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Since the time Eli Lilly and IDEO first collaborated in 1990, the partnership has redefined the relationship between patient, health, and treatment. IDEO and Lilly, along with Lilly’s other design, development, and manufacturing partners, have collaborated on more than 250 projects over the last 25 years, taking them from groundbreaking engineering-only design to their evolution as a full-fledged human-centered organization, helping millions of patients in the process.

Communication and consistency have been key in maintaining the long-term nature of their partnership. In fact, the relationship has evolved to be more like partners working together than a client and consultant. This not only informs the large-scale projects, but also the smallest details. “We have this kind of consistency, where they feel they can just pick up the phone and say, Can you help us?” said IDEO Design Director Dirk Ahlgrim. “They know we will challenge them, maybe do even more than they asked us to do, because we are more like partners.”

This heightened level of communication led to a global research project in which a team of IDEO designers traveled the world to understand how people with diabetes lived with the disease. The results of their findings led to the design of a series of award-winning insulin injection pens like SAVVIO. The new injection pens were personalized to the patient, and crossed over from medical devices to personal devices, completely changing the way patients thought about their condition and their treatment.

Lilly and IDEO’s latest collaboration, 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 cutting-edge auto-injection pen has taken the anxiety out of self-administering the much needed, once-a-week diabetes medication.

Over the span of many years, IDEO and Lilly have added life-changing products to helping patients live with diabetes, and have branched into specific areas like oncology, autoimmunity, and men’s health. The collaboration has won numerous design awards, and together they have produced the most substantial body 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.

Taltz Injectors
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.

Designed to be convenient and cutting-edge, the Trulicity injection device for treating type-2 diabetes is part of a new 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.

HumaPen SAVVIO Injection Pen
Key design insights emerged from worldwide research that guided the design, like 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.

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.

Reconstitution Device
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 the parents and healthcare professionals tasked with mixing the treatment.

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