Innovation Customer Discovery

Empathize with Your Customer

Describe the benefits of empathetic research. Describe three types of empathetic research. Understand when to use empathetic methods.
  • Anthropology
    • Customer-centric innovation requires an appreciation for customers
    • Best person to determine if a solution makes a difference for the customer is the customer
    • Empathetic research - process of getting to know and understand your audience directly, like an anthropologist
    • Process should never stop - continually ask, listen, and learn from customers throughout the innovation process
  • Who is your customer?
    • Necessary to think deeply about which customers give you the most useful information and insight into your organization’s challenges. Example groups for a hotel:
      • Loyal guests who have spent 10 or more nights at the hotel
      • Guests who were once loyal but haven’t booked in the past year
      • Guests who are platinum-level loyalists in similar loyalty programs at other chains, and have spent one or more night at the hotel
      • Hotel employees (call center workers, front desk staff, housekeeping staff, etc)
  • Three ways to Dig In
    1. Embodying
      • In the hotel example, one way to embody the customer would be to book a stay at the hotel and experience firsthand:
        • Where is there friction?
        • What was disappointing instead of delightful?
        • What was surprising/impressive?
    2. Shadowing
      • Shadowing is observing alongside your customers and asking questions to dig deeper into why they do what they do. Best practices:
        • Look for patterns
        • Consider dominant environmental dynamics - who is in charge? How is power brokered?
        • Observe entire process, including whole context
        • Take notes on observations, direct quotes
    3. Interviewing
      • Simple conversations with key stakeholders and customers is invaluable
      • Stakeholder interviews - ask them their candid thoughts, concerns, and ideas. Ask about their role, their personal view, anything they feel you need to know.
      • Customer interviews - focus on uncovering emotional and psychological drivers
  • Practical Golden Rules for Shadowing/Interviewing:
    • Get permission if you’re going to record
    • Keep things informal and human - imagine they’re a friendly neighbor
    • Ask open-ended questions - get them talking
    • Practice active listening - stay in the present moment, analyze later
    • Ask why - follow up vague or general answers by asking them to explain more
    • Use an audio or video recorder - don’t miss an important point because you couldn’t type or write fast enough

  • Perform this research to truly understand your customer and judge if your solution will make a difference in their lives
  • Shadow someone to directly observe their behavior in person

Create Customer Archetypes

Describe how to turn dirty anthropology into deep insight. Define what an archetype is and how to use them. Summarize how to create meaningful archetypes.
  • Synthesis for Meaningful Insight
    • Following the section above, a BA may have many notes and a camera full of photos and videos. Next step is to draw conclusions.
  • Step 1: Capture and Cluster Insights
    • Look for meaningful anecdotes including:
      • Direct quotes that capture emotional/behavioral insight
      • Recurring themes that relate to actions, opinions, pain points, etc
      • Blind spots you were unaware of
      • Validation and confirmation of hypotheses with evidence
    • Flag these instances and highlight them visually on the wall
  • Step 2: Edit and Refine Your Patterns and Themes
    • From hotel example:
      • Low-hanging fruit: themes for guests' desired experience: “speed, convenience, feeling understood and cared for”
      • Deeper themes: many customers complain about
        • Hassles of packing the right thing for weather/activities
        • Not wanting to take more than fits in a carry-on
        • Needing to go shopping when on vacation/business trip
      • Deeper themes may offer opportunities for product design/development
  • Creating Archetypes
    • Archetypes are “types” of people. Ex: mischievous child, prince. If one of these is invoked during a story, audience understands the their character, attitudes, behavior intuitively
      • Can also represent a market segment. Ex: DIYers, window shoppers
    • Archetypes are distinct from Personas, which are fictionalized characters that primarily represent demographic characteristics (Ex Persona: 30-year old front-desk associate who works part time at a dance studio, pursuing Associates at night)
    • From hotel example, BA may arrive at three guest archetypes:
      • Proud Planners: love planning, organization, spreadsheets
      • Wistful Worriers: Get nervous about how much needs to be done, have a laundry list of things that went wrong after the stay
      • Dauntless Delegators: Want others to take care of all the details and just enjoy their time

  • Seeking out recurring themes, including pain points (discrepancies between people’s perceptions and their expressed reality) may reveal deep insight
  • Always look for data that confirms or upsets your hypotheses during note capture and clustering
  • Personas represent demographics, archetypes represent behavior
  • Purpose of an archetype is to represent behaviors and habits exhibited by a market segment throughout the design process

Give Your Customers the Future Now

Describe futurecasting and why we do it. List three tactics for futurecasting. Describe how to integrate a futurecast into your process.
  • Future is Now
    • Steve Jobs/Henry Ford taught that customers generally just want small improvements to what exists today (faster horse-drawn carriages)
    • Innovators seek out and sense trends, technologies, larger forces that change how we live years into the future - this is futurecasting
    • Futurecasting - identifying game-changing solutions that disrupt markets, reset our expectations of how things work, and seize competitive advantage
  • What is a Futurecast?
    • A Futurecast - mashup of trends, phenomena, and predictions that create a compelling argument or case for change. Examples:
      • Global societal shifts - increase in smartphone users
      • Cultural trends and implications - car sharing companies
      • Industry trends, evidence, implications - “universal key” you don’t need to carry at a hotel
  • Reframe your original challenge with insight and foresight:
    1. Refer to your original “How Might We” Question
      • Rewrite the original “How Might We” questions in as many ways as possible
      • Discuss and prioritize the various questions
    2. Reconsider Your V2MOM in the Context of your new “How Might We” Question
      • How relevant is your original vision? Is there now a deeper insight to pursue?
      • Did you values change?
      • Any new methods? Obstacles?
      • What measures will you use to track progress?
  • As changes are made to V2MOM, circulate and validate it with stakeholders. Align and get excited.
    • At this point, you have a design challenge and vision to rally stakeholders and innovation team, and you can put insights into action

  • Now, report discoveries and insights to steering committee:
    • Who are your archetypes? How were they developed?
    • What challenges exist today that you’re solving?
    • How can we support the archetypes tomorrow?
    • What does the future hold for the business? What are some predictions to consider?

  • Futurecasting - fishing for future opportunities that will give us a competitive advantage
  • Futurecast before ideating in order to future-proof your innovation work
  • What’s a good example of an activity to help you futurecast? Collect the latest weird and wacky cultural experiences in your city
  • A futurecast impacts your innovation process by stretching your team to create a bolder and more relevant “How Might We” quest to drive innovation