Outside-In / Customer First: a small step for man, a giant leap for the ego

“Your feedback as future end users is important to us. Please give us your honest thoughts,” the user experience specialist introduced the test of a first app prototype. “Don’t spare us the negative remarks. We won’t be mad at you, we’re here to learn.” This is a very open and a very vulnerable position at the same time. But still: the right thing to do because we know that, in the long run we are always better off with an ‘end product’ backed by end users.


So why are still so many products, solutions and services being developed with little or even no end user input? Or why do valuable end user inputs fail to find their way to product adaptations?

The Brafman brothers researched what makes us ‘sway’ towards such irrational behaviour. First of all, the further we evolve into a project, the more averse we become to the loss of time, budget, effort and pride. Our ego gets a dent when the end user doesn’t like what we’ve developed for him.

Second: we fear we won’t make it on time. Even if user feedback proves the solution we are building needs rework, our commitment to a goal/a launch/a deadline, makes it hard for us to reconsider the solution.

Loss aversion and commitment are two perfectly human reflexes that make it much safer (for the ego) to push a genius idea through the innovation funnel without too much interference from the end user.

However: end user feedback is the perfect ‘plunger’ in your innovation project.

Next time you get stuck in a project (in analysis, discussion, solution design, implementation), try this: drop whatever you are doing and check your assumptions with a small group of end users. Ask questions, show them a prototype, observe and ask them to react. Don’t focus on possible wasted efforts and confronting feedback on the short term. Learn and take your project one step further.


P.S.: Not convinced: try a budget validation backed with and one without a user test. 😉