Sanofi Australia Innovation

How our innovation and design thinking techniques helped create new product and service solution ideas for a global healthcare company.


Client: Sanofi Australia

Engagement: Innovation, Design Thinking

Location: Sydney, Australia



In late 2015, Cognitive Ink ran a series of design thinking workshops with the Innovation Team from one of Australia and New Zealand’s largest pharmaceutical and consumer healthcare companies. 

The company held a large amount of raw and detailed patient experience data which had been collected from targeted questionnaires and research on diabetes patients. They wanted to generate ideas for new and innovative products and services to help these patients, however were unsure how to derive ideas from the data and how to assess their ideas for viability.

Cognitive Ink helped the team innovate ideas for new products and services, using our design thinking methodology SEED (Strategise – Enquire – Explain – Design). We guided the team to emphasise with the patient journeys, and then to brainstorm and prioritise ideas to meet the needs of both the patients and their support networks, as well as to achieve the objectives of the business.



Define the business objectives

The strategy step of the process kicked off the project, which involved defining with the business:
•    What are the key business objectives?
•    How are these measured?  

Business objectives included meeting patient needs and integration with other company offerings as well as the development of valuable new products and services. We used these business objectives to determine priority and viability of any solutions brainstormed (ie, would these achieve what the company set out to do?) 


Background research: Identify insights into the experience of a diabetes patient

Our starting point was a large amount of raw data in the form of questionnaire answers from diabetes patients and research articles in medical publications. 

To analyse this data we sourced quotes which represented each type of answer provided by patients, and used affinity mapping to identify key insights, such as barriers to good health (eg, financial struggles, time constraints for appointments, a lack of integrated health records, etc), how technology was used to manage the illness (eg, planning and tracking) and social constructs that assisted the patients emotionally (eg, virtual support groups). 

Visual summary posters were completed to show overarching themes with quotes taken from the data. These were used as a starting point for our hands-on innovation workshops with the business team.

Workshop: Who are we designing for?

Before looking at the patient journey, we helped guide the Team to identify a number of personas who would represent key patient groups. These included variations in age, education levels, family/marital status and motivation levels and would be used to gain different perspectives into the journey, with the understanding that this would be different for different patient types.


Workshop: Who are the other entities involved?

Using hands-on workshop techniques, we worked with the Innovation Team to identify other entities who the patients may interact with during their experience (eg, professional support groups, family members, healthcare organisations, etc). These would be used to trigger ideas when mapping out the patient journeys and later on to identify others who would be impacted by possible solutions.


Workshop: What is the experience of patients and their support networks?

The next step was to put the insights and personas together to map out patient journeys for each different patient type, from wellness through to life end. We examined the challenges they would face at each step with maintaining wellness on both a physical and psychological level, their priorities, who would help them, what would help them, and why. 

This included the journey not just for the patients, but also for others indirectly impacted by the experience (eg, families, friends and health professionals). We also identified how and where the company’s existing products and services linked into the journeys, to examine how these could be enhanced or integrated into possible new offerings.



Workshop: What are the key problems?

Using the insights, emotional and structural understandings gained in the enquiry phases, the team isolated all the key problems associated with each stage of the journey, within customer needs and in inherent challenges of the domain itself. The problems were clustered according to the phases of a healthcare lifecycle and prioritised. 


Workshop: How do we solve these problems?

Using the problems identified in the user journey as a focus, the Innovation Team ideated with a variety of design thinking games what an ideal patient journey should look like – What would the ideal experience be for a diabetes patient from wellness through to their last days? What would the ideal experience look like for their networks? 

Solutions were explored for their power to potentially transform the existing patient journey into the ideal experience. The team wrote down any ideas they had, not taking into account any technological or practical constraints. 

The result was several hundred new ideas for products and services. We then prioritised these by examining the impact of each possible solution for the patient and the company, against effort/time required to implement it.



Cognitive Ink assisted the Innovation team in identifying a number of key insights and patient experience challenges which had not previously been considered. The overall outcome of our process was the generation of a large number of ideas for new products and services, resulting from a newfound understanding and empathy for the journey of diabetes patients and their support networks. Prioritisation was done by balancing the impact for patients with the impact in achieving the company’s business objectives, effort and time involved to implement and the potential for integration with existing offerings.

