It’s easy to fly from New York to London as a passenger. You get on the plane, listen to the announcements, order a drink, watch a couple movies, and then land in London. It’s all very uneventful.
That same flight from New York to London is a totally different experience in the cockpit. Up there, the pilot is constantly adjusting due to changing weather conditions, talking with air traffic control, and keeping an eye on the plane’s instruments. Over the course of the flight, the pilot might make 9,000 or 10,000 tiny adjustments to the flight path to land safely in London. If the pilot just kept blindly flying in the exact same direction, the plane might end up in Africa or at the North Pole!
The process of human-centered business design is similar. As you do research, every tiny bit of information you get is going to adjust your course a little. Every person you speak to may shift your process a minuscule amount, and you have to listen to that. Be open to making those course corrections, or you are going to end up way off target.
Oh, and you’re flying blind. You have no idea where London is. The customers will tell you where they think London is. The truth is London exists somewhere between all the truth you hear from your customers. Your job is to map it out and find it, kind of like a treasure hunt. You’ll have to experiment with your flight path, and perhaps you’ll fall off course a bit, but you can touch base with your customers and figure out if you’re on the right path. If you want to succeed, you have to be willing to listen to those people and let your path be dictated for you. You can’t predetermine it.
Your destination isn’t a product (not yet). Your destination is the solution.
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