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Imagining what's next: using ethnographic design research to predict future product needs

Imagining what's next: using ethnographic design research to predict future product needs

Ethnographic design research gives us a way of developing a deeper understanding of our users. In the present, ethnographic techniques can help us understand our current users - to give us the empathy we need to realign existing products with people's needs and values. However, if we're looking for future opportunities and new customers, the same techniques can be used to identify unmet needs, the value frameworks of future customers and the outlying behaviour that could become mainstream.

This session will start by looking at ethnographic design research techniques like diary studies, shadowing and cultural probes. We'll provide practical examples of using these techniques so that participants can apply them in their own work and we'll tell you about some of the surprising environments that we've been into through the course of projects, looking at connected home appliances, retail environments and medical devices.

Fieldwork is only part of the story, though. Next, we'll take a look at the analysis technques that draw out future needs and help you predict how behaviours currently shown by early adopters move to the mainstream. We'll examine behavioural modelling, trend analysis and provide examples of the types of analysis we apply to outlying user groups or analogous environments to identify future directions for new products and services.

Finally, we'll discuss how these insights can inspire the invention of future products and services. We'll build on the case studies discussed to show how the insights and trends from research led to the final products and services.

Paul Jervis Heath

June 08, 2016

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  1. MODERN HUMAN ANTICIPATING FUTURE NEEDS Paul-Jervis Heath Founding Principal and

    Chief Designer
 UX Scotland on Wednesday 8 June 2016 MODERN HUMAN
  2. MODERN HUMAN MODERN HUMAN We imagine what’s next. We’re a

    boutique design practice and innovation consultancy that specialises in imagining disruptive new products, services and experiences and then making them a reality. http://modernhuman.co @modhuman #futureneeds
  3. MODERN HUMAN Diary study The aim of a diary study

    is to record experiences, thoughts and activities over a period of time. It brings you as close as possible to your participants without actually being there.
  4. MODERN HUMAN Shadowing Shadowing is one of the key design

    research methods we use at Modern Human, because it allows us to observe real behaviour. By directly observing participants we are able to get a deeper understanding of their needs.
  5. MODERN HUMAN Other ethnographic research methods _ Contextual Interviews _

    Expert interviews _ Direct experience _ Analogous experiences _ Guided tours _ Cultural probes

    @modhuman #futureneeds Adapted from: Diffusion of Innovations, Everett M Rogers. (1962). Crossing the Chasm, Geoffrey Moore. (1991).
  7. MODERN HUMAN Research highlights The first step in moving from

    Immerse mode into Inspire mode is to identify your research highlights - the information that is significant to your project, any emergent patterns you witnessed, and any interesting one-offs or outliers.
  8. MODERN HUMAN WORKAROUNDS Quick, seemingly efficient solutions that address the

    symptoms of a problem not the root cause. VALUES People’s values play an important role in their motivations. What do they value? What’s important to them? What’s not? INERTIA Situations in which customers act out of habit. How can you leverage or break that inertia? SHOULD VS WANT The tension between things they crave in the moment and things they know are good for them. How can you help people move from where they are to where they want to be? What are we looking for? http://modernhuman.co @modhuman #futureneeds
  9. MODERN HUMAN Sharing observations During the course of your design

    research, each of your team members will have seen, heard and learned about lots of different needs, goals, behaviours, values, decision- making strategies and motivations.
  10. MODERN HUMAN _ Don’t try and think about everything at

    once. Find a good place to start. _ Don’t focus on the obvious. There’s a risk that you just confirm your own preconceptions and prejudices. _ Start with unexpected observations. _ Why is this a pattern? Why is it unexpected? Why is it meaningful? Look for the unexpected and ask why? http://modernhuman.co @modhuman #futureneeds
  11. MODERN HUMAN _ Intuitive _ Not obvious _ Generative _

    Sticky A good insight is… http://modernhuman.co @modhuman #futureneeds
  12. MODERN HUMAN Turning insights into models A model is a

    visualisation of your data. After sharing your findings, your team will have a huge amount of unorganised data. Creating models to encapsulate your observations will help you to organise your information, and may also clarify complex patterns within your research data.
  13. MODERN HUMAN http://modernhuman.co @modhuman THE WEST CAMBRIDGE HUB AND HALO

  14. MODERN HUMAN _ has a point of view _ considers

    the audience _ is designed for impact Any good research deliverable… http://modernhuman.co @modhuman #futureneeds
  15. MODERN HUMAN _ Takeaways are typically emerge late in the

    process. _ They become apparent as you pivot from understanding the current state of your customer experience to envisioning the future state. _ There are different takeaways you could include, but they should answer the questions “So what?” and “What now?” Incorporate clear takeaways http://modernhuman.co @modhuman #futureneeds
  16. MODERN HUMAN Moving to design There comes a point in

    the process where you naturally transition from observing and understanding to using the insights and models you have identified to inspire ideas for design interventions.