Synthesis

Collecting perspectives from stakeholder through the techniques of the customer discovery is elemental for the entrepreneur to gain empathy for the target group and especially their problems, needs or desires the solution will be designed for.

And although the mere engagement with that audience is tremendously helpful, real value for making better decisions only comes with sense-making, finding meaning but also giving meaning based on the data and information gathered.

By synthesizing all that is at this stage – the initial idea, the quantitative data from the research as well as the qualitative information from interviews and observations – conclusions can be deducted. During synthesis, the large amount of information is brought together to form a unit in the form of a distilled synopsis.

The task during this phase is to reduce the collected information and generated data to its essentials. Concentrating on the core insights and linking deeper motives in emerging patterns, leads to gain a more abstract and therefore a more elementary overview of the situation. Not only expressed needs, or observed problems, but deeper meaning than the surface. The goal of the synthesis activity is to transform the inspiration acquired in the research into meaningful learnings. Inspiration is stimulation – synthesis channels the stimulus into insights.

Insights cumulate learnings from the customer discovery phase and make it possible to see the world in a different light. They invite for new perspectives. Often insights come as epiphanies or „aha-effects“. They should be articulated to be inspiring.

Insights are the fuel to propel the entrepreneur into the right direction. They either:

  • help to articulate the reasoning of why the initial idea is valuable for the target group, or
  • uncover the flaw of the original idea, and
  • at the same time give way and build the basis for completely new ideas

to ultimately increase the chances of success in whichever way the entrepreneur is going.

Very often the generated insights describe the real motivation of why someone is using or buying a product or service. Therefore, making them extremely valuable as design directions for an idea (Source).

  1. Describe the current situation and the incumbent consumer behaviour:
    • “Having pictures around that instantly remind me of special moments and people, makes me feel good.”
  2. Describe the dilemma the consumer has and clearly articulate why this is a frustration in their life:
    • “But I find that pictures from my digital camera often stay hidden on my devices because I never have time to print them.”
  3. Describe the consumers desired end-state, their ideal situation:
    • “I wish there was a way to enjoy them every day without having to actively play them on my TV or computer.”

The ideal mode of working on this step is manual. By documenting the details of every interview and every observation on sticky notes, those can be visually represented on walls in a space together with results from the quantitative data which is printed or also transcribed on sticky notes. Thus showing the entire complexity of the challenge at hand. The created overview enables the entrepreneur to take a step back and see connections between the different data points.

Potentials should become visible, which can then be described and articulated as opportunities for completely new innovative ideas, or a more or less dramatic change of the initial idea.