What is customer discovery and why do we need it?

Every product is not a product for the sake of being a product. It addresses, solves or triggers a clear customer need. A watch addresses the need of a customer to know the time and a bread addresses the need of a customer to eat and reduce hunger. The invention of the siphon solved a massive problem of smelling drains in sinks and toilets. The iPhone triggered the need to do what everyone already did, in a different way. However, needs can be fairly complicated to understand and comprehend. A luxury watch is certainly not about knowing the time solely, while it might be partly though, but mostly addressing a need for recognition and prestige. When the buyer is not the consumer, things get real interesting: A milkshake may address both the need for a child to drink something sweet and tasty and the need for the parent to have the child shut up for 30 minutes as it will be busy drinking the milkshake. Introducing Slack into an organisation might not address the need for better project management, which might have been good already, but it might give the company spirit a boost in feeling more innovative. Selling to corporations usually involves a whole range of people who might have influence in making a buying decision. So-called „Stakeholders“. Only one of those stakeholders might be using the product. Others, like the powerful purchasing division, have the job, and therefore the need, to cut costs for the organisation and keep budgets on track. The legal departments job (and need) is to make sure that suppliers are compliant to company statues and rules. Even very emotional needs might have big influence, such as the need for the management to demonstrate innovativeness, which may result in buying from a smaller, more dynamic supplier like a start-up.