Sometimes we get the sweetest feedback on our sessions. And, unless you are psychic, you just don’t actually now what people want. The only thing we have is feedback. Its all we have to know that there is someone out there. So all of our work in developing this incubation service, and in all we ask our startups to do, we are looking for feedback and showing how to get it. No, I’m not talking about A & B testing – its far more subtle than that.
It takes earnest listening and the ability to look for the message in the feedback. As an old friend in community development work used to say “you don’t hear them leaving, when they vote with their feet” So true. So in workshops, we just ask 2 simple questions, to try and catch feelings in the moment.
Sometimes you can come across the feedback equivalent of online trolls – those who want to waste your time. They are so visibly obvious in how strange they are, you can quickly be alerted to them, and can move on.
Do it often, be clear about why you are doing it each time, and you’ll find you get to understand the sensibilities people need to make your idea part of their lives. It changes your relationship with people from selling to engaging, and that is so much more satisfying. Some startup folks hate it, because it feels like you are losing control. If you do it well, its the best friend you can have in starting your new idea.
We go into techniques of doing this in our workshops, particularly the business prototyping and 6 Weeks to Popup which are coming up soon.