Over the years there have been concerted efforts to distribute modern contraceptives, including the oral contraceptive pill, condoms, injectables, implants and intrauterine devices (IUD) in developing countries. However, there are still 225 million women in these markets whose contraceptive needs are not being met. About half of pregnancies amongst adolescent women aged 15–19 are unintended, and more than half of these end in abortion, often under unsafe conditions. Under these circumstances, the Family Planning program at The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation made a strategic decision to further stimulate the development of ground-breaking contraceptive technologies that address the unmet needs of women in developing countries. To further this strategy the Foundation partnered with FHI 360 and social innovation consultant Pabla van Heck, as project manager, to host two ideation events based on human-centered design principles and grounded in user insights and their contexts.
Quicksand along with project partners FHI 360 and Ms. van Heck conducted extensive research in Kenya and India to uncover unmet needs for contraception use, and these findings were leveraged using human-centered design methodologies to facilitate insight-driven ideation for generating new product ideas in women’s contraceptive technology.