Kids Support Kids to Find Clinical Research Solutions

“Tell me, I'll forget. Show me, I may remember. But involve me, and I'll understand.” The meaning behind this Chinese proverb is the driving force of CentennialX—a summer incubator/accelerator program where teams of high school students tackle industry-specific, real world challenges. Under the guidance of teachers, students spend their summer dissecting problems and crafting solutions. Through the process of design thinking, the students internalize and understand the issues they are given.

Since its inaugural program three years ago, Lilly has worked with CentennialX student teams on real clinical research problems. This year, Lilly’s team—TriALL—was charged with helping the International Children’s Advisory Network (iCAN) develop a solution that provides an improved communication feedback loop between pediatric clinical trial researchers and iCAN’s youth advocacy chapters.

Currently, iCAN relies on surveys to gather feedback from pediatric research participants and caregivers on their clinical trial experiences. Unfortunately, the surveys are often the end of the road when it comes to communication, leaving participants wondering if their feedback is being heard. This is where TriALL comes in. Their goal is to create a solution that fosters a personal connection between pediatric patients and researchers that provides the children a sense of reassurance that their feedback is being listened to and used to improve clincial trial design.

To kick off their design thinking approach, the TriALL team went straight to the source—the annual iCAN Research and Advocacy Summit in Orlando, Florida. At the summit, the TriALL students facilitated a one-hour workshop with iCAN’s members from around the world. During the workshop, the TriALL team empowered the iCAN kids to share their insights and feelings on the current state of the feedback process and led a discussion to develop ideas for potential solutions and improvements. 

Lilly’s Joe Kim and CentennialX’s Rena Friedant discuss the role of design thinking in the CentennialX challenge.

The thoughtful and enthusiastic response from the iCAN members demonstrated that this problem is not the only one that they felt passionately about solving, but one that they’ve spent time thinking about prior to the workshop. With the help of the TriALL student team and a design thinking structure, they were provided with the forum and tools necessary to articulate their ideas and have their voices heard. Through this experience, kids from both sides of table—the CentennialX team and iCAN members—played an active role in looking at an issue, listening to each other’s ideas and determining potential solutions. 

Group Huddle
The TriALL team huddles to prepare for their workshop at the iCAN Summit.

The TriALL team is now back home in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, using the learnings from the summit to inform their pitch for an improved feedback process for iCAN. Stay tuned for more details on their pitch to come in a few weeks. In the meantime, check out our iCAN Summit highlights