Yesterday I was having a conversation with a soon to be former colleague of mine. I will miss her. She’s an outstanding person, a great member of our team, and a solid and reliable professional.
Our conversation drifted to her future plans. She told me that she had no particular plans at the current moment. Her wish was to step back to allow her to better find the right next path.
She did share an interesting idea:
“I’m thinking of becoming a broker of unmet needs. Someone who works with startups to help them find and monitor the unmet needs in the market.
The idea is intriguing: “Getting out of the building as a service”.
The value of ethnographic research is, at its deepest levels, to uncover the unmet needs of people. Human centered research allows us to identify real needs. With human centered research we are able to build products that people actually want.
We often believe that the ideas we come up with match the needs of the customers. Statistics clearly show that this is a fallacy:
9 out of 10 startups fail.
I used to think that I could sit behind the desk and understand the world and the people in it. I relied on Gartner, Forrester, annual reports, etc. I no longer believe so….and haven’t believed it for years.
There is definitely value in strong non-human centered data. You must use it appropriately. An example: Don’t take the segmentation for granted. Consider instead the data from a jobs-to-be-done perspective.
Having said this, to understand if an idea meets a real need you need deep human centered research. Get out of the building and start listening and observing.
And if you need an expert to help you uncover unmet needs and find the next big idea let me know and I will connect you.