TOURING WITH THE BAND
by Dalitso Ruwe
Have to admit, I felt it was going to be a daunting task when I was asked to coordinate a design workshop for our potential target audience for our product. Sure the folks at IDEO made it look easy when we watched their video in class but things often are different in reality than what we see on the screen. Nevertheless, I welcomed the challenge as an aspiring Social Scientist/Entrepreneur.
Using ethnography techniques I have been exposed to in class, Dr. Delcore and I were able to come up with three ideal prompts for our pilot workshop. For the first workshop we solicited eight local musicians who are pretty well established in town and have been acquainted with each other either through a mutual friend or played at the same venue. As the attendees began to come in and converse about various projects they are all working on, I began to realize that whichever marketing guru ever said “Your customers don’t know what they want” must have been in a closed room working as a “lone genius” trying to come up with the next best marketing idea. Listening to the conversation going on in the room it was apparent that no one knows more about your product than your customers who interact with the product on a daily basis and often cover up their frustration with the products by finding innovative ways to supplement what the original product lacks or go buy a different product.
A lot of companies are begin to realize that the only way to get customers to articulate their frustration is to conduct field work and have face to face interaction with consumers. Hence, more cross discipline methodologies are being practiced by a lot of Fortune 500 companies. As I eavesdropped on the conversations it was also clear that the workshop was an outlet for the participants to enhance their personal creativity as they bounced ideas off each other about problems they are currently having with equipment and would invite the other participates to offer suggestions. The suggestions were loaded with a lot of witty satirical comments. Almost like a friend’s status on facebook, where everyone can comment back on and generate a long thread of dialogue and humor. The interaction helped set the mood for the workshop. It helped to make the participants more open and receptive to the workshop.
The workshop took about three hours. Dave and I observed the attendees articulate, draw, and create new software or equipment to meet their needs. We gleaned a lot of insight about what some of the things musicians value in a product as well as what they hope to have to help them create better music. With the knowledge that each participant had, our challenge was to stay objective as possible, but as well create a platform that was flexible and conducive towards creative and lateral thinking, generated ideas.
Being a novice with musical equipment, I learned a lot about what equipment works best and what doesn’t. Most importantly that there is a sense of camaraderie between band members or fellow musicians due impart to the fact that instruments and equipment are an essential component in the relationship with fellow musicians. Also that musicians are proud of being proficient at playing their instruments well. Overall, the workshop went well. We got a lot of inspiration and information that will be valuable when we begin to compress the data and begin to create a marketing campaign for the product. Stay tuned for the next blog on workshop design.
“As with any discipline to become good you need first to learn the rules. To become great you need to break them“–Tim Hurson