I think the most important job of a research specialist is to help teams and stakeholders gain a deep understanding of the people that use and are affected by their products and services. It is imperative to robustly establish the root cause of a problem and why something is happening. Focusing on how a problem should be addressed detracts from understanding the root cause of a problem, and often resulting in a symptom of a problem or the wrong problem being addressed.
I think it’s important to collaborate with people to create solutions that are technically feasible, meet user needs and achieve business goals. This should include all representatives from all disciplines that are available within the team – for example, research, design, product, content, development – along with stakeholders who have specific interests in what is delivered, along with a deep understanding of problems and contexts. Making "recommendations" potentially skips the collaborative process entirely, often resulting in a solution that isn’t as good as it could be.
I think that good research promotes understanding and encourages debate, establishing the root cause of problems within the wider context of the end-to-end journey.
From there, every problem can become an opportunity for design by being framed as a "How Might We" challenge. For example, "a thing we have learned" becomes "How Might We address a thing we have learned".
The "How Might We" challenge centres on a problem and suggests that a solution exists for that problem. It also gives a clear frame to encourage collaboration and innovative ideas without suggesting a particular solution.
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