China healthcare discovery

Opportunity discovery


A European healthcare company had an early hypothesis that they could address a socially sensitive condition in the Chinese hospital context. However, they lacked an understanding of the cultural differences, the competitive context, and China’s hospital system. The complexity of the healthcare context and sensitivity of the condition with patients were two critical challenges.


We began by commissioning a social listening study to gather initial insights into patient’s perceptions of the domain and current competitor solutions. We followed this with desk research and expert interviews to deepen our understanding of medical practice and different hospital tiers. This exposed the full complexity and ambiguity of the challenge and uncovered a potentially more significant opportunity area. We validated this by conducting interviews with doctors, nurses and patients to map the current experience.

Later in product development, we tested a product prototype for functional and aesthetic perceptions with users and made design refinement recommendations.


  • Helped our client learn rapidly about a new area
  • Pivoted the exploration to a more lucrative opportunity area
  • Validated a pre-production prototype giving the confidence to launch, with some design refinements

‘Research on a very intimate topic, in China – quite the challenge! Plan tackled it with their usual gumption. They clearly framed research objectives and defined its scope, which flowed into a focused, sensitively designed and well-planned research approach. The moderator expertly navigated the conundrum of sensitive subject matter, cultural norms and context, and the needs of his Western client. Plan delivered rich, cogent insights in a tight timeframe, which colleagues across R&D and Marketing could immediately action.’

Head of User Insight

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