Think like a doctor

"How does a doctor best serve a patient? When a patient tells a doctor she has a fever and stomachache, does the doctor automatically treat the fever and stomachache separately? Will he offer the patient an Advil for the headache and Pepto-Bismol for the stomachache? How about empathy? Will a doctor know how to help a patient once he imagines what it is like to have a fever and stomachache? Or does the doctor best serve the patient by understanding that the fever and stomachache are not the patient’s problem but only symptoms of the problem? The doctor studies the body, as a system, and recognizes that the patient’s problem is an intestinal infection. An antibiotic should be administered to kill the bacteria, eliminating the infection. The body will heal, and then the fever and stomachache will go away." [1]

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"Customers can tell you of their struggles, how they expect life to be better, and how they interact with the products they use. But they cannot tell you what to do about it." [2]

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You can talk to your users and learn about all their problems and struggles, even ask them how they imagine their lives would be if they didn’t have the problem. More often than not, the problem is not the problem, and the solution they describe is not what they need.

We’ve made that mistake. We’ve built what they wanted. They didn’t use it. It was our fault. We didn’t think as doctors, but as fixers.

Sometimes the solution to a problem is not fixing it, but making it irrelevant (ie: the solution to ‘expensive fuel’ is not ‘cheaper fuel’, but ‘electric car’).

Think like a doctor.



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