Starting out with a somewhat broad research focus, we interviewed both young people with type 1 diabetes, their parents, siblings, kindergarten teachers and teenagers. An initial insight was how being diagnosed when in your late teens is experienced as being much more disruptive and shameful than if you are diagnosed as a child. One story in particular, told by a 24-year-old woman diagnosed at age 19, stood out and inspired us in the definition of our brief. Her initial experience was filled with shame and self-stigma. She described how she had felt all alone and unable to connect with other people. In hiding her diabetes from other people, she began to disregard her treatment and exclude herself socially. This made us ask the following question:
How might we make adherence a richer experience for young adults with diabetes, from diagnosis and onwards, by leveraging their network?
Being.Me is an ecosystem that accompanies young people who have just been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. A “starter-kit” is handed out by a doctor or nurse as a service offering from Novo Nordisk. The kit contains a FlexPen and NovoFine needles to help the patient practice injections; it also delivers general information about diabetes approved by the Chief Physician of Steno Diabetes Center, and personal stories from other young people with diabetes. The kit is completed by an invitation to the social network Being.Me. Being.me is a closed network that leverages the empathy and knowledge of a community of individuals who have lived with diabetes longer. It also enables recently diagnosed to let their close relatives and friends become part of the process they are going through. Being.Me works as a collaborative storyline, where users can share stories, debate, ask questions, or just browse other users content for reassurance. Being.Me is a platform that facilitates conversations on life with diabetes, in an informal, personal way, to cater to the other side of diabetes.
Being.me has been designed and created by Alix Gillet-Kirt, Chris Bierbower and Helle Rohde Andersen for Novo Nordisk as part of the industry projects 2011 at Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design (www.ciid.dk)