and enriching user-research material from several previous studies into one cohesive whole.

In order to achieve this, it was essential that we collaborated very closely with the client team. This began with a collaborative workshop which was designed around the notion of consolidation; Novo Nordisk already had a great deal of research data, but the insights they’d generated were spread over a number of different projects and reports. Working with them to collate and synthesise this material allowed us to identify and elaborate on those insights that could be made more accessible to their designers and engineers.

We did this by developing a series of scripts for twelve design documentary films. Again working closely with the client team, we created a series of videos that vividly illustrated the behavioural insights upon which they were founded. A team made up of STBY and Novo Nordisk researchers travelled to the US to film these videos, which focused on the everyday lives of four people who were all coping with their diabetes in very different ways.

Working with Novo Nordisk’s existing research data had allowed us to prepare scripts for the films that effectively focused upon the insights that typified each persona. This meant that we were able to seamlessly integrate the films with the data generated from the company’s previous studies. Our focus wasn’t on providing vast amounts of new data, but on finding creative ways to make the existing material they had more accessible and ‘alive’ to the engineers and designers who would be using it. The videos were a key part of this, providing an empathic link to the patients at the heart of each persona.

The end-result consisted of a DVD with the films as well as a poster that summarises the results. As these materials are already being picked up and used within Novo Nordisk, they proved to us once again the value of using video to bring real people right into the heart of design processes.