Research Sprints: Need a Better Way to Understand Your Customers?

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What do your customers really want?

It’s the eternal question that cuts across every industry and discipline. After all, what’s the point of investing tons of resources into developing products and services that nobody wants? There are few things worse than seeing all the hard work invested in design go down in proverbial flames when customers reject your latest offering.

But can you really blame them? Did you do enough to determine whether or not people would actually want the things you designed? Were your assumptions correct? Did you ask the right questions?

More importantly, did you actually listen to the answers?

Do People Really Want Faster Horses?

There’s a famous (and very likely apocryphal) quote attributed to Henry Ford that says “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” It’s often trotted out (no pun intended) to prove that customers don’t actually know what they want from products and services until you give it to them. Much like the urban folk story about a sly New Yorker “selling” the Brooklyn Bridge to a naive, out of town rube, we’re supposed to have a laugh at the expense of the consumer who isn’t creative enough to think of a solution to their problems.

Except that’s not really the point of the quote.

The problem presented by the Ford quote is all in the framing. If you simply ask people what they want, they might very well give you a simple, straightforward answer that doesn’t sound like a very creative solution. That’s because the question does nothing to understand the actual problems people are facing. Asking them what they “want” is multiple steps removed from their day-to-day lived experience. It’s a question designed to find an answer; whether or not that answer provides any actionable insights is beside the point.

What the question doesn’t do is make any effort to understand people. In order to understand the concerns and challenges that actually have an impact on people’s lives and influence their wants and needs, you need to do a lot less asking and a lot more listening.

How DO You Find Out What Your Customers Want?

If you really want to get actionable feedback from customers, the kind of insights that allow you to design the products and services that actually meet their needs, you need to rethink how you approach research. The process starts with learning to see problems from the customer’s perspective and becoming activated to do something about those issues.

By empathizing with your customers, you can begin to do something truly powerful with those insights when it comes to designing solutions for them. Rather than taking stabs in the dark or letting confirmation bias steer your design efforts, you can learn to hear what people really think. Armed with this knowledge, you can move forward with confidence and avoid costly mistakes along the way.

Getting Started With a 2-Week Research Sprint

At Motivate Design, we do things a little differently. We’ve developed several UX strategies over the last decade that make us unique when it comes to research and product design. Rather than keep those techniques to ourselves, we want to help you learn how to generate the same powerful findings and insights that inform our design process.

Our Research Sprint Course gives you all the tools and strategies you need to conduct your own 2-Week Research Sprint, from the initial stages of planning and defining the project to the final steps needed to deliver compelling reports that can demonstrate value and influence business needs. We provide you with interactive examples and exercises as well as all the material assets you’ll need to carry out your own research. The course also provides tips and advice for effectively selling the concept of a 2-Week Research Sprint to key stakeholders.

If you’re tired of conducting the same old research and getting the same old results, it’s time you reframed your expectations of what’s possible. Contact us today to learn more about 2-Week Research Sprints and join the course waitlist.

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