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    « Business Inertia | Main | Scarcity versus Abundance »

    August 21, 2006

    The Deep Dive (part 2)

    In a previous post I recommended ordering from ABC Nightline the a broadcast on "The Deep Dive".  At the end of the post I said you'd be surprised at "who steals shopping carts".  After talking to people that took my recommendation and ordered the DVD, I realized the segment they show on the DVD is not the whole segment I saw.  Those who ordered it agreed that it was very enlightening, but I believe ABC left out one of the most powerful pieces of the broadcast.  Who steal shopping carts is eluded to in the DVD version, but it is not explained.  The reason I believe this piece is so powerful is because it reveals what appears on the surface is often very different when you dive deeper.

    Here is what was missing from the DVD.

    • One of the biggest problems with shopping carts is theft.
    • When the Ideo team asked who steals shopping carts the logical answer is ..... homeless people.
    • When they asked supermarket employees why homeless people stole shopping carts the answer was ... to carry their belongings.
    • Sound's logical but there's a problem with this!
    • There are many more shopping carts stolen than there are homeless people.
    • Do they loose them?  Do they break often?  Do they upgrade??
    • The Ideo team looked deeper and found that there were scores of burnt shopping carts down by the river.
    • They found that homeless people used shopping carts as grills!!!
    • They didn't last long so they had to be replenished often.
    • The number one reason that shopping carts were stolen was to make grills!

    Who would have thought this?  I wouldn't have.  When the designed the new shopping cart they made it of plastic.  It can no longer be used as a grill!  I thought that was brilliant and a great example of how we need to probe deeper into what the real issues are facing our customers.  When we get answers we should take them as merely suggestions.  Even if those delivering the answers should be the experts.  Sometimes those we gather market requirements from are so entrenched in their day to day work that they make broad assumptions.  We need to do "deep dives" to understand what the real problems and solutions are.  We need to validate or challenge every statement no matter how obvious the answer seems.

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