Discovery – half way point learnings

This week marked the halfway point of the first stage (Discovery) of the case I’m currently working with. We are three weeks in and have three more weeks to go. So what have I learnt about the process so far?

(Lingo: We refer to experiments as almost any effort we make to test an idea. I.e. customer interviews are experiments, landing pages tests are experiments. Internal activities such as brainstorming sessions are not experiments)

Six weeks is a short time period, two to three experiment might me reasonable

Our Discovery process aims to find evidence of Desirability in the idea. This narrow scope is one of the reasons we believe 6 weeks is long enough. In our process we want to work in iterations, finding a problem and then exploring it with various experiments. Before starting the Discovery process my naive ambition was to run one experiment per week.

The first experiment we wanted to run were exploratory interviews. Since I mainly work with two-sided marketplaces we knew we needed to interview at least 2 groups of people, the “supply side” and the “demand side”. However due to lead times in finding the right customer to interview, contacting them and setting up meetings the first external interviews were held at the end of week 2.

In week 3 the interviews has started for real. Me and my colleague ran ~20 interviews with both business customers as well as consumers. Especially during week 2 and 3 our tempo has been high. However the one experiment per week that was our ambition was not feasible in this case. 

Six weeks are likely a long enough period to run between 3 to 4 experiments. Maybe future experiments will take less time than interviews and that number can increase further but right now 3 to 4 seems like a good ambition.

Start booking interviews right away

One learning then, is to really start booking up interviews during the first day of the case. This is especially true if the target customers are businesses which typically have longer lead times to get in contact with. 

So next time, I won’t worry too much about reaching out to a “wrong segment”, the important thing is just to start booking up interviews.

Exploratory interviews are great

When trying to learn about new markets and finding problems to solve, exploratory interviews are great. Especially when interviewing people from various backgrounds you can easily start to pick up themes that can serve as hypotheses further on.

Pivot to more hypothesis driven research

As great as exploratory interviews are there is a risk of “over exploring” where you don’t really commit to a certain problem. Tomorrow (1st day of week 4) we will shift gears and commit to one of the user problems that has arisen. We will also start exploring a solution to those problems. We are open that the solution might change. The reason we are doing this is to get deeper into the problems and to do this we need to focus more narrowly. 

All in all, this process is really fun, creative and also a bit challenging. I’m looking forward to the coming weeks. Next week I will probably not write a post so see you in two weeks!

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