Market Research vs. Design Research: what’s the difference?

The first logical step in any development process is analysis. While developing a service (either improving an existing one or creating from a clean slate) market research is quite often the first thing that comes to mind in order to map current needs of the target audience. But is it an expedient tool in the context of service design?

It is essential for a service designer to understand the needs and desires of service user, but an average result created out of a large sample is not something of a significant value for that purpose. When designing a service for an average user we might end up creating something that has no demand what so ever.

Design research vs market research jana kukk

The aim of service designer is to discover something unique and fascinating to lead to ideas on how to create services that are more useful and usable. One does not get insights by calculating an average. The tools that could be helpful here are of absolutely qualitative origin: in-depth interviews, observations, focus groups, etc. – tools, where the sample could be quite small, yet it is possible to get deep and meaningful content out of each contact.