Enlisting design dreamers to explore solutions for unaddressed needs in research repositories — and get more done with insights

Insights needing designs to get traction. Without visualization to inspire product planning actions, even the most compelling evidence-based problem can languish in a research repository.

Research operations can secure design resourcing to solidify ‘in the air’ solutions and ideate concepts for non-obvious problems, clearing the fog around possible next steps. By using existing research to align design staffing with needed efforts, we can build momentum toward using repositories to set larger product agendas.

When working to advance a set of existing insights from your repositories, you can draw on the same ideation toolbox that’s used to activate learning at the end of big generative studies. And there’s no substitute for securing the efforts of energetic designers who can ‘work ahead’ of current roadmaps, imagining new user experiences to address crucial insights.

Improving your insight operations

  • Selecting insights that could benefit from design effort
    Research repositories may contain many types of insights, and not everything can be pushed as requests toward design teams. Research leadership can strike a balance between pushing unaddressed insights that provide high-value optimizations of existing product areas with insights that could drive experimentation around new offerings to address customer needs. Choosing insights that could be early winners is important, but should not be paralyzing. Enlisting regular ‘work ahead’ design effort is a long game, and if all goes well, you will have multiple chances.
  • Convening initial research and design discussions about selected insights
    Meet with researchers whose existing insights you would like to push toward design. Evaluate unused research recommendations, understand past challenges, build current interest, and refine your insight selection. Next, conduct some internal discovery to understand the right design dreamers to involve in a ‘work ahead’ initiative. Meet with dreamers to discuss your intention to get out ahead of current roadmaps, with researcher authors resharing an ‘echo’ readout of selected insights (C3). Discuss your plan and get a feel for who’s inspired to commit some effort.
  • Securing design resources to ‘work ahead’ on selected insights
    In collaboration with design dreamers who have been inspired by the existing insights you’ve shared, meet with design leadership and operations to discuss resources needed for an initial ‘work ahead’ experiment. Paint a big picture but start with a small request. Bring background on your repository programs, examples of past collaborative wins with design, and your long-term vision for the impacts of this new thread of collaboration.
  • Facilitating collaboration to generate and share potential design solutions
    Connect with design teams to understand common ideation processes currently in use. Determine which of your selected insights would benefit from heads-down designer time and which could benefit from workshopping. Develop workshop materials and export research repository content into a physical/digital wall of shared immersion content. Invite related researchers and product people into working sessions and critiques, ensuring that insights are always discussed as rationale ahead of new proposals.
  • Transitioning toward an ongoing track of ‘work ahead’ design effort
    Share wins with design leaders and grow the buy-in needed to advance from early experiments to a recurring process. Collaboratively develop a routine for this new thread of effort, with design operations owning a regular cycle of checkins and workshops, and research providing targeted insights and other inputs.
  • Your idea here…

On the path from insight to product impact

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Jake Burghardt

Jake Burghardt

Focused on integrating streams of customer-centered research and data analyses into product operations, plans, and designs. www.linkedin.com/in/jakeburghardt