PillPack Design Thinking Experience

PillPack Design Thinking Experience


We share a Design Thinking exercise that we’ve been using in our training workshops to experience the process. Feel free to download the worksheets and use them!

Experiencing Design Thinking

If you’ve done some sort of Design Thinking training or introduction, you probably remember that there are several steps (depending on which model or version of the methodology you’re using), and some sort of double diamond. While those are the processes behind it, one of the most memorable ways to get people to learn is through experiencing it hands on.

In our own training workshops, one popular one used by many in our field is The Ideal Wallet exercise, popularised by IDEO. It’s a quick and effective way to experience human-centred innovation in action.

Thoughtful medication planning and delivery services contribute to the online pharmacy’s success.

A couple years back, we were inspired by one of the breakthrough stories of the company PillPack, an online pharmacy that was sold to Amazon in 2018 for US$1 billion. It got its humble start as a venture in residence at IDEO, a well known design and innovation consultant, and through applying rigorously the practice of human-centred design in all aspects of its development, it grew into a highly profitable and industry changing business that now has many copycats. A good article about Pillpack and its development can be found here. We were inspired by the idea and designed an experience from it.

Using the PillPack exercise has been an effective way to give people a taste of Design Thinking at our workshops as it hits close to home for many of our training participants, since:

  • Many people have or are taking care of elderly parents or grandparents;
  • We all have forgotten to take our pills, put pills in ‘pill boxes’, and gone through this before;
  • It’s a tangible issue that people can grasp and play around with…in pre-COVID times, we used to give them bags of pills as a pharmacist would give you to play and brainstorm on (they were really just a variety of candies).

After the immersive PillPack exercise, participants of Good Lab’s Design Thinking training workshop collaboratively explored the possibilities of applying Design Thinking in their daily work.

If you’re looking for a way to teach Design Thinking in your class or company, we highly suggest this activity. It’s easy to learn and teach yourself, and the flow is similar to the Ideal Wallet exercise, in that we start with the traditional way to design a solution, not get very far, and then use empathy, design principles, prototyping, and a feedback mechanism to develop a new idea to the challenge.

One of the ways to make it memorable and show Design Thinking’s potential and legitimacy is to show the case study of PillPack after the activity, and how the company developed its concept into a successful venture that disrupted a traditional industry in the USA.

You may download the PillPack Design Thinking Experience worksheets here. If you would like to find out more about our Design Thinking training workshops and relevant experiences, you may visit here!