How our research has evolved

11/09/2014

We have been researching the minimum viable book for a year now and in that time our approach has changed and evolved. We have changed too. Our research has fuelled our learning and being flexible has allowed us to explore avenues that we didn’t expect.

When we started on this journey we raised a fear about research, the fear was:

“It’s not researched enough / there’s not enough data”

And our mitigation was:

“We will conduct multiple workshops and surveys per chapter”

So we set about planning workshops in a number of locations: London, Bristol, Berlin and Austin Texas. We brainstormed some starter topics and asked our readers what they wanted to know most about. While we were away, we planned interviews with interesting people in the spare time around the workshops so we could dig a little deeper into our topics.

What we found was that while the workshops were a great way to meet people and set us going, the bit that has really got us excited were the interviews.

We threw our net quite wide. The criteria for people we wanted to talk to was simple: people who make things or get things done. This led us to meet hackers, coders, makers, curators, inventors, educators, business owners as well as agile and lean practitioners. We found that some of the most interesting conversations happened in the most unexpected places.

Our interview style has always been fairly laid back and this hasn’t changed, we find a quiet spot and let the conversation flow. Initially we used the interview chapters as a starting point, but now we usually kick-off by asking people for their back stories, then gently guide the conversation towards some of the common themes we have found throughout our journey.

We see the value in remaining flexible and allowing for emerging ideas and topics – it’s really helped us along the way. Even as we approach our Beta deadline in a few months, we aren’t expecting our approach to stay the same. And we’ll welcome all those changes.
As Eve from Make ATX said in one of our interviews:

“Accept what you are doing might not always turn out the way you want it to, but who knows, it might turn into something better.”

Emily & Amy

Photo by: marcwathieu