Latent requirements

November 24, 2015

When we design innovative solutions we often have to deal with two types of end-user requirements:

Obvious (explicit) requirements: clearly articulated improvements, amendments or extensions. For example, a faster horse, a cheaper car, more memory, more screens, louder speakers, and so on.

Latent requirements: unmet needs that people find difficult to express, write down or articulate.

Most people, when invited to contribute to the “innovation” of a product or service, end up simply describing an evolution of something familiar – their contribution to the process is limited by what they know. A conversation about the “possible” is difficult enough; and a structured conversation about the “impossible” is, well, nearly impossible. Researchers, designers and other “proxies” intervene to develop an understanding of what people really need. It is this understanding that drives innovation; not the users themselves.

‘How Might We’ (brainstorming) questions

November 19, 2015

Example: Redesign airport design from the POV of stressed mother.

  • Amp up the good: HMW use the kids’ energy to entertain fellow passenger?
  • Remove the bad: HMW separate the kids from fellow passengers?
  • Explore the opposite: HMW make the wait the most exciting part of the trip?
  • Question an assumption: HMW entirely remove the wait time at the airport?
  • Go after adjectives: HMW we make the rush refreshing instead of harrying?
  • ID unexpected resources: HMW leverage free time of fellow passengers to share the load?
  • Create an analogy from need or context: HMW make the airport like a spa? Like a playground?
  • Play POV against the challenge: HMW make the airport a place that kids want to go?
  • Change a status quo: HMW make playful, loud kids less annoying?
  • Break POV into pieces: HMW entertain kids? HMW slow a mom down? HMW mollify delayed passengers?

Taxonomy questions

October 21, 2015
  1. Purpose: Why? What will the taxonomy be used for?
  2. Users: Who’s using this taxonomy? Who will it affect?
  3. Content: What will be covered by this taxonomy?
  4. Scope: What’s the topic area and limits?
  5. Resources: What are the project resources and constraints?

(Thanks to Heather Hedden, “The Accidental Taxonomist,” p.292)

Collect efficient feedback with Edward de Bono’s thinking hats

September 17, 2015

Workshop participants put on a metaphorical coloured hat that symbolises a certain type of thinking. This allows to collect efficiently different types of feedback and avoid having an idea shot down for purely political reasons:

  1. Pitch Design team presents their idea and value proposition and/or  Business Model Canvas
  2. White hat (Information and data; neutral, objective;) Participants ask clarifying questions to fully understand the idea
  3. Black hat (Difficulties, weaknesses, dangers; spotting the risk): Participants write down why it’s a bad idea; collect one feedback after the other while participants read it out loud
  4. Yellow hat (Plus points, positives, opportunities) write down – collect
  5. Green hat Ideas, alternative possibilities; solutions to black hat problems. Open discussion, facilitator to write down feedback
  6. Evolve Design team evolves idea

Osterwalder 2014, p. 136 – 7

Three types of feedback

September 17, 2015
  1. Opinion (“I believe …”)
    • Good: Logical reasoning can improve ideas
    • Bad: Can lead pursuing pet ideas of people with more power
  2. Experience (“In our last project …”)
    • Good: Provide valuable learning that can prevent costly mistakes
    • Bad: Failing to realise that different contexts lead to different results
  3. Market facts (“We have data that …”)
    • Good: Provides input that reduces uncertainty and market risk
    • Bad: Measuring wrong or bad data can lead to missing out on a big opportunity

Osterwalder 2014, p. 134

8 Rules for interviews

September 17, 2015
  1. Adopt a beginner’s mind Listen with a “fresh pair of ears” and avoid interpretation. Explore unexpected jobs, pains, and gains in particular.
  2. Listen more than you talk Your goal is to listen and learn, not to inform, impress, or convince your customer of anything. Avoid wasting time talking about your own beliefs, because it’s at the expense of learning about your customer.
  3. Get facts, not opinions Don’t ask, “Would you…?” Ask, “When is the last time you have…?”
  4. Ask “why” to get real motivations Ask, “Why do you need to do…?” Ask, “Why is___important to you?” Ask, “Why is___such a pain?”
  5. The goal of customer insight interviews is not selling (even if a sale is involved); it’s about learning Don’t ask, “Would you buy our solution?” Ask “what are your decision criteria when you make a purchase of…?”
  6. Don’t mention solutions (i.e., your prototype value proposition) too early Don’t explain, “Our solution does…” Ask, “What are the most important things you are struggling with?”
  7. Follow up Get permission to keep your interviewee’s contact information to come back for more questions and answers or testing prototypes.
  8. Always open doors at the end Ask, “Who else should I talk to?”

Osterwalder 2014 p.112-3

Six techniques to gain customer insight

September 17, 2015
  1. The data detective – des research with secondary data eg customer data; analytics; industry reports
    1. Google Trends
    2. Google Keyword Planner
    3. Google Analytics
    4. Government Census Data, World Bank, IMF etc
    5. Third party research reports
    6. Social Media Analytics
    7. CRM system
  2. The journalist – Conversations/Interviews with customers 1:1 or even in focus groups;
  3. The anthropologist – Observational studies; diary studies
    1. (B2C) Stay/live with the family, participate in dailt routines, learn about what drives people
    2. (B2B) Work alongside, observe, what keeps these people awake at night?
    3. (B2C) Observe shopping behaviour
    4. (B2C) Shadow customer for one day
    5. (any) Find new ways of immersing yourself
  4. The impersonator – Step in the shoes of your customer; cognitive walkthrough
  5. The cocreator – Workshops
  6. The scientist – Experiments, A/B testing, user testing etc.

Osterwalder 2014, p. 106-115

Create possibilities quickly with Ad-Libs

September 16, 2015

Ad-libs are a great way to quickly shape alternative directions for your value proposition. They force you to pinpoint how exactly you are going to create value. Prototyope three to five different directions by filling out the blanks in the Ad-lib below

Our _____________ [product/service]
help(s) _____________ [customer segment]
who want to _________________ [customer jobs to be done]
by _________________ [verb: pain reducers]
and ________________ [verb: gain creators].
(Unlike ___________ [competing value proposition])

Osterwalder 2014, p.82

10 Prototyping Principles

September 16, 2015
  1. Make it visual and tangible (Don’t regress into the land of blahblahbla)
  2. Embrace a beginner’s mind
  3. Don’t fall in love with first ideas— create alternatives
  4. Feel comfortable in a “liquid state”
  5. Start with low fidelity, iterate, and refine
  6. Expose your work early —seek criticism
  7. Learn faster by failing early, often and cheaply
  8. Use creativity techniques
  9. Create “Shrek models” (Shrek models are extreme or outrageous prototypes that you are unlikely to build. Use them to spark debate and learning
  10. Track learnings, insights, and progress

Osterfelder 2014, p 78-9

10 characteristics of Great Value Propositions

September 16, 2015
  1. Are embedded in great business models
  2. Focus on the jobs, pains, and gains that matter most to customers
  3. Focus on unsatisfied jobs, unresolved pains, and unrealized gains
  4. Target few jobs, pains, and gains, but do so extremely well
  5. Go beyond functional jobs and address emotional and social jobs
  6. Align with how customers measure success
  7. Focus on jobs, pains, and gains that a lot of people have or that some will pay a lot of money for
  8. Differentiate from competition on jobs, pains, and gains that customers care about
  9. Outperform competition substantially on at least one dimension
  10. Are difficult to copy

Osterwalder 2014, p.72-3


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