Materials before session #2. Approximate time – 4 hours

1.     Corporate entrepreneurship

To prepare yourself for the presentation of Juha Lipponen we ask you to read about the challenges of corporate entrepreneurship - article

2.     Design thinking

Design thinking (or user-centric design approach or product design or UX design – multiple definitions of the same mindset to create product or solutions) is an integral part of entrepreneurship. “Thinking like a designer can transform the way organizations develop products, services, processes, and strategy. This approach, which is known as design thinking, brings together what is desirable from a human point of view with what is technologically feasible and economically viable”. Tim Brown, CEO of IDEO. Using the methods of design thinking one can come up with disruptive ideas and solutions for them and not waste resources on producing something that will not bring any value to the potential users / company. Design thinking work is done in cycles in an iterative matter, where testing ideas, and assumptions quickly and as early as possible helps to eliminate costly mistakes in the later phases (Brown 2008) which is crucial for entrepreneurship activity that can’t continue without a lean approach towards scare resources.

Start with

Stages in the design thinking process -,Ideate%2C%20Prototype%2C%20and%20Test.

What is human-centred design  -

3.     Why we need user research in the product development process

What is user research?

User research lies at the core of design thinking. The design thinking method assumes that during the process of product/ solutions development we interact with our potential users multiple times. Every product has a potential user. Any entrepreneurial journey starts by trying to understand who will be your users and customers and what the user’s needs are. Entrepreneurs start business development by user research to avoid costly mistake if the future solution will not fulfil the user’s needs and, thus, the business will fail. When the user’s needs are clear and the team is working on the solution, it is crucial to get back to the users to test the prototypes of the solution.

User research aims to build a solid understanding of your potential users and customers. Your business (or innovational solution) will fly only if you will find a real user with a real need and create a solution to address that need.

Often new businesses are based on the idea(s) of the founders. If the founders have a good idea, is user research then needed? User research is critically needed to check and validate all the initial assumptions that the founders have had about the business idea. It's important to understand that you are not your user. Thus, you have to do the user research to get into the shoes of your potential users, otherwise, you might be building a product or service that only you appreciate.

Doing user research

User research has many facets to dive deep into the context of the user’s problem to reach all the levels of user understanding. Often the problem that you see (or assume a user has) is only the symptom and is the consequence of a different root cause problem that you have to find by doing the research.

To get a holistic vision of users and their needs, different types of research methods and tools could be used. A great starting point for user research is an open-ended (or focus) interview. Conducting an open-ended interview has two challenges: finding the relevant people (or other stakeholders, such as companies) and then doing the actual interview. In the early stages, it is prudent to try to cover as broad a spectrum of user-profiles as you can. The aim here is not to find the right quantity of potential users to interview, but the diversity of potential users profiles that will provide you with different points of view on the topic you are researching. As your understanding of the users improves, you can then become more selective in your choice of interview subjects.

Data gathered through interviews should open up your understanding of the topic, provide you with many insights that you didn’t know before. But remember, that you should ask people neutral questions about the topic without pre-set answers or any judgment included. Try to understand your users' lifestyle, mindsets, habits, behavior patterns, you are there to learn, not judge or sell your ideas.

There is no rule of the right amount of interviews to be done. Every situation is different and depending on the project, you are working on. You will understand that you can move to the analyzing data phase when new interviews seem not to provide any new information.

In addition to interviews, there are many other ways to do research. Good methods include observations to understand the context of the situation; cultural probes as a collection of tools, artefacts and tasks intended to provoke the user to look and think about their environment in new ways; guided workshops to co-design with stakeholders; surveys with pre-defined answers; ethnography tools and many others.

Please, check the following materials:

The starting point for developing a new business is to do your user research well. Qualitative and quantitative user research are two different research "strategies", in this video you learn the basics about them (10 minutes)

Interviews are an important tool for early user research. Asking the right questions in the right manner is key to a successful interview (10 minutes)

Once you know your audience, you can find quantitative information with a good survey. But remember, you should never start with a survey, you need to do your basic user research first with interviews (2,5 minutes).