Toothpaste tube, butterfly openings and spiral indents. Many creative ideas were tested and rejected during the development of our brand-new female catheter. But one idea outperformed them all – and has been refined to perfection. This is the story of LoFric Elle!
We had a chat with Per Andersin, the product developer who has been in the project from the very beginning.
– There are so many parameters to consider when developing a new catheter. The needs differ from individual to individual – it’s a challenge to create one product that fits all. LoFric Elle has something for everyone and we are very happy with the result.
The scope for the project was to develop a new, female, premium product in a new type of package. Small, discreet and with a non-medical look. The ideas were many, some of them outlandish, and that is to be welcomed:
– It is totally forbidden to criticize ideas or stop ideas during the brainstorming sessions. It is much better with 50 crazy ideas than one realistic. These ideas generate other ideas, leading you closer to a new solution.
Become a user
To be able to create a product that truly adds value for the users, it was crucial for the whole project team to really understand a user’s needs. Many users have been involved in testing different prototypes, sharing ideas for improvements, but the team members also wanted to put themselves in the users’ shoes.
– We actually bought a wheelchair and a toilet that we used for simulating toilet visits but also for demonstrating the product. It made us appreciate a lot of the challenges connected to catheterization, and we could address them accordingly.
The brainstorming phase ended up with 15 prototypes – compared and weighed against each other, and the team selected the most promising one for development.
Product development is a time-consuming process, and fine-tuning could probably go on forever if there wasn’t a deadline. In this project there were no room for delays, and the various teams worked in parallel to meet the deadline.
– Before, we have worked more sequentially. When development was done, the machine constructors took over. This time the different functions worked side by side. We even moved into the same office to facilitate discussions, quick decisions and adjustments.
In recent years, many new catheters have entered the marketplace, but the developments have often been limited to design changes. Design improvement has been important in this project as well, but without compromising function. This catheter offers a completely new way of catheterizing, allowing more women to manage their own bladder management.
– The container becomes a handle that provides many advantages. Not least it creates distance to the caregiver, if the user needs help with catheterization. That distance means a lot to both of them.
So now, finally, the team can reap the result of all struggles. Let’s take a look at the world’s first catheter with an L-shaped handle: LoFric Elle. The angle changes everything – click the link to find out how!