Future Proof YOur Digital Product –
UX Research + Strategic Foresight
As a product manager, director of product, even CEO, you may be thinking that getting through today, this week, maybe this month is enough. Why should you think about future-proofing? Because it’s the key that unlocks growth, innovation, and long-term success.
As a product manager, director of product, even CEO, you may be thinking that getting through today, this week, maybe this month is enough. Why should you think about future-proofing?
Phew! You did it! You launched your bold new idea, redesign or pivot. Phew…but wait, there’s more.
We need to ask the question, what next? How will this solution hold up in 3, 5 and 10 years? It sounds a little crazy in digital products to be thinking three years out, let alone ten. But when companies do, they tend to have higher profits — 33 percent higher! — and average more growth — 200 percent more!
Sounds too good to be true? Nope. This information comes from a study called Corporate foresight and its impact on firm performance: A longitudinal analysis (Rohrbeck et al) Note: the study also found that firms who did not do strategic foresight suffered performance decreases of 37% to 108%. Ouch.
So how can NextWAVE help you get there? Through a combination of a program of user research and applying strategic foresight tools to the findings.
It looks something like this:
In any one-on-one user research setting, participants will provide two kinds of insights:
Two Types of Insights
- Direct findings related to the study question – so, that includes usability insights observations related to how useful or compelling the product or feature is. You will also gather information about the user’s behaviour, motivations and values related to the current context.
- Participants will also “leak” signals that we can use for future forecasting. They will say one thing and do another. They will talk about how something makes them feel, describe their contexts and their wishes for them. These are all signals, that gathered over time, will allow us to see around corners and develop robust long-term visions and roadmaps.
How does this work?
We will create a user research program. Usually, quarterly research engagements including usability testing, contextual inquiry, ethnographies or diary studies. The specific mix of research methods and timing is based on the current product needs and the relative volatility of the market space you’re in.
Each research outing yields two data sets:
- A set of findings to improve the current product. These may be things like how well a specific feature is working, whether users can complete a task successfully, how participants respond to the overall look and feel.
- The other is a set of signals that we will analyze using strategic foresight tools. Signals are not necessarily strong or expressed across many users in one research engagement. But across multiple engagements, we can start to develop a clear picture of the signals, what’s important to note and what is merely a fad. We will use these to develop and update the long-term vision and roadmap for the product.
A trusted partner
Ah, but time. Who has the time for all this? Of course you don’t have time to do all these studies and analyses. That’s where NextWAVE comes in. We will take on the heavy lifting to get the studies done, but will work with you to help you implement the direct findings and to understand the signals.
Our aim at NextWAVE is to develop long-term, trusted partnerships with our clients.