Why Insights are a two-way street

Hamed Bahrami
Mar 22 · 5 min read

… and scrolling through the Product Hunt feed daily will not necessarily give you the ability to create a product or service people will want to use.

TLDR;
Differentiate between experiments and solving problems on a deeper level. Differentiate between signal and noise when you want to solve a problem. Use Experiments to enrich your design process.

You might have heard these phrases before and even thought about it that way. I certainly do know, that I have.

Recently I caught myself trying to cut corners when it comes to generating my own ideas for products and services with exactly the same way of thinking. I was browsing on Product Hunt, just thinking to myself like.

I could do this. I could do that.

Here is why it might not be the right approach to think about it that way. Even though I admire this kind of let’s do it attitude, it can also be misleading and paint the wrong picture. And I think it’s good to shine some light in that area and differentiate a bit.

Just another Venn-Diagramm

Experimenting

So let us focus on the left side of the diagram first. There are many ways to create a product or service. What it really comes down to, on the problem-solving level though, is the question of what it is that you are trying to achieve —

Is the goal to create by experimenting or is there you are using to generate a genuinely new value. A solution, a feature or just a small UI Decision. Of course, this is to be taken with a grain of salt because there is an overlap and this is rather a cycle than a binary either-or decision. If this doesn’t make sense yet bare with me, we are going step by step.

So you could argue that when it comes to experimenting a great outcome is a new knowledge aka Learning. Let’s put it more clearly. It is about gaining knowledge about something you didn’t know before! This is extremely important to understand. Why do you ask? Here is why.

Uncertainty Matrix with a small addition.

So we can assume that the average human will be able to accomplish the level of expectation. So every person out there will, given the same amount of resources be able to accomplish what is in expectation level.

Only when you open yourself up to the level of innovation, you will be able to generate genuinely new values, even if the others have the same resources as you. But it lacks the broader perspective a more holistic perspective is needed to understand the problem better and implement the new insights gained by experimenting with small well-drafted experiments.

Experimenting is great for generating new insights. But it is not enough to create real value.

Right side of the diagram. Generate real value.

Creating Real Value

Now that we talked about experimentation, let’s focus on the right side of the diagram and talk about how to create real value.

On a process level, we can have a look at the double-diamond methodology. The double-diamond is not new and has been around for a couple of years. The Design Council has a more in-depth information about it.

This concept is not new, designers are using the double-diamond approach for quite some time already and it makes a whole lot of sense. The method is great for understanding the real issues below the surface. The pains, needs and desires of the client, customer, user… effectively humans.

Technology and tools are great and it can be amazing to see what is possible with the cutting edge technology. But without a clear purpose, we are basically throwing money and technology at the problem and not solving real problems. Here is actually where I see the most potential. We are living in a time where we have access to incredible resources both as a consumer but also as problem solvers. So it is really about finding out how to connect the dots in a meaningful way.

Distinguishing between signal and noise

Empathizing with the human using a product or service is the best way to avoid signal noise problematic. So as we have seen earlier, experiments are great when it comes to finding out about unknowns, changing the perspective and creating different but even more importantly better outcomes. It is an important mindset to be able to distinguish between signal and noise.

So immersing yourself into a specific realm is essential when it comes to really making an impact and changing the way things work in their foundations.

Best of both worlds

How can we put these two together and harness the power of both approaches? This can be debatable for sure.

What do you think? What is your experience with creating real value compared to tinkering around and experimenting?

Hamed Bahrami

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Designer / hamedbahrami.de