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Improve your innovation successes with a method for better user need statements

Tom Verbist

Senior Manager Innovation & Service Design
This method helps your team understand and articulate the user needs that your product will serve. By getting user needs right, you can drastically reduce complexity, cost and risk of your innovation efforts. Using an adapted version of the jobs-to-be-done concept, this article will help you in constructing them.

Why use this method?

According to research, a lack of product-market fit is the top reason why new initiatives and start-ups fail. It means that the market is not aware or in search of a solution for the needs covered in your product. So to increase the chance of success in innovations, a company has to find and define problems that are relevant for their target audience. But in while doing the problem definition, companies often encounter a subtle but very influential hurdle: commonly, there's no consensus about what a user need is, or how to formulate it effectively. And because of this ambiguity, unclear objectives may be produced and valuable time or effort is risking to be wasted on lengthy discussions and ineffective iterations. A way to deal with this, is to be mindful of the language used when creating the user need statements. This method will help you master that language, which is adapted from the idea of "jobs-to-be-done".
Group of people at an innovation workshop hunched over a laptop with sticky notes

How to get started with this method?

  1. Create a physical or digital space to map out your ideas.
  2. Create a physical or digital template for the phrase used in the method.
  3. Use the perspective of the consumer and try to come up with as many statements as possible for the first part of the total expression.
  4. Keep track of the data used to come up with them and make sure it is somehow traceable to each statement. If no data is used, ensure that team members are made aware the statement is an assumption.
  5. If necessary, validate assumed needs through adequate research methods.
  6. Organize a review to filter out and select the most relevant statements. Ensure that both the voice of the user and the company leadership are adequately represented when doing this.
  7. Enrich the selected statements with the second part of the total expression.
  8. When statements are complete, translate the rather technical expressions to better suit the needs of follow-up activities, such as design sprints or market research.

This digital whiteboard will guide you through the entire proces. To navigate it, click-and-drag and zoom. Or alternatively, find it on Miroverse.

 
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Tom Verbist

Senior Manager Innovation & Service Design

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