To help address the issue of unplanned pregnancy and maternal mortality in the developing world, researchers at the University of Georgetown’s Institute for Reproductive Health (IRH) recognized the need for an intuitive, natural contraception method that could meet the needs of families that chose not to use medical or surgical alternatives. IRH developed the Standard Days Method (SDM), a simple natural family planning system that could be implemented in all countries and cultures across the globe. In addition, the team created CycleBeads to provide a visual, tangible tool to help women follow the method.
To manufacture, sell, and distribute the product, Cycle Technologies licensed the CycleBeads product from IRH and partnered with the organization to bring it to market. Cycle Technologies’ goal for SDM and CycleBeads was to reach users in developing countries where medical and surgical contraception options were limited or unacceptable, as well as those in developed regions where women wanted effective, non-invasive birth control and proactive family planning tools. The first reason for this dual objective was to help establish the credibility of the product. The second reason was that Cycle Technologies hoped to leverage sales in U.S. and other western markets as a mechanism for creating a viable business. This mini-case study describes how Cycle Technologies approached the challenge of establishing a dual market.
This story is part of the Global Health Innovation Insight Series developed at Stanford University to shed light on the challenges that global health innovators face as they seek to develop and implement new products and services that address needs in resource-constrained settings.
Acknowledgements: We would like to thank Victoria Jennings of the Institute for Reproductive Health and Leslie Heyer of Cycle Technologies for their participation. This research was supported by the National Institutes of Health grant 1 RC4 TW008781-01.