Cecilie Forskerstafet

Novo Nordisk: How do we get people to return products after use?

How can Novo Nordisk increase the return-rates in their take back program for used insulin pens? That is the question Cecilie Berner Harden - a Danish MADE PhD from Copenhagen Business school - investigates. Hear about her research and the new tools she is creating for Novo Nordisk in the video below.

Today, used insulin pens across the world end up in landfills. If it continues, up to 12 billion insulin pens will end up in landfills during the next 10 years. To avoid this, Novo Nordisk have tested and launched a system for taking back used insulin pens in a number of pilot projects across Denmark and are making ready for rolling out the program in other countries as well. The goal is to reuse the material from the pens in other new products such as chairs.

Among the challenges in making such a system, is peoples’ willingness to return their used pens. How do we make them do that? That is the question Cecilie Berner Harden is investigating in her PhD as part of MADE’s research initiative on sustainable business models and value chain designs (read more in the box to the right).

“My goal with my PhD is creating two tools. The first tool is a playbook for how to set up a take-back system based on Novo’s Returpen system, which is already done. “The second tool will be a more generic map of people’s behavior that helps to understand their actions and patterns in order to apply nudges,” Berner Harden explains.

In the video above you can learn all about the two tools she is developing and the work that lays ahead.

The video is part of a MADE Researchers’ Baton, where researchers in MADE present their research and pass on the baton between them, each time posing a question for the next researcher.

The next MADE researcher for the baton will be Gwendoline Annelise Emilienne Anand who is investigating research questions within additive manufacturing.

You can also read more about Berner Harder in this Danish article.

MADE research project

Name: Business case for a take-back program

Partners: Novo Nordisk, DTU, CBS

Timespan: 2020-2024

Goal: The overall aim of this PhD-project is to follow Novo Nordisk’ pilot-projects with a particular focus on outlining stakeholder incentives and motivation and the business case for take-back of the pens

The project is part of MADE’s research platform MADE FAST, under the initiative “Sustainable manufacturing business models and value chain designs”.

MADE FAST is an industry-led research, innovation, and education partnership developing the next generation of Danish advanced manufacturing capabilities.

Watch some of the previous MADE Researchers’ baton videoes:

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