Published on in Responsible Business

Co-Creation is a methodology used to solve complex business problems. It is based upon ‘design thinking’, an approach that develops solutions by viewing problems from the perspective of those affected by them.

Approaching problems in this way helps to get you to the core of the problem. This is the best starting point to create truly effective solutions.

Macmillan Cancer Support have been Fujitsu’s Charity Partner since 2016. During that time, Fujitsu have helped Macmillan on a number of pro bono projects, including the highly successful contactless donations application, which was developed when co-creation was applied to a fundraising problem Macmillan encountered.

The problem? Fewer and fewer people carry cash on them, and this is significantly reducing the ability of charities to generate significant donations through traditional, on-street collections.

The solution? A mobile, contactless payments device, with a dashboard app at the back end to monitor incoming donations.

Recently though, Fujitsu worked together with Macmillan on an entirely different problem: one based around directly supporting people living with cancer. Again, we used co-creation to find a solution – and in this blog post, I’m going to explain how.

Helping people with head and neck cancer prepare for radiotherapy treatment

Macmillan’s core ambition is to help everyone with cancer live life as fully as they can. Macmillan know that being told ‘you have cancer’ can affect so much more than your health – it can also affect your family, your job, and much more.

An important part of Macmillan’s aim is to provide people with information and support. This can be through Macmillan resources online, their Support Line or through Macmillan professionals in hospitals across the UK.

The specific problem that Macmillan presented to Fujitsu revolved around providing support to those going through head and neck cancer about their radiotherapy treatment.

While people’s experiences can differ, radiotherapy for the head and neck cancer often involves creating a mould over their head and neck area which is fixed in place for the radiotherapy treatment. For many people, this sort of treatment can feel frightening and we wanted to help Macmillan help people feel prepared in an immersive way.

Show, don’t tell

Armed with the principle of “show, don’t tell”, Macmillan wanted to provide a visual resource to help people with head and neck cancer prepare for treatment.

Where it would take at least several conversations to describe what radiotherapy treatment involves, images do it instantly.

What’s more, a 360-degree video allows the viewer to not only see what’s going on in one area, but to digitally explore the whole environment.

Working in partnership with Macmillan, we created a 360-degree video which depicts what it’s like to go through radiotherapy treatment for the head and neck cancer.

The video is already live here.

Co-creating to help people living with cancer

A pilot video was debuted at Fujitsu World Tour in July 2018, where feedback from attendees – including some who had friends or family living with cancer – was overwhelmingly positive.

In addition, Macmillan has already deployed the video for use in one hospital, where it is being used to help people prepare for their radiotherapy treatment.

One thing we are keen to stress to anyone who watches the video is that it will not automatically take away any worries they might have about their radiotherapy treatment: the experience of going through radiotherapy is  different for everyone.

We simply wanted to give them a truthful glimpse into what radiotherapy might look and feel like.
The video is narrated by Jerry, who himself has been through radiotherapy for mouth cancer, and the narrative of video is informed by Jerry’s own experiences and those of the people he met through his support group.

That idea of being open and honest is a key part of the philosophy that underpins Macmillan’s mission to help people truly live through cancer.

We hope that this video goes some way to helping Macmillan fulfil that mission.


Theo is a Digital Co-Creation Consultant. Part of the UK&I Co-Creation Team, he helps to facilitate co-creation workshops with customers from all sectors, often out of Fujitsu’s Digital Transformation Centre, in London.

At the time of writing, he is on secondment to Fujitsu from the Civil Service’s Digital, Data and Technology Fast Stream. 


Useful links:

Fujitsu’s Co-creation Program:
Fujitsu and Macmillan:


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