Field research values

Some elements that struck me as very pertinent in Jan Chipchase's slides (from a presentation called "Always-On: An Introduction to Design Research for Everyware" delivered at Ideo, Palo Alto, 5th March, 2007). The elements that interest me are the ones that concern the transfer from field research to design, a recurrent topic in my work.

"Where's the value?

Best case: inform and inspire the design process about what (and what not) to design, supported by rich, relevant real world examples, challenge given assumptions, guide strategy, spot weak signals, and generally raise awareness across the company on a particular topic. Generate IP.

However the data inherently doesn’t have value... unless we are constantly re-evaluating the information that people need. The value comes from the conversations that happen day, weeks, months or years after the research has taken place. How do you design a study so that data from that study can be accessed long after the study, and the team members have left? The value comes from this continuous re-evaluation of what we know.

Your report is just another piece of data that people need to consider. People are smart – give them the ammunition to be smarter. Your deliverables compete with: their assumptions, reports from other sources, pre-conceptions about your research methods. Pick holes in your own research results, and give clients the ammunition to make an informed choice.

Start by delivering what people expect you to deliver. Then figure out the value added - the stuff that happens around the edges of what you’re looking at."

Why do I blog this? some good elements to think about and definitely food for thoughts for current projects.