Audacity and deduction

When you research your audience’s needs and wants, asking is only the first step.

It is good to have a set of questions prepared to conduct either a survey or a live interview, yet the answers you will get will probably not be as insightful as you would have hoped. Often people struggle to elaborate on what they are looking for before they actually see it, and so if you do not want your research to just be a collection of unhelpful anecdotes, or your offer a complete mess, be prepared to move on with these two steps.

First, map the information collected with the questions and find common themes. Most likely, different people will have different ways to express similar needs, wants, desires, gaps, and those similarity are what you are looking for. It is not an easy exercise, and it requires different iterations and some experience (and possibly more than one brain). You can generate a set of assumption based on such information, and move on to prepare a mock-up or a draft of what you want to offer.

Then, go back to your audience and simply ask: “what about this?“. Let them talk, observe how they react, give them space to elaborate and expand with coaching questions such as “what else?”, “how would you move this forward?”, “what can be done to improve it?”. Eventually, you’ll have a good idea if the direction is right and what to follow up with.

If you stop at asking questions, the situation might look more complicated than it really is. What is needed is also some degree of audacity and deduction. And by the way, this is valid even when your audience is not your customer, but for example other internal teams or your partners.

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