Takeda Pharmaceuticals provide a treatment for sufferers of Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD), a debilitating illness which currently affects more than 2 million people in Europe alone. To allow their employees to understand what it’s like to live with this disease, they conceived a thought-provoking mixed reality experience called In Their Shoes.
In Their Shoes simulates some of the pains, emotions, and struggles faced by IBD patients. It achieves this through a series of intrusive, real-time challenges sent to participant’s phones over a 1-to-2-day period. These challenges demand the participant’s immediate response and aim to interrupt their daily routine.
Takeda and their development partners created Version 1 of the experience in 2015. However, they were restricted by performance problems and quality assurance issues when trying to scale.
We proposed a solution that aligned with Takeda’s goals and would allow the app to:
- Support 50+ simultaneous participants;
- Support both European and Asian languages with live updates possible via Google Sheets;
- Allow the experience creators more variety in the types of challenges sent to participants; and
- Gather analytics and automate reports so that Takeda can analyze the KPIs of each campaign.
We were also responsible for migrating participants from the previous version. This meant creating the infrastructure that would support continual improvements to the app while live campaigns could be run.
The original In Their Shoes pilot was undertaken by a group of 22 employees at Takeda’s Zurich headquarters. Since our revision was launched, over 200 employees from Zurich, to Paris, to the USA now understand some of the challenges faced by those with IBD.
Creating new campaigns is much faster, as campaign templates can be designed and imported from Excel. Takeda can see metrics on user engagement as soon as a campaign has finished, and turn that data into a presentation-ready PDF with a couple of clicks. Because they can immediately visualize how responsive participants were, the challenges and narrative can be iterated on and improved.
The In Their Shoes program has been endorsed by national patient groups around the world and has inspired a digital campaign, #FlyWithIBD, asking airlines to further support people with IBD.