Generative research methods such as diary studies, mobile ethnography, and IDIs drive innovation by providing rich insights into users’ real-world behaviors, attitudes, and experiences. By leveraging these methods, companies can create innovative products and services that resonate with users, gaining them a competitive advantage in the marketplace.
Generative research & innovation
Generative user research methods are powerful innovation tools that are uniquely suited to identify unmet needs, which are the seeds of innovation. By gaining a deep understanding of user behaviors, intentions, and pain points through real-world research, companies can create novel products and services that align with the needs of their customers.
Mobile ethnography provides deep insights into people’s behaviors and experiences captured through their personal smartphones. By observing how people use products and services in their everyday lives, researchers can identify pain points, unmet needs, and opportunities for innovation.
Mobile ethnography captures rich data about context, emotions, and environmental factors affecting people’s behaviors and experiences. This can inform the design of new products or services that fit seamlessly into people’s lives and better meet their needs. For example, if mobile ethnography reveals that people are using a product unexpectedly, designers can adjust portions of the product to accommodate these newly discovered use cases.
Mobile ethnography can also help pinpoint emerging trends or shifts in consumer behavior. By tracking usage, researchers can identify patterns and changes that may signal new opportunities for innovation. For example, if mobile ethnography reveals that people are increasingly using a particular product feature, designers can prioritize iterating that feature to meet customer needs better.
Overall, mobile ethnography can drive innovation by guiding product development, identifying emerging trends, and inspiring new ideas. With this generative research method, companies gain a competitive advantage by creating products and services that align with real users.
When to use mobile ethnography
- To investigate the real usage of a product or service in different contexts and environments
- To understand the emotional experiences of users in real-time
- To gather feedback from users as they use a product or service in their natural environment
- To explore the impact of external factors on user behavior and experiences
- To test and refine prototypes or early-stage product designs
- To assess the effectiveness of an existing product or service in real-world settings
- To identify patterns and trends in user behavior or experiences
In-depth interviews (IDIs) involve one-on-one conversations between a researcher and a participant, allowing the researcher to probe deeply into the participant’s thoughts and feelings.
By conducting IDIs, researchers can gain a nuanced understanding of users’ everyday lives and what they truly need. These rich insights can inform the development of new products or services that better meet the target audience’s needs. For example, suppose IDIs reveal that customers are frustrated with a certain aspect of a product, such as a poor interface design. In that case, designers can prioritize improving that feature to make the product more user-friendly.
Subsequently, IDIs identify unmet needs or opportunities of users. By asking open-ended questions and exploring their experiences in detail, researchers may discover gaps in the market or areas where a product or service is falling short. Findings such as these may prompt companies to pivot into new domains or iterate on current features and designs.
When to use IDIs
- To understand individual perspectives on a new product or service
- To explore sensitive topics, such as health issues or personal finances
- To conduct in-depth market research to inform product design or marketing strategies
- To understand the decision-making processes of individual users
- To understand how users will respond to a new product or service in development
- To discover niche markets or highly specific user groups
- To identify user pain points or unmet needs in a particular market or industry
Diary studies are best used to give insightful data about product or service usage over a period of time. Participants in diary studies are asked to log their experience, providing a rich source of qualitative data that can inform product development, identify pain points, and inspire new ideas.
By analyzing logs, researchers gain a deep understanding of how people use products or services in their everyday daily lives uncovering gaps, frustrations, and unmet needs. For example, if diary studies reveal that participants struggle with a particular product feature, designers can prioritize improving that feature to meet customer needs better. By tracking the usage of products or services over a period of days, weeks, or months, findings may inspire new product ideas or prompt companies to pivot into new ventures to meet customer needs.
When it comes to diary studies, companies benefit from seeing how users interact and use products in their daily lives. With remote diary studies, researchers can start unveiling these findings early on and ideate possible solutions that may tap into these unmet needs. As a result, diary studies are a powerful tool companies weld when looking to gain an advantage over competitors by truly meeting customers’ needs.
When to use diary studies
- To understand the everyday habits and routines of users
- To track long-term usage patterns of a product or service
- To investigate how users interact with a product or service over time
- To gather real-time feedback about usage
- To understand usage across different contexts
- To gain insight into the emotions that arise during usage
- To test and refine prototypes or early-stage product designs
Generative research methods like in-depth interviews (IDIs), mobile ethnography, and diary studies provide a comprehensive view of users’ real experiences and behaviors as they go about their everyday lives. IDIs supply insights into individual perspectives, while mobile ethnography and diary studies capture daily activities and experiences. By analyzing data from these methods, researchers can better construct what their audiences look like, allowing them to create personas or define segments. These generative methods are also a powerful tool for researchers who need to uncover new insights and unmet needs that spark innovative products and features.