Monday, August 5, 2013

Design Thinking: Observing Extreme Users 1

Last week we had the privilege of attending a training called Design Thinking.  The training establishment, Experience Point, created the entire training session on the methodology of IDEO, one of the most distinguished design firms that have come up with innovative designs we everyday like the Keep the Change program at the Bank of America.

A bunch of blogs and startup readings, have been about getting out of the building and talking to customers.  At Bimotics, we have constantly talked with small business owners of all types about almost anything- our business idea, our tagline, our data sources we want to connect.  Sometimes we got an excited response and sometimes the person simply didn’t get it.  Getting to talk to anyone that will hear us out was always appreciated, but I can’t say the talks were always helpful. There was continued ambiguity on how to put what a business owner was saying in a context that made sense.

In the design thinking training, I learned the concept of observing the extreme users.  Extreme users are those that fall outside of the normal 80% if you are looking at a normal distribution. The extreme user is on both sides of the 80%. The first group represents the users that love and have completely adopted and live the subject you are studying. The other group represents the users that never use or care about the subject.  

Observing these groups is the key to getting real insight. You can see the difference between each extreme user. This can help provide context needed to get more quality insight. Being able to observe the right group requires a bit of profiling and a clear understanding of what you want to learn. Observing is not just having conversations with random users.  It is almost opposite, it is about consciously being objective and simply trying to understand how the user ticks.  When you have a conversation you may instill bias unintentionally.  

Looking forward to applying design thinking principles to Bimotics.

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