While teaching Publicis Sapient Early Careers Academy courses, our new college graduate designers asked me how to produce insight. Based on some of the practical theory behind personas, hypothesis and validation, value propositions and even the lean business canvas, I’ve circled back to research -> analysis -> insight as the simple path for designers:
- Research: getting data from your customers. Just doing the research itself is a strategy in itself. Choosing the best methods to answer both the what and why, determining the diversity of users in the research group, having a significant enough sample size to move forward. Designers must make do with the lot or little amount of data they have.
- Analysis: what designers do with the data. Whether it’s as simple as an affinity diagram or as complex as sentiment analysis, some amount of clustering of data to illuminate themes and trends is necessary in analysis. Most designers stop here because they think Analysis = Insight = Action. Nope.
- Insight: this is the output that is unique to a designer’s user-centric skills – when designers connect dots to tell a story about the hypothesis that the research and analysis drove them to. This is what stakeholders seek from a designer’s subject matter expertise, otherwise most designers would just be doing production design work.