We helped to establish the "listen and respond" approach to product innovation at Coloplast, a global Danish-based wound and skin care medical device company.

In an engagement that lasted over four years, we mentored all R&D and marketing teams and completed several programmes of market and customer learning. This led to successful product innovation in each division of the company and since inception of the new approach, Coloplast revenues have grown 7% per year organically.  

Here is an example of one project.


Amongst other product lines, Coloplast develops and sells products for people with a stoma (where the intestinal outlet has been rerouted through the abdominal wall).It wished to better understand and find new collaborative methods to develop products and services with its customers. They wanted to be first-to-market with devices that helped patients live as normal a life a possible. Internally, they also wished to shift R&D efforts beyond a tendency to settle on incremental, feature-driven innovation.


After revealing and prioritising stoma patients’ daily contexts, routines and problems using Umio immersion, observation and interview techniques and frameworks, we identified that merely capturing new types of customer insight was only one – albeit important - part of our client’s efforts to shift its innovation focus. Also, it needed improved mechanisms for R&D and marketing teams to work more closely together to better understand, share, prioritise and decide which needs to innovate around. To address this, we advised on internal roles and processes and facilitated crossfunctional opportunity review and scoring workshops. These resulted in new understanding and consensus between disparate teams, the production of several target concepts that were handed over to R&D, and critically, the buy-in and commitment from senior management.


Not only did we reveal several priority opportunity themes to feed into R&D – which are now resulting in a host of stoma pouch, adhesive and accessories innovation along with new patient engagement platforms – but also we brought about several improvements in internal ways of working aligned with a market-based, customer-centred approach. This new capability is continuing to fill our client’s innovation pipeline and is driving the company towards growth whilst improving outcomes for patients.