When you’re developing a product, you’re constantly surrounded by questions like, “How can I improve my product?”, and consequently, “What’s the next step to take?”. There are 2 ways to answer these questions:
- Ask your customers
- Decide yourself
Ask your customers
Asking your customers appears like the better solution: You’re building the product for your customers, so they should know what they need. Unfortunately, they don’t. Henry Ford, the founder of the Ford Motor Company, once said:
If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.
Your customers are biased with current solutions for their problems, that’s why you can’t expect true innovation from them.
It’s your task to innovate, not your customers’. The problem is that you don’t understand your customers’ problems entirely in advance. Your most important task as product developer is to learn to understand your customers better than they understand themselves. Make a hypothesis about what your customers need and then try to prove (or even better: refute) this hypothesis. A hypothesis is always a guess, but you will become better and better at guessing the more you validate.