issue #2 – teams jump to ideas & solutions

bon tempe reservoir full in january 2015

In business, there always seems to be the latest silver bullet methodology. It gets a lot of attention, articles, and talks. It works well in certain situations and these successes get written up. Everyone wants to be like the company with the success, so they adopt the methodology. But like nutrition, a healthy organization consumes inspiration and understanding from a balanced variety of sources.

In terms of digital product/service design, these sources appear in a typical quadrant: quantitative and qualitative (numbers and words, or “what” and “why”) juxtaposed with evaluative and generative (test and conceive). There are methods that fit into each box created by this quadrant.

There is another dimension that can be added to the quadrant: solution space versus problem space. The methods of listening sessions to develop cognitive empathy and create mental model diagrams or behavioral audience segments fall into the box created by intersecting the problem space with qualitative, generative investigation.

Four cubes arranged into quadrants, to show different categories of product research techniques; where there is quantitative and qualitative along the y-axis, evaluative and generative along the x-axissame quadrants as in other diagram, but with addition of z-axis, which is divided into solution-focused and problem-facing

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. But they haven’t balanced that by understanding the problems people are trying to solve in the first place–the bigger problems. Understanding the problem space takes different skills than traditional user research.

What’s our best fit?

quick research help

“We’re trying to explore the problem space, but we’ve run into problems. Can you double check what we’re doing?”
quick help

mentor the team

“We want to make sure we do the research right. And we want the skills in-house so we can keep exploring.”
mentor the team

custom research

“We want to explore something, but we don’t have the cycles to get involved. We want answers that are credible.”
custom research

training & coaching

“We want to do solid problem space research. We want a workshop or coaching to tighten up our skills.”
training & coaching

sign up for the newsletter; click here