Yesterday I met a bright young man. He is remarkable in many ways. An NID (National Institute of Design) alumnus, he runs a small outfit for conducting research in customer experiences. He has as his mentor (sort of) a senior business leader. This mentor of his had asked him to get in touch with me regarding some business idea that he had. ” Meet Hemant, he has done some very intersting work in user interfaces design ..”, his mentor had told him.
The young man said that he was approached by a reputed and well established company (not in customer research space) for setting up their customer research group. “should I take this up?”, he asked me.
Before this, he had told me his story. He wanted to be an artist, but his parents ‘pushed’ him into NID. As if that can be done! Any ways, once out of NID, he discovered that ‘design’ is subjective and clients put up only that much money as much they can without worrying about returns. He found that while many design firms talk about ‘researching customers’ mostly the design that they like are back fitted into the ‘research’.
He said that clients treat research as real and are willing to pay for it if done properly. That is the reason he focused on research.
Now about his proposal. I told him, ‘since you believe in research and clients pay for it, the proposal should be pursued. ‘However, ‘ I cautioned him, ‘It will be good idea to decide what all you will not do and that can include design itself…. Also please find out whether the company is serious about it and that it is not just someone’s whim.’
You would have noticed many remarkable things about this young man. Remarkable indeed.
Think of the company which approached him. Isn’t the company also remarkable?
That is the point. People like this young man and the company which approached him embody the changes.