I came across something that adds some interesting fuel to what's been discussed these past few days. I was reading one of my favorite blogs, written by grant mccracken, a social anthropologist who often talks about product design and consumer behavior. In the beginning of this particular post, he talks about an idea posed by tibor scitovsky: that the pleasure of ownership turns to mere comfort over time. The post I'd written a few days ago, pump 2.0, suddenly came to mind as I was reading this. He's talking about the same idea really, only applied to a condo or cell phone instead of an insulin pump. All of these things are "consumer products". One just happens to be life-saving "consumer product" that people with diabetes can choose to wear as an alternative to shots. What I found most interesting was that this economic theory gets to the heart of what joel goldsmith spoke to in the diabetes mine interview, a few days ago. He said, "what's funny is that these companies tend to think that people with diabetes are somehow not the same people as those buying iPods and Nintendos and Razor phones." Exactly. We're people and consumers and diabetics. Not exclusively one or the other. And as such, the "products" we use in managing our diabetes, are subject to the same phenomenons, expectations and desires as any other "product" we bring into our lives. It's just in the case of our pumps, the stakes and expectations are a lot higher. They have to work in the engineering sense. And they do, which is undeniably fabulous. But over time and 24/7 interaction, their clunky, brick-like nature becomes more obvious to us every day, making the miraculous, engineering feat they represent, fade a little bit. Intellectually we know our pumps are amazing, but time, our personal interactions and experiences with them, their design limitations and our natural human tendency to loose the satisfaction from the improvements of new "products" (if you are to believe McCracken and Scitovsky at all), all add up to yearning for something so much better.
Anyway, all in all, it's been a great week for design and diabetes. Lot's to think about. Lot's to keep talking about. Lot's of insight to share. Lot's of opportunity for the industry to listen because if last week is any indication, this "consumer base" is getting a little more articulate, demanding and noisy.