I discussed in my previous post how understanding the ways in which your customers engage with your products and services is a great way to draw out improvements and opportunities for innovation. Watching them engage with your offerings in their natural environment is the key, and Dave Pollard has identified 5 things to look for when carrying out observational research; otherwise known as 'ethnography' or even 'customer anthropology'.
- Workarounds - things people do that the existing product, process, tool or facility was never designed to accommodate, but which helps them to get the job done that they need to do.
- User torture - Evidence of obvious customer discomfort, either physical or psychological
- Obstacles and barriers - Signs that people can't do their job because of a physical or procedural barrier.
- Repurposed objects - Tools designed for one thing have been appropriated to do something else.
- Wear patterns - Evidence of stress or overuse in the product