Dynamic Techno Medicals has been working in the manufacturing and sale of medical equipment over the past 3 decades. And in the constant effort to cut costs and meet competition, their products have not seen any innovation over the years. But the management now has a vision to not just lead the market in terms of pricing, but also in terms of the novelty of the product itself. To achieve this, they decided to try the Design Thinking process through a two-day workshop, for a mixed team of designers, production managers, engineers as well as business heads.
TinkerLabs approach: Design for the user, not the problem
How do you challenge a standard product design that has existed (and apparently worked well) for decades? That was the dilemma DTML had been facing while trying to become an innovation-driven medical devices company. To address this, TinkerLabs introduced Creative Problem Solving around the central pillar of User Personas: Design the product for the user, not just the medical problem.
The idea was simple: In the process of trying to innovate, when backed against the wall of age-old technically sound product designs, change your tools to break it! In simpler words, question the usability from the perspective of the patient. Understand whether they like using the product, what problems they face, and what do they expect - and alter the value of the design for these needs. TinkerLabs used this concept to design the complete workshop content and experience.
What happened on ground:
Before launching a product reimagination workshop, it was important to understand the products in question. TinkerLabs conducted secondary research to understand existing product modifications around the world, and also spoke to medical experts and professionals to better understand the context and constraints around these products and devices. Based on the information gathered, we developed a customized empathizing, brainstorming and ideation plan for this group of participants.
The workshop began with breaking down the product components and current value; and talking to existing users to better understand their expectations and needs. The participants engaged with different stakeholder groups, ranging from working professionals with desk jobs, homemakers, auto-drivers, security guards, patients recovering from accidents, or undergoing physiotherapy for chronic ailments, carers, and even medical professionals. Each type of a user had their own unique set of challenges and perspectives about the products in question. Each perspective was taken up as a separate Point of View statement by a team within the group, and solutions were generated through creative brainstorming, ideation, and rapid prototyping over the course of the 2 days.
The workshop days saw enthusiastic participation by the entire group. Since all the workshop tools, means and methods, were designed specifically around new product development, the relatability with the context was extremely high. The session ended with solutions being presented and developed right then by inputs from the production team, R&D as well as the CEO present in the workshop.
What did we achieve:
The two longest running products of DTML saw complete revamp in the two days.
By coming up with revised designs for the Dyna Soft Collar (neck brace) as well as the Dyna Cock-Up Splint (wrist splint), keeping specific user groups in mind, the teams realized the importance of user-centricity in product design, and how a simple perspective switch can bring radical product innovation.
Highlight of the project:
Having no knowledge of the vernacular language of the participants (Malayalam), the facilitators became mere spectators during the definition and brainstorming stages, but the excitement and engagement of the participants did not need much anyway! The solutions flowed brilliantly, just through the workshop design.