Love the problem

July 27th, 2017 by Ben Claxton

Priscilla Du Preez

As researchers, we know it’s not customers’ jobs to know what they want – it’s our job to understand their problem.

Product development (the kind that solves actual problems, rather than solutions looking for a problem) depends on customer research to define and prioritise real problems.


“Finding the right problem to solve is the most important predictor of success.”


Loving the problem means obsessing over customer needs and wants, not features…




…this doesn’t mean you can just ask customers what their problems are either!




The reason for this is that you will only uncover surface problems or solutions dressed up as problems (customers suffer from the same solution bias as makers do).

Identifying deep problems and root causes takes greater observation and analysis. It’s where something like the jobs to be done (JTBD) approach can help because it focuses on desired outcomes.

And this of course means focusing your research up-stream:


This is a hot topic at the moment and this is just a brief discussion of it. Below you can find more thinking on the subject, including the free online course that inspired much of this post.

Monthly #getrealinsight round-up

The good stuff we’ve read on Loving the problem this month:

Themes – A Small Change to Product Roadmaps with Large Effects

Love the problem (Free training course) – Learn the Secret to Building Products Your Customers Cannot Refuse

The problem roadmap – Why a problem roadmap is better than a feature one (spoiler: solves customer problems, avoids feature bloat)

Thanks for reading,
– Ben

July 18, 2017 at 02:05PM

July 18th, 2017 by Ben Claxton

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Field notes from User Research London

June 27th, 2017 by Ben Claxton


nativeye took a trip to User Research London this month. A great conference, their very first one and heartily recommended for next year.

Here are my Tweet-notes…

Remote research was a recurring theme:

Which is so obvious as to be easily overlooked.

Again it’s obvious when someone says it, but really important when thinking when to use remote and ‘always-on’ tools.

The participant experience was also high on the agenda:

We think about this one a lot – how to keep participants engaged and let them know their contributions aren’t going into a black hole.

There were some lovely articulations of the value of research:

This is a great notion and a big part of what researchers do.

From the cxpartners keynote on how to select the right research method. Insight, evidence and ideas – the 3 things you can hope to gain from research.

Greg Bernstein on why some research is better than no research – and an importance defence when selling in research.

Stories were also big theme at UserResearchLdn:

How we add a narrative to our lives in retrospect.

And finally, on the importance of crafting a story to build empathy and adoption of research.

I will look out for the keynote presentations (a film of the talks is being published) and let you know when I find them.