Insight-Led Innovation

An EXPLOR AWARD-Winning Case Study 



Pharmaceutical companies have long been challenged with developing packaging solutions that drive consumer compliance, meet child resistance requirements and stay within budget and manufacturing parameters. In this long list of must-dos, developing a packaging solution to meet a specific consumer need can be challenging.  

This deprioritization of the consumer need in innovation is not just pharma’s battle. As a market research agency working across many categories, it is something we see many clients struggling with. If it’s not legal restrictions, budgets and manufacturing guidelines driving innovation, it’s companies trying to chase trends or react to competitors. With all these factors dominating, consumer insight rarely drives innovation.

We call this “limping into innovation.” You may find some good ideas, but you are greatly limiting your chances for success.



img2Merck needed to develop a package solution for an important pipeline drug set to launch in 2017. In the spirit of patient-centricity, Merck and Brädo developed a research plan that defied traditional packaging research guidelines.

Key tenants of the approach include:
•Focusing on insight-based design
•Leveraging the voice of the patient
•Using technology to rapid prototype & fail faster

This approach was made possible with The Brädo Innovation Lab, a mobile prototyping suite designed to facilitate ideation and prototype generation. Transferable to any location, The Innovation Lab is equipped with everything needed to ideate and rapid prototype including modeling software, 3-D printers, laser cutters and even food extruders for edible prototypes.  

In the EXPLOR AWARD-winning case, patients and pharmacists were invited into The Lab to develop package solutions that address tension points in their lives. Rather than just talk about package solutions in theory, the team produced respondent ideas on the spot, giving them a chance to hold the design in their hands. Flaws and opportunities were quickly identified and the prototypes were improved upon with each new set of respondents.



_0066241award-stampIn just three days, a range of prototypes were developed that moved far beyond the generic pharmaceutical packages that dominate the category. By focusing on insight, the proposed package solutions for the drug address key consumer tensions and communicate empathy for the patient in a tangible form. And it was all done within regulatory and manufacturing guidelines. In addition, use of The Lab shortened the design agency’s timeline by 50%, saving time and money during this critical juncture.

As the winner of the 2016 EXPLOR AWARD, this research approach has been globally recognized as a case that advances the market research industry and showcases what innovation and technology can do to the research process. It has also put a spotlight on the importance of insight in Innovation and what can happen when companies charge into innovation with insight as the driver.

For more information about this case or Brädo’s Innovation services, please contact Andy Ford at 314-621-9499.