Bringing new products to market involves a raw, chaotic front end and refined, orderly backend. Product discovery encompasses two distinct phases: 1) Exploring the problem space with raw ideation and 2) Refining the solution space for execution. Understanding this duality helps teams structure the discovery journey.
- Product discovery encompasses raw ideation and refined execution
- Early phases explore problems and divergent solutions
- Later stages hone in on defining the product experience
- Cross-functional collaboration is crucial throughout
- Continuous user testing improves product-market fit
Exploring the Raw Problem Space
Early discovery tackles the raw front end of deeply understanding user problems and ideating solutions. Key activities in the raw problem space phase include:
- User research – Immerse in users’ worlds to pinpoint struggles
- Ideate – Brainstorm broad concepts that could address user challenges
- Prioritize – Determine which problem areas have greatest potential
- Define pain points – Detail specific jobs users want done
This early work is raw, messy, and divergent. The goal is framing the right problems before refined solutions.
Transitioning to the Refined Solution Space
With a sharp sense of user problems, teams can start refining specific solutions. The refined solution space phase focuses on:
- Conceptualizing experiences – Map detailed user workflows and interfaces
- Prototyping – Demonstrate how users will interact with key features
- Evaluating technical feasibility – Vet solutions with engineering
- Testing concepts – Gather user feedback on proposed designs
Now execution becomes orderly, structured, and convergent on best options.
Raw ideation and refined definition require close collaboration between product, engineering, design, and other roles.
- Design shapes intuitive, engaging user experiences
- Engineering evaluates technical viability and effort
- Product connects business goals, user needs, and technical capabilities
Joint discovery and refinement uncover more creative solutions with solid execution strategies.
Continuous User Validation
Whether exploring the raw problem space or refining solutions, continuous user feedback improves product-market fit.
- Problem interviews – Gauge interest, pain points, and willingness to pay
- Concept testing – Assess ease of use, utility, and desire for capabilities
- Prototype trials – Validate workflows and interactions
User insights help teams filter raw ideas into diamonds and refine solutions to a polished luster.
From Raw to Refinement
Transitioning from the raw front end to refined execution is key to discovery success.
Raw activities: Immerse in context, diverge on problems, ideate concepts
Refined activities: Converge on solutions, detail interactions, plan rollout
This dual motion creates well-framed opportunities transformed into high-impact products.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are some raw ideation techniques?
Immersion in the user’s world, broad brainstorming, interviewing users on struggles, listing “how might we” opportunities, and mind mapping concepts.
When should refined execution begin?
After identifying the strongest problem opportunities and having a broad set of solution ideas to start firming up user workflows and interfaces.
Why involve engineering early if still raw?
Engineering input on technical viability prevents wasting effort on impossible ideas while providing strategic technical guidance.
How much should you rely on user feedback?
Continuously involve users throughout to filter raw concepts and refine solid ones based on their real needs and responses.
Product discovery and product strategy encompasses raw, divergent exploration followed by structured execution and refinement. Cross-functional teams that master this duality can rapidly transform strategic opportunities into game-changing products.