ANDREW ALLEN
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23andUs

23andUs - Product Design

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or: How we created a platform to transform genetic testing into a tool for collective good

 
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business situation - “find out what your dna says about you”

23andMe provides two main product offerings: Ancestry, which gives detailed ancestry reports on genetic composition, as well as the ability to see with whom in the 23andMe database you share DNA; and Health + Ancestry, which, along with the ancestral information, provides reports on the individual’s genetic health risk, carrier status and trait reports. In other words, it gives the user a better idea of what to possibly expect at some point down the road.

 
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the tension - do people really want to know?

Like most of the general public, Generation Z found the information beneficial for the purpose of preparing for the possibility of a disease later in life. However, the information given from DNA testing is not immediately actionable on an individual level, making it feel less valuable to 15-24 year olds. For a demographic that has mostly not had to worry about health concerns, genetic information will only go so far before it leads them to living in fear over something they may not be able to control.

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If the value of 23andMe falls flat for a healthy individual Gen-Zer in their youth, what could it do for the collective good?

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The opportunity

Genetic testing companies like 23andMe and research driven pharmaceutical companies rely on the genetic data of large masses to create value in their products and services. Generation Z feels there is little benefit to aiding in genetic research because the research that they aid in benefits Big Pharma more than it does the collective good. This concern is coupled with the fact that 23andMe have recently partnered with pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline to share the genetic information of their clients. If 23andMe want to remain the leaders in their category, they may need to rethink their current model.

introducing:

 
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A two-sided DNA marketplace that puts the power of permission in the individual’s hands.

 
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An example research proposal page, where users can learn more about the companies conducting research and what is being done with their genetic data.

 
 
 

A collection of featured studies, allowing users to seek out the research and studies being done that are important and interesting to them.

 
 
 

why would 23andme change their model?

 

It may be hard to convince 23andMe to change what has been working so well for them. However, by utilizing this platform, 23andMe will now be able to reach many companies who could use their information, as opposed to just GlaxoSmithKline. We also are instigating participation by the user (at this point, only 1/25 in the US have had DNA testing done) and if given a choice between their current model and this, people have no reason not to side with our alternative method.

 

In its current state, the user is peripheral in 23andMe’s platform, paying to have their information accessed and to access the medicine that would benefit them. With 23andUs, we place the user at the center of the experience, allowing them to benefit from where their data goes on each separate occasion.

 

MY ROLE

Category & Consumer Research / Strategic Positioning / Service Design Concepting / User Testing

cast & crew

Chorong Kim (Strategic Partner), Joelle Halle (Designer).