Decision-first approach: A research approach to create an actionable insight (with template)
It's important to produce an actionable insight, but why does so many research findings end up to be a waste?
A lot of research findings go to the garbage bin...
I’ve been in a meeting where the researcher shares their findings. I thought, “Wow, that’s interesting.”
But then what? Do the findings help the team make decisions?
An interesting finding is not necessarily useful. What matters for research finding to be useful is to help the team to make decisions. For example, if we need to decide and prioritize which solution should we experiment with first, the research plan should align with that.
Do you know why a lot of research findings become a waste? The primary reason is that they always start with a lot of questions but lack of focus. The scenario will look like this: 1) The team starts with a lot of questions, 2) They conduct the research, and 3) They try to make the decision. But because they don’t know what the decision they need to make in the first place, the research question is not designed to uncover insights that help the team make the decision.
The alternative? Start by defining your decision.
Here is a simple three questions:
What are the key questions I have in mind?
What decision would I make if I have those insights?
Can I make those decisions?
The first question is What are the key questions I have in mind. You can brain dump all the questions you have. Then, take a step back and ask, so what? So what if you can answer those questions? This leads to the second question.
Next: What decision would I make if I have those questions answered? For example, if you have a question: Why do people churn? Then, we ask ourselves the so what question and realize that we need to decide how to improve the onboarding experience we’ve launched last month. Oh, wait, what if the decision we want to make is actually: What resurrection campaign should we launch? The research planning would be very very different. You get the point, the decision should shape the research planning.
Most importantly, can you make the decision? Continuing the example above, can we actually improve the onboarding experience? Do we actually have the capacity to do it? If the answer is no, you better save your time to do other research work.
Do you see how important this is? By defining the decision, the research scope will take a better shape. The researcher would ask better questions when conducting to really uncover insights to help the team make the decisions.
Framework & Template
By now, you might wonder what are the example of key decisions your team need to make. First, let’s start with a simple framework: DDBL—Discover, Design, Build, and Launch. These are basically four major phases when you developing a product. It’s like a loop.
Discover is when you still wonder what problem you want to solve, your team might also wonder which customers to target, and you still figure out whether the problem is worth to solve. At this point, your team might need to decide:
What kind of customers should we target? The research can help to define different segments.
Which customers’ problem should we prioritize? The research can help define what are the pain points and which one is the most painful to focus on now.
Design is when your team want to figure out what best solution worth building that can help the customers solve the problem effectively. At this phase, your team might need to decide:
Which feature will effectively help the users solve the problem?
Which solution should we prioritize?