Demibooks iPad app for creating books

Demibooks Composer

Client:  Demibooks

Location: US and Australia

In 2010, Demibooks created the world’s first iPad app for creating interactive books. Originally targeting the iPad 1, this was an ambitious project that pushed the edge of what was considered possible on the iPad, from technical, user experience and design perspectives. At that time few realised the potential of using iPad to create complex content. The goal of the project was to create a tool that authors, creators, artists,  animators and educators could use to create richly interactive books, apps and resources… without touching a line of code. 

As a founding member of Demibooks, Christopher from Cognitive Ink was responsible for the user research, requirements gathering, concepting and design of the Demibooks Composer Pro app. 

Demibooks Composer Pro.png



The journey toward an iPad based interactive book creation tool started with the release of the iPad 1 in 2010. For the first time, the iPad combined a full screen touchscreen, graphics capabilities, audio, touch sensitivity and battery life into a single package. 

From a technical perspective, the iPad came directly with a rich library of programming interfaces that could make use of a number of the devices hardware and software capabilities. Unfortunately, using any of these capabilities required deep programming skills, licences to use Xcode (Apple’s development framework) and a deep understanding of the Apple Developer’s program. Beyond Apple, new entrants to the iPad ecosystem were replicating their game, physics and animation engines to the iPad, providing yet another layer of capability to an iPad app developer. Yet again, deploying or using any of these tools requires deep programming knowledge. 

None of these technical capabilities would help an author, artist or teacher, as most would little to no programming skills. As such, it was extremely limiting for authors, artists or educators with vision and need. They had capacity to create the assets, images, sketches, audio or video, but they had no way to fuse the assets into a framework. Nor did they have a way to add the layer of interactivity that transformed a static experience into an interactive one. Even though the iPad and associated engines had created the technological platform, they were unable to make use of it.

What many artists did have, however, was a vision and drive to create rich, interesting, educational, entertaining and meaningful interactive experiences on the iPad. So the Demibooks team set out to design the impossible. A fully capable on-iPad design and testing app, that would let creators focus on creating, testing and publishing their interactive books, without needing any programming knowledge. 


Research through real world inspiration

The roots of the Demibooks Composer design started with the real world inspiration of authors, artists and educators at work. We worked with Stacey Williams-Ng, who acted as a dedicated user representative. Stacey is an author, illustrator from the United States and provided crucial insights and feedback on how authors and artists created assets, how the authoring workflow worked and what capabilities the tool would need to offer to tell compelling stories. Stacey was interested in turning one of her story concepts into a living interactive book and we used her story, Astrojammies, as source material and test cases for the requirements and design process.

Model and flow

Learning from real-world behaviour, and in parallel with the development of the user stories that formed the requirements, we created the backbone workflows that defined the entire application. 


Rapid concept and wireframe cycles

A rich set of workflows, paper prototypes and research led us to develop more formalised concepts and wireframes.

Learning from real-world behaviour, and in parallel with the development of the user stories that formed the requirements, we created the backbone workflows that defined the entire application. 



Rapid concept and wireframe cycles

A rich set of workflows, paper prototypes and research led us to develop more formalised concepts and wireframes.


Rapid concept and wireframe cycles

A rich set of workflows, paper prototypes and research led us to develop more formalised concepts and wireframes. 



Facing design challenges

There were so many interrelated design problems to solve that we would often have to pause on creating the framework of the application to deep-dive on a specific design problem. 

In this example, a deeper exploration of the content library, where users could bring in their content to add to the interactive book. 

In-market testing

The scale of the problem was obvious early and instead of waiting until we had a final product, we released Composer 1.0 into the market, even before we’d created a final visual design and treatment.


User testing through an online community

We built a user community and selected user champions using Get Satisfaction to learn more about use cases and user behaviour. The combined sources of feedback lead to a radical treatment and usability update with Composer 2.0. 


Visual design updates



Using an Interactive Book.jpg

Since 2010, Demibooks Composer has been used to create hundreds of interactive books in many different languages, which have educated and delighted children around the world.

The app currently has a 4.5 star rating in the Apple App store.