Understanding your customer's reality

“You need to understand things in order to invent beyond them.” - Bill Gates, The World is Flat, 2005

To successfully develop new products, it is imperative to understand core needs well. Normally that is best done by integrating ethnography into your a basic foundation of research. Capturing the consumers in real-life moments yields far better insights into their true needs than more conventional means like focus groups. But standard ethnographic techniques are often painfully slow and even more painfully expensive. By using mobile technologies, a well-designed online research community can just about replicate the ability to be there in the moment in a quicker and less costly manner. People’s phones and tablets let you ride shotgun without having to actually be in their homes. And -- bonus! -- the inherent flexibility of communities allows you to dive deeper into those precious in-the-moment insights.