What happens if you don’t do customer discovery properly

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I thought I’d start a post with a few collected #thinslicing hacks, rather than randomly post them to Twitter and get lost in a sea of noise. Anyhow…

University of Life (UOL) hack: you only see the cause of a problem, after you’ve solved the problem, without knowing what the cause of the problem was exactly. At college they teach you you need to discover the cause, then apply the appropriate solution. But at the University of Life they understand things aren’t usually that clear cut. And in fact they’re only clear after you’ve solved the problem.

Application of this UOL hack: this isn’t anything new, just another way of saying value creative problem solving, as your business is unique don’t expect the expensive consultant, or off the peg software solution is going to do the job without you first doing the dirty work of understanding the nature of the problem from the inside out

Example: at one medical imaging startup I was involved, Medicexchange from its launch in 2006, we’d failed to get traction with our customer base, despite initial professional market research and despite a market value of $15m by 2007. So we called in Atos Healthcare to figure it out for us. What we really needed to do was talk with medical imaging staff on the ground, and find out if our mini-use licence solution was what they really needed. While we did commission imarket research, we didn’t ever ask individual paying customers what they thought of the product in any meaningful way. Atos didn’t seriously suggest that customer discovery approach either. We failed.

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