It can be difficult to incorporate new methods into your projects, particularly for two reasons: your confidence and your stakeholders’ confidence. But the solutions are the same: arm yourself with as much knowledge as possible before beginning to plan.
1. Imagine what you’ll learn. Don’t be afraid to share it with others. It can seem wrong to guess at what user’s will say, especially if you believe that surprise is the mother of innovation. But stakeholders need to understand why you are doing what you are doing. It’s unlikely they’ll support you if you can’t paint a picture of the results for them.
“I’ve chosen to conduct research in Indonesia because studies show that they are very mobile-phone centric. So I think we may learn a lot about how other countries could begin using mobile phones in the future.”
“I’m planning to interview ‘extreme’ examples of our users. For example, an interview with a CEO may teach us a lot about how all business people use their communication tools. Maybe they have ways of organizing information that everyone could use…”
After you’ve conducted the research you’ll have real stories that trump the guesses, so the guesses won’t matter. They are just tools to get buy-in and help gather support for trying new methods. But they will have helped YOU think through what you are hoping to gain from the method.