Start With The Customer Or End User

The customer is always your first and most important creative challenge. Listen! Try to see the customers problems and needs from his point of view. 18 Restate the problem and the customers needs in his terms and iterate until a consensus is reached. Ask not only what his problems are, but what special methods or tools he is presently using to solve them. 7 Work together with or in the place of the end user or customer. Use fictitious product descriptions to stimulate ideas and discussion. Remember that effective market research and sales strategy requires just as much creativity, enthusiasm and perfection as does product development. IMPORTANCE OF ASKING THE RIGHT QUESTIONS ANDMAKING A PROPER PROBLEM STATEMENT:

The problem as first stated is rarely the true problem. Ask at least five times. Always restate the problem as many ways as you can; change the wording, take different viewpoints, try it in graphical form. Describe the problem to laymen and also to experts in different fields.10 Don't try to learn all the details before deciding on a first approach.9 Make the second assault on a problem from a different direction.12 Transforming one problem into another or studying the inverse problem often offers new insights. If you don't understand a problem try explaining it to others and listening to yourself. Test the extremes.14 If you can't make it better, try making it worse and analyzing what happens. Get a "SuperTech" to help: Imagine how an ideal supertechnician would perform the required function and then try to implement his equivalent in hardware and/or software. "Why are we so much better at answering questions than at answering the right questions? Is it because we are trained at school and university to answer questions that others have asked? If so, should we be trained to ask questions?" [Or trained to ask the complete set of right questions in the right way?] Trevor Kletz (Analog Science Fiction, January 1994, p195)

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