Pico by Smith & Nephew

How human centred design can truly revolutionise your brand.


The difficulty for Suzy, a high school major in Toronto, was that her embarrassing pilonidal cyst was taking over her life. In an awkward position in her groin, she had been offered treatment via a device (NPWT) that could aid the speed of healing, but looked like a contraption from the last century. It was so humiliating she did not want to go to school, rejected treatment and almost missed her exams to get into university.


Problem: The inability to address the real issue in Negative Pressure Wound Therapy (NPWT) came from not truly listening to customer’s, like Suzy’s, pain points. The incumbent leader was offering a body-worn medical device that presented a canister filled with body fluids that screamed to patients, ‘I have a disease’.


Cure: By hanging out with patients like Suzy that had to live with such devices, we experienced stigma inducing effects across Canada, the USA and Europe for young and old alike. We understood that we needed to ‘flip’ thinking to date to create a dressing that did the work of hiding body fluid, with a simple pump that appeared both consumer and subtle. Most importantly, it had to become almost invisible for the likes of Suzy.


Result: Pico™ by Smith & Nephew – the world’s first pocket sized single use NPWT device was born. Recognised globally as a hit, it gained the accolade of finalist in the ‘Oscars of Industrial Design’, the IDSA (2012) awards, de-stigmatised the category and always front-of-stage at trade shows, the new market leader.


If you, like Suzy, could benefit from Human Centred Design, get in touch with ANATOMY.