We did a workshop recently where one of the goals was to make the participants aware that a solution designed in isolation is often inferior to one that is tested in the real world among people that will benefit from these solutions. About an hour into participants discussing the solutions they came up with, one group states that they will “talk with the users” and decide if their idea is worth going forward with.
And there is the problem – they will be talking with the users about their IDEA.
The problem with ideas is that they are usually great. Picture working a whole day on a problem – finding ways to solve it – plugging every leak you find in the solutions you come up with. That makes for a pretty strong case. Would the user like an all in one “smart” phone case that stores everything you might need in your pocket for the day? Sure. Would it be nice to have an app to go along with it? Sure. Is it a good idea? Sure. Is it nothing more than an IDEA? Sure.
Is it nothing more than an IDEA? Sure.
The only way to know if the idea actually works is to pour it out of the head into the world. Say the phone case stores all the cards a person uses in a day – ATM cards, credit cards, ID cards and so on. How do you know the case will actually be used for its purposes? Maybe people find it too much of a chore to fish through their phone cases to find the right card? Maybe they never store everything they are “supposed” to store in there? Maybe there’s a problem with the design you and I can’t even think of right now? The best way to make sure is to go out there, let people experience the product itself and find the things to fix and fix them. The goal is to actually have users experience the solutions and get THEIR feedback on the things you have done.