Do you contribute to strategy, pivot, or innovation decisions? Are you a UX designer looking to make ethical, supportive design decisions? Make sure you bring in perspectives outside your own, so your products & services support the complexity & diversity of human thinking.
People in product design, management, ownership, and strategy generally have an ability to see problems with the way things work and aspire to fix them. They want to make an experience better. They persevere through the struggle of pulling a product or service together, energized by this “make-it-better” fervor and idealism. Their work is also tempered by the reality of the organization needing to sustain itself and be successful: profit, attention, loyalty, expansion, hiring, growth. People working in this complex environment, have historically focused on the solutions they make. For every successful solution, there is a problem. Mental model diagrams, behavioral audience segments, the front end of Jobs to be Done, or Outcomes, or Design Thinking … all these techniques explore the problem space. The goal is to illuminate the intents and purposes of a diversity of humans and help organizations deeply understand assorted human reasoning–and support it. (Regrettably, there are some organizations that follow dark patterns to achieve manipulation instead of support.)
Organizations are starting to realize they’ve not invested enough in understanding the problem space. They’ve been spending budget studying their solution, its design, and its use through quantitative and qualitative methods. Now leading-edge organizations are also investing in problem-space research. Not every organization understands the risk of their own assumptions, the misleading correlations they steer by, nor how confidence in data is achieved in the social sciences. But when they do, they realize problem-space research is necessary. And they educate themselves about when it’s needed and when it’s not. Exploring the problem space is not a part of the product cycle. It’s a separate background effort about developing empathy and meaning that is evergreen and continuously growing in small increments.