CHAPTER 9Get Out of the Building: How to Gather Customer Discovery Data with Interviews

Vanessa Ceia and Sara Carvalho


Interviews help Corporate Explorers generate deep qualitative insights about their customers and de‐risk ideas for new ventures across the innovation funnel – from ideation and incubation to scaling. However, the research goals and interview techniques you employ to achieve them will differ at each stage of the process and depend on the maturity of the idea. This chapter outlines the why, when, and how of interviewing customers. It describes the insights interview data can provide that quantitative methods cannot; it also outlines a step‐by‐step process of designing interviews and selecting participants that will help you achieve your research and business goals.

One of the biggest obstacles to becoming a successful Corporate Explorer is the “inside‐out” mindset of corporations. This is the self‐referring logic of being a part of a large, successful organization that views customers and competitors through the lens of your existing business. This mindset is highly destructive to any new venture, because it leaves Corporate Explorers with unchallenged biases and assumptions about customers: what they need, what they value, what solutions they prefer, and their willingness to pay for them. Customer discovery interviews are a way of overcoming the biases of “inside‐out” by getting you outside of the building and talking directly to potential ...

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