world of VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity) which changes
very fast, it is necessary to understand the latest needs to develop new projects.
It is increasingly important to meet users’ real needs and differentiate from the existing product to be successful and have a competitive advantage in the market.
Understanding need includes the needs of the user as well as understanding the need of different stakeholders in the project. Therefore, this article examines how we can integrate users and stakeholders into the innovation project development process in various ways and methods.
Including the user
the product from a real and unmet need is one of the most important factors to
reduce the distance between product and the market.
it is important to reveal not only the clearly presented needs in user
research, but also implicit, hidden, unmet needs in different ways for the
success of the project.
different tools and methods can be used to understand the needs of users and to
find out these needs. In this section, research methods were examined under the
title of design thinking method to indicate the phases in product development
processes and to emphasize which research method is more appropriate also in
design thinking method.
problem does it solve?
It helps to
prevent problems such as starting from one's own need, finding solutions to a
limited need, addressing a need that already exists in a different way, and
addressing an outdated problem.
Thinking and User Research Methods
Thinking is one of the processes developed by IDEO that aims to reach the
product/benefit/design by focusing on people.
CEO of IDEO, explains this approach as “Design thinking is a human-centred
innovation approach that draws from designer’s toolkit to integrate the needs
of people, the possibilities of technology and the requirements for business success.
consists of 6 steps.
6-steps, many different methods can be used to involve the user into the
process. The table contains method names according to te stages, and in the
next part, the research methods are examined in detail.
Interview: It is a method of interactive
communication in which the interviewer asks prepared questions on a specific
subject. This method is usually performed face-to-face, the participants'
thoughts on the subject are obtained qualitatively. Since the interviews with
the person is carried out one-o-one, the effect of social norms reduces from
the interview output, more in-depth information is gathered.
Ethnography: It can be defined as a method of
collecting information without interfering to the user's own personal space.
Normally, anthropologists have been using this method of research for a long
time can take weeks, months or even years. In product development process, the information
can be collected by observation, interview, video recording methods or photos.
The most appropriate methods that can be used in product development processes
can be considered “Netnography”, “Cultural Probes”, “Diary Studies”,
Group: In the focus
group method, the moderator guides the discussion with questions on a
particular topic with a group of target users. With this method, spontaneous
reactions of group participants are revealed. Spontaneous responses are
important to understand users' initial perception on a specific subject.
Survey: Survey is one of the quantitative
research methods, data is obtained with the answers given by the users. The
survey method may include data about the user's interest and how to behave
under certain conditions. If the survey is carried out during the test phase,
the user's ideas and behaviours about the product/idea/concept data are
Journey: The user
journey and the target user's entire interaction with the product are
thoroughly studied and the user's thoughts, feelings and behaviours are analyzed
at all stages of the user experience.
Persona: Persona is the representation of
the target user who uses the product. Persona contributes to life of the person
who uses the product in terms of representation, creates an opinion on what to
focus on in terms of developing the product and it can be incorporated into
Map: A map created
to determine what the target user sees, hears, does and thinks, and most
importantly, their pains and gains. Data is created especially to capture
points of opportunity and provide insights to focus on.
Developing an Idea
with the participants: Idea development methods can be applied with the target user. The
solutions developed in a multifaceted way with people from different
professional groups taking part in the sessions are shaped together with the
comments of the users.
availability test measures how much and how the target user performs the tasks
given when using the product. Availability tests can be performed in two
different ways as qualitatively and quantitatively.
Test: It is done to
evaluate two or more different designs to find out which one is more effective.
Assessment: It is
the method by which two or more experts evaluate the product according to
Including Internal Customers and Stakeholders
cooperation &collaboration in product development process, it is
especially important to receive stakeholder support who will take part in the
project adopt it, participate in different stages or be informed about the
Who is this
stakeholder? A stakeholder is a person, group or organization that will affect
or be affected by the decisions of the project output, the entire development process,
and its output.
important information with the appropriate stakeholders, the project team
should be able to obtain approval for the innovation project to be developed so
that it can be can understood the expectations and barriers of the customer and
potential stakeholders and integrate them into the process at the beginning of
problem does it solve?
stakeholders to be informed, adopt the project, and participate into its
can be grouped according to their interest in the project and their strength on
the project as per stakeholder table. Communication can be ensured in different
ways according to the categories in these groups. In the table, the ways of
inclusion according to the groups are indicated and they are explained in
it with minimum effort
Informing: Informing can be made face-to-face
such as presentation and panel, or it can be prepared in the form of
promotional documents as hard copy and online. The important thing here is to
raise awareness in related person.
- Informing Regularly
Interviews and surveys can be conducted face-to-face or online. It can be done
at the beginning of the project to understand the expectations or to get
feedback in the later stages of the project. Different methods can be used such
as qualitative and quantitative, for different purposes.
Stakeholders can be included in idea generation phase of the project. So that
the stakeholders carry their knowledge and opinions to the idea stage of the
project and adopt it.
Group Study: Focus
group study can be done to understand the needs and expectations of
stakeholders. These studies can also be used to make stakeholders understand
each other's expectations, enable them to discuss and put forward agreed topics.
Workshop: Stakeholders can be included in the
preparation phase of the project and strategy development stage such as problem
analysis workshop, participatory design workshops and brainstorming. Workshops
prepared in advance for the specified purpose are beneficial to understand the
subject better and contribute at important points.
Stakeholders can be included in the project according to their competencies.
The stakeholders involved in the project contribute as a business, contribute
by intervening where necessary, and therefore their feeling of ownership and
into decision: It
is especially important to include stakeholders who are interested and have a
high impact on the project into the decision-making process at important points
of the project. Voting at certain key points, allowing them contribute verbally
to decision-making stages, increases both their own knowledge about the project
and the level of their satisfaction about the result.