Human-Centred Design in Biopharma

Need of the hour

Prasanthi Sadhu,

If we hope to create something of lasting value, we need to start with what people want — not just with what’s technically possible! IDEO, a global design firm.

Innovation and technology advancements play a key role in product design and development, but it is imperative that companies bring in a human-centred approach. The advent of new technologies such as virtual reality, augmented reality, digital assistant etc. throws light on integrating those into human lives for better application and experience. Think of a Fit-bit–it tracks one’s physical activity, sleep and throws inputs on areas of improvement thus helping an individual stay physically active. Human Centred-Design (HCD) is a methodology that focuses on the people that you serve and places them at the center of design and implementation. HCD combines research and insights with business and technology requirements to produce the best output. It is indeed more relevant for the life sciences and healthcare sectors as the onus is on producing effective drugs and care.

From the pharma industry perspective, design thinking could be using design to come up with ideas to effective connect with and offer care to patient. A study conducted by the Drug Information Association (DIA) in collaboration with the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development (CSDD) indicates more than 65 per cent of pharma and biotech companies are inclined to invest in drug development through patient centric initiatives. As the demand for patient-centred drug development and service continues to rise, a human centred approach could be the differentiator for companies in the market. Design thinking enables organisations to bring-in cross-departmental innovation, deliver value-added solutions and unleash market opportunities. HCD brings together company leadership both strategic and operational, stakeholders that work in a collaborative environment with uniform goals and unified approach to solutions. This process includes defining roles and responsibilities for all those involved.

By integrating human-centred research, the molecular development process benefts from parallel human-centred research throughout the discovery and development phase. This also helps in increasing the productivity by choosing the most useful potential medicines among many alternatives and help articulate real value to users for a given medicine. By supporting human-centred research, R&D organisations can signifcantly augment their tools for guiding personalised medicine and create robust portfolios of products that users strongly value.

In the cover story of this issue, authors Andrew Parsonsand Susan Cruse suggest that a human-centred experiential learning process to develop leaders, managers, and employees is quintessential for success. Paying attention to the ‘human’ will enable development of solutions for addressing leadership challenges.

--Issue 29--

Author Bio

Prasanthi Sadhu

Editor, Pharma Focus Asia

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