We always knew that there was a risk with the channels research that we wouldn’t be able to break through from people’s experience of how they actually receive services from DWP to how they might do so in future. We then increased the risk by using telephone-based, rather than face-to-face, interviewing. So as we we wait for the results – and with early indications that 90+% of respondents see forms as part of the glorious service future, advice on holding our nerve:
Most of us realize that focus groups are notoriously ineffective for many things, but we still assume that listening to real feedback from real users is the best way to drive new products and services, as well as improve on what we have. But there’s a huge problem with that — people don’t necessarily know how to ask for something they’ve never conceived of! Most people make suggestions based entirely around incremental improvements, looking at what exists and thinking about how it could be better. But that’s quite different from having a vision for something profoundly new.
True innovation will rarely come from what users say directly.
This doesn’t mean that you don’t listen to users–because the truth is embedded in what they say…but you have to look for the deeper meaning behind what they ask for, rather than always taking them at their word. If they ask for "D", as an improvement to "C", you might have to dig deeper to find out what it is about "D" that they want. And in that answer, you might find the nugget that leads you–and only you–to come up with "S" as a solution. And the "S" solution looks nothing at all like "D", but gets to the heart of what users really wanted and needed when they asked for "D".
In the end, you might have to trust yourself, even in the face of users who either want more than you know would be good or something less or different than you know you can offer if you keep innovating in revolutionary–not just incremental–ways.
From Creating Passionate Users – and don’t let the initial emphasis on horse training be too much of a distraction.