Designing Pharmaceutical Excellence with Eli Lilly
A decades-long relationship between IDEO and Eli Lilly that has transformed patients' lives and health outcomes
Since Eli Lilly and IDEO’s first collaboration in 1990, the partnership has redefined the connection between patient, health, and treatment. IDEO and Lilly, along with Eli Lilly’s other design, development, and manufacturing partners, have collaborated on more than 250 projects over the last 25 years. During this time, Lilly not only honed its hallmark engineering-only design talent, but transformed into a human-centered organization with vast and robust in-house innovation capabilities, helping millions of patients in the process of this internal growth.
This focus on driving innovation by maintaining a patient-first mindset can be seen in Eli Lilly’s revolutionary insulin injection pens. During a global research project, a team of IDEO designers and Eli Lilly leaders traveled the world to understand how people with diabetes live with the disease. Their findings led to the design of a series of award-winning insulin injection pens like SAVVIO. The pens are portable, aesthetically pleasing, and discreet, appealing across both medical and personal devices.
One of Lilly and IDEO’s many collaborations, Trulicity, takes the injection pen as personal device one step further: By ensuring consistent dosage volume and delivery time and automating the insertion and retraction of the needle, the auto-injection pen takes the anxiety out of self-administering the required, once-a-week diabetes medication.
Combined with Lilly’s technical design prowess, this human-centered focus allows pens like SAVVIO and Trulicity to seamlessly integrate into patients’ lives and routines, and as a result, make a challenge like diabetes feel more manageable and less prohibitive, cumbersome, and stressful. Through listening and learning about patients’ experiences first-hand, the team completely changed the way many think about their condition and treatment.
In addition to designing products to meet the needs of those with diabetes, IDEO and Lilly have developed innovations in areas oncology, autoimmunity, and men’s health. The results of this collaboration and expansion have won numerous design awards and have produced one of the most substantial bodies of work in the history of IDEO.
Some of the projects include:
The Taltz autoinjector simplifies the self-injection process by seamlessly regulating the dose, depth of needle insertion, and rate of medicine delivery for people with psoriasis.
For most patients, living with severe plaque psoriasis means being your own medical technician—metering the dosage each time, and attaching and removing needles by hand. Taltz gives patients clear visual and auditory feedback throughout the injection process via simple icons, bright colors, translucent material, and clicking sounds. The devices come in both autoinjector and prefilled-syringe form, and are now adapted for Emgality, a preventative monthly migraine treatment.
HumaPen SAVVIO Injection Pen
Key insights guided the design of SAVVIO, including how patients prefer insulin pens that look less like medical objects and more like tangible expressions of the condition and the therapy. The sleek, colorful SAVVIO pen was created to help patients feel comfortable and confident about fitting mealtime injections into their everyday lives.
Designed to be convenient and cutting-edge, the Trulicity injection device for treating type-2 diabetes is part of a category of therapies known as GLP-1 and is taken just once a week with fixed-dose injections. A wide base enables the pen to be held securely against the injection site, and the device automatically regulates the dose and depth of the needle.
IDEO designed reusable HGH injector pens that address young users’ desire for reassurance, trust, and approachability while appealing to their aesthetic tastes.
Refillable Human Growth Hormone Injector
Designed as a more kid-friendly HGH injector, the Refillable Injector uses insights about pediatric adherence to treatment, creating a more integrated, systematic approach to the treatment process.
KwikPen Insulin Pen
Building on the successful experiences with two previous pen designs, KwikPen was designed to be a next-generation prefilled injection insulin pen that minimized size, at only 5.7 inches long, and improved patient ease-of-use.
HumaPen(R) Luxura™ Insulin Pen
HumaPen Luxura combined several innovations into a robust yet elegant pen device that can be carried and used anywhere—an insulin pen solution that improves dose mechanics, dose setting, and injection force.
Designed as a new system for mixing HGH, the Reconstitution Device made the mixing of Lilly’s powder-and-liquid Human Growth Hormone easier and less intimidating for parents and healthcare professionals tasked with mixing the treatment.