Creating something new: The questions you need to answer

Patrick Tawfik

Developing a new tech product or service can be a risky process - there is a danger that you won’t find a market or that your market won’t show enough interest in what you’ve developed. 

Before you begin to build on an initial idea, it’s vital that you explore the potential of that idea and any pitfalls or barriers to success that could stand in your way.

What are the outcomes you want to achieve?

When you’re developing a tech product or service, it's easy to get lost in details, thinking of specific functionality or features you want to develop or how much revenue you want to create. But the first thing you must clarify is what you want to deliver for your customer or your user - do you want to make a task or process simpler? Do you want to make their lives easier or more enjoyable? What business outcomes are you hoping to achieve? What will success for your company look like? Considering all of these questions will ensure you address the ‘big picture’ before you get bogged down in the intricate details of your product.

How do you know there’s a need for your product/service?

You need to face the following realities:

  • If nobody needs or desires your product or service, nobody will buy it 
  • If the profit you can make from selling a product or service is too small in comparison to the cost of developing it, your business won’t be sustainable. 

You may have come up with a solution for your own need, however how do you know that others also face the same issues? Through research methods such as surveys, interviews, competitor analysis and focus groups you can get a detailed understanding of your users/customers and identify the underlying problems they face. As well as allowing you to verify that your idea has potential, this research will allow you to get a clear and realistic picture of the people you're selling to and may identify a customer base you haven't already thought of. 

Read more about what you can do to understand your market need. 

Why will customers choose your product/service over other options? 

A good product or service provides value to its users that would otherwise be difficult to access. It is important to understand the value you are bringing so that you can build upon it with future updates to your product or service. The value you bring can come from a range of areas, such as competitive pricing, a simpler and smoother experience, or being the first on the market. 

How can these questions be answered?

Design research is the most effective way to ensure you have reliable, evidence-based answers to these key questions early on in your journey before time is wasted on developing an idea that doesn’t have potential. Well-designed, rigorous research allows you to cut design and development costs and increases the probability of your idea being a success.

Design research focuses on understanding users’ needs and motivations. Insights from design research are used to inform the design process, validate design decisions and ensure the final product is both useful and usable for the target user.

When developing a new product or service, design research will help you to:

  • Fully understand the problem you’re trying to solve and the customer you’re trying to target
  • Solve the right problem in the right way
  • Understand your market potential, competitors and the industry standards they have set
  • Understand the complexity of developing your initial idea and the implications of its outcomes
  • Balance your potential users needs and the business needs

Find out how our design research allowed startup Store Performance to create a great product that immediately attracted interest and users.