David Kelley, founder of IDEO, came by our "Evaluating Entrepreneurial Opportunities" class last quarter to speak about the "design process". This is likely documented a million times in other places, but I thought it personally useful to write down some of the most salient points So here are some tips on how to design things or ideas. If you are interested in this sort of stuff, check out my podcast with David.
Before you even say what you are going to do, seek to better understand.
Talk to experts (don't just read experts)
Best question to ask experts: "why?"
Develop empathy for the user!
Questionnaires won't tell you what you want to know.
Watch users. Watch when they grimace, watch when they smile.
Go to their workplaces, their cars, their homes.
Users often prove experts wrong.
Look at people who are high value, low status (e.g. nurses)
Look at extreme users. Users who use a lot or a little.
Much more important to build a crummy prototype than to write a specification.
Three crummy prototypes are better than a single polished one.
Never go into a meeting without a prototype. *
* General rule: whoever has a prototype at a meeting wins
Show stuff to the user.
Show messy stuff to the user.
Let the user chose.
Iterate rapidly, fail often.
And one other random tip: Make the coolest workspaces in the building workspaces for teams. (Corner offices, etc.)