Disrupt Diabetes


Founder + Co-Director, Diabetes Design Challenge
August 2017 - May 20th, 2018


Divya Gopisetty (Stanford BA ‘18)


We began with the vision that in order for there to be meaningful progress in diabetes innovation, patients must be in the driver’s seat throughout the entire process. With invaluable insights and knowledge, they are equipped more than anyone to steer conversations towards the most pressing needs and valuable solutions. Through the creation of Disrupt Diabetes, we set out to to normalize this.


Based on our own experiences within health spaces, my co-director and I came up with a list of insights relating to diabetes, design, and health innovation that we wanted to tackle. However, did other stakeholders feel the same way? We began setting up interviews with anyone we could talk to. After over 30 interviews with physicians, patients, caretakers, thought leaders, designers, and advocates, we were able to narrow down and validate our needs.

  • Patients are usually not invited to participate in health conferences or care improvement projects. If they are, they are often sidelined, only being called upon for specific questions or panels. They feel like a “checkbox to be filled.”

  • In design projects, users or patients are interviewed thoroughly but rarely are a part of the team itself.

  • Interdisciplinary collaboration within conferences can generate a lot of energy and ideas, but it quickly dissipates without a proper support system.

  • Chronic disease patients are their own doctors 364 days, 23 hours a year.

  • Hackathons or similar quick turnover innovation platforms fail to conduct the necessary in-depth user research required for a meaningful solution.


Creating disrupt diabetes

We began thinking about ways to address these needs and to design an initiative that would fulfill our goals.

We went through several iterations which

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Based on insights gleaned from needfinding, our team made three key assumptions about our users when creating Swift. We next set out to see whether these assumptions held when tested with three veterans over the course of a week. 

Assumption #1: Veterans value tracking mental/physical fitness through biometric data and daily check-ins.

We tested this assumption by simulating check-ins with our veterans through daily text messages. These messages asked about current mood via the Photographic Affect Meter (developed by Cornell's Interaction Design Lab) -- veterans picked one of sixteen pictures which best described the way they were feeling that day. At the end of the study, they were asked for feedback. All veterans surveyed mentioned that they would feel comfortable sending their biometric data to their provider.

"The check-ins allowed me to communicate without any consequences or repercussions."


"I want them to monitor this stuff - because they don’t believe me when I describe these sleep issues."