Conducting Secondary Generative Research

Secondary generative research involves conducting original research activities to deeply understand user needs, behaviours, and motivations. This type of research is exploratory in nature trying to uncover new insights rather than validate existing ones.

Purpose

The purpose is to understand deeply the needs, behaviours, motivations, and challenges of users to identify opportunities for innovation and improvement in product development.

  • Informed Product Strategy: Guides the strategic direction with user-centered insights.
  • Enhanced User Experience: Identifies unmet needs leading to improved user satisfaction.
  • Reduced Risk of Failure: Lowers the risk of developing features that do not resonate with users.

Context

Industry Context

Often generative research is skipped because of the belief that we know our customers and their needs. However, it is impossible to know for certain whether customers want what we are building before they have it in their hands. New features require customers to change their behaviour, and behaviour is very hard to predict. This is why 90% of features fail to deliver the expected value.

ZeroBlockers Context

In ZeroBlockers, Stream Teams own the end-to-end development of their products. Since they are accountable for outcomes they need to ensure that the features they build are wanted by customers. This means that they need to do the upfront discovery to understand their customers' needs and behaviours.

ZeroBlockers Practices

PracticeDescriptionBenefitsFrequency
Collating User FeedbackAnalysing user feedback and support tickets to understand user pain points and areas for improvement.Provides insights into the areas of most concern to users.Minimum weekly
Reviewing Usage PatternsAnalysing heat maps, user recordings and other usage data to understand user behaviour and interactions.Provides visual insights into user behaviour and interactions.Minimum weekly
Reviewing Analytics DataAnalysing user interactions with the product to understand user behaviour and identify areas for improvement.Provides qualitative data for user behaviour and interactions.Minimum weekly

Rationale

Actual usage patterns and behaviours are the most reliable way to understand the real behaviours of people. While they don't give the motivations behind actions they can point to areas for further investigation in primary research.

Other Practices

PracticeDescriptionZeroBlockers Opinion
Industry Reports and Market AnalysesReviewing published reports and analyses to understand industry trends and market segments.This can be useful for a brand new product to try to get a rough idea of the market size and potential. But you shouldn't be limited by the current size of a market. The best products expand their markets.
Academic Journals and PublicationsLeveraging research papers and academic findings for in-depth insights into specific areas of interest.This can be useful for a subset of products but is not a primary source of information for most products.
Competitive AnalysisExamining competitors' strategies, offerings, and market positioning to identify opportunities and threats.This can be useful for a brand new product to try to get a rough idea of the market size and potential. Howver when looking to compare features this can be dangerous and lead to confirmation bias. What looks like a killer feature in a report might be the deadweight dragging down your competitors product.

Anti-patterns

  • Over-reliance on Outdated Information: Depending on data that may no longer be relevant due to rapid market changes.
  • Ignoring Contextual Differences: Failing to consider the context in which the original data was collected, which might affect its applicability.
  • Confirmation Bias: Selecting data that supports pre-existing beliefs or decisions, rather than objectively assessing available information.

Case Studies

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