- Reduced the number of steps from up to 15 to 3 » See Cleo’s 3-step advantage
- Created the first all-in-one system: sterile packaging, inserter and needle-safe disposal container
- Hid the needle from sight for ease of mind and perceived pain reduction
- Made the "on-body" part smaller and adjustable on-the-fly to fit any outfit or activity
- Created a discreet non-medical looking product
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Absolute simplicity. Three products in one and only three steps to use.
Most companies do at least some kind of market research before designing or redesigning their products. This research may be informal, such as input from the sales team on what customers want, or formal, quantitative research, often conducted in focus groups or as part of a larger Six Sigma process. Design research is a fundamentally different way of approaching the innovation process.
Design research means Bridge's designers get immersed in the problem by direct and personal contact and observation of the intended user group. Because we are designers we see issues in a fundamentally different way than market researchers. We are much more interested in "What could be" rather than "What has been". We are not looking to have our users design the product for us by listing out the shortcomings of existing products or suggesting incremental improvements. Instead we are experts at finding out what users really want by understanding the context of how they want the product to fit into their lives. This is how Bridge's designers worked with the engineers at Smiths Medical to create this groundbreaking product.
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Although Bridge already had extensive experience in this area, having designed the CoZmo™ insulin pump, it was important to go back out into the field to confirm or disprove existing theories specific to infusion sets this time. The designers, using a special blend of design research techniques, began immersive research by observing and interviewing dozens of insulin pumpers to learn all the details of how they live with their infusion sets. Disposable cameras and journals sent out in advance allowed the participants to document and ponder their daily routines, giving Bridge unique insight into the nuances of their lives, especially in areas that users have a difficult time articulating. Group and one-on-one interviews followed where Bridge designers discussed, in a structured but flexible format, issues that spanned a wide range of topics (some planned and some serendipitous): education, installation frustrations, pain, infection, scar tissue, fat, clothing, sex, swimming, insurance, general hopes and desires. After several days of videotaped interviews, it became clear that although users can't design their own infusion sets, they do know what they want. They want fast, simple, and foolproof insertion and long-wearing comfort all in a compact design.
Through years of experience we have observed that better briefed teams are much more innovative, contrary to popular belief that the best ideas will come from people who are unclouded by existing practice. Bridge hosted a briefing session based on our user research, helping Smiths understand and rank customer requirements until the whole team had a deep feel for what users really wanted and needed. The project team (which included people representing an assortment of ranks and roles from both Bridge and Smiths) brainstormed in a series of short "mini-brainstorm" sessions over 2 days. Each mini-brainstorm was structured around a particular question centered on an essential customer desire; ie "How can we reduce & speed steps in the insertion process?"
Hundreds of brainstorm ideas, from silly to sublime, were documented, ranked for potential, and sorted by Bridge. With more interpretation, thought, and sketching, Bridge designers generated a set of about a half-dozen possible product concepts synthesizing the best of the brainstorm ideas. After a presentation of each concept and discussions about its particular goals, strong points and failings, inherent issues and possible solutions, the team selected the top ideas for further development. The all-in-one set was a clear winner, and happily dovetailed well with an integral inserter tool already underway in Smiths' engineering department.
As Smiths engineered Cleo's mechanism and detailed parts for production, Bridge provided design guidance to be sure "softer" user needs were represented in every detail of the design. We helped refine the fastener that locks the infusion set onto the cannula, keeping in mind that people with diabetes may well have impaired manual dexterity. We suggested and detailed the knurled texture of the product's triple-duty sterile packaging/inserter tool/needle-safe container so that it provided a good grippy surface and conveyed a soft drink level of disposability -"twist me open and throw me away". And we guided the overall look of the product, which had to a walk a line between trust-inspiring solidity and guilt-free disposability - with flair and consumer appeal that never announces its user has a medical condition.