What's your fortune teller

It's not magic

The purpose of life is to make discoveries.

Your own life is one.

Every day, you discover new things: new facts, new methods, products, stores, etc.

You even discover new things about yourself; you get to learn about your personality.

In the 1400s and 1500s was a period called the Age of Discovery.

Christopher Columbus discovered the Americas by accident. He was set to sail to Asia.

The Age of Discovery had effect on the world. Different parts of the world became connected to each other.

Discovery creates a new future.

Discovery is a process

In life, you may come across something by coincidence, such as a store, information, or person.

Alternatively, you can make a discovery to identify new meaning, concepts, or knowledge.

Coincidence requires no effort, but putting in the work entails effort.

This is what differentiates the types of discovery in life and business.

Discovery in business is akin to discovery in science. It entails questioning, analyzing, and running experiments to reach a truth or solution.

Any project consists of two phases: the discovery phase and the delivery phase.

Results of running wrong discovery

Most problem solvers spend 95% of their time on delivery, neglecting or mishandling the discovery phase.

Discovery is utilized in any project, whether starting a startup, improving a product, or developing a new idea. It is essential for innovation, transformation, and strategy.

You must have heard the phrase "Let's do a discovery call" frequently or encountered it as a call to action in business.

Many perceive discovery calls as a means to understand needs.

And tailor solutions accordingly.

Alternatively, they view it as the initial step in any project, aiming to conduct a high-level diagnosis with potential solutions in mind.

Those who conduct discovery do so with different lenses and considerations, often unaware of the required skills.

The discovery phase is often conducted incorrectly and by individuals lacking the necessary skills.

Consequently, most projects lack the skills to run a discovery.

unproper discovery

Misconduct during the discovery phase leads to unclear objectives and uncertainty regarding requirements.

There is no source of truth regarding needs and goals, and all issues manifest throughout the project lifecycle and post-delivery.

This ultimately results in an unsuccessful project.

The issues and problems that arise are the result of taking the wrong direction.

Stakeholders end up trying to understand what went wrong— attempting to gauge the needle to find the right direction.

This comes at the cost of time, money, and resources.

Uber's misjudgment in business discovery in self-driving car program. Resulted in significant challenges and setbacks. such regulatory scrutiny, legal battles, and reputation damage.

Many kick the discovery phase aside as if kicking a rock from their path.

Opposing spending time on discovery because it takes time and viewing work commencement as not adding any value.

The things you oppose happen to be the right things in many occasions.

Most rush straight to detailed planning of the solution, basing their direction on captured pain points.

This serves as a guide to inform wrong scope and requirements of the project.

Skills and benefits of discovery

You need design strategists who encompass a blend of skills including design thinking, strategy, business design, and user experience.

Mastering the first phase of the project (discovery) will set the path forward to success.

Successful discovery significantly mitigates the majority of risks along the way.

The work you do during discovery must inform:

  • Scope, capabilities, requirements, desires, what to avoid and project roadmap

What you're doing is:

Designing the blueprint of the project so everyone can use it as a starting point for their work.

You need to adopt a human-centered and system-centered approach to understand the entire environment of the problem, achieved by mapping the current state in detail.

Main steps of discovery

  1. understand the challenge (approach with empathy)

  2. frame boundaries of the problem and map its current state

  3. apply research methods, from users and market

  4. use qualitative and quantitive data

  5. question data and uncover blind spots

  6. analyse all captured information

  7. make sense of data and surface insights

  8. identify risks/barriers and priorities needs

  9. find opportunities

  10. validate opportunities

With proper discovery, you focus on objectives rather than deliverables, aiming to reach better solutions. You highlight impacted users and gain a broader view and context.

Discovery informs your delivery

proper discovery

You can't develop a skyscraper based solely on the exterior design. Without a blueprint that encompasses many details of interior design, including infrastructure design, space measures, security systems, and more.

What many companies do is focus solely on the exterior side of the problem and rush to build a solution. This often leads to failure as the first step in their process is neglected.

Discovery provide success factors of the project:

  • Clear objectives

  • Well-defined business case

  • Alignment of stakeholders

  • Stable project scope

  • Clear required capabilities in the solution

  • Barriers and risks to avoid

  • A prioritized needs

Problems aren’t like wild animals to be discovered through a safari journey.

Adopt a comprehensive discovery phase if you want to deliver successful projects.

Whether it's an initiative, challenge, strategy, transformation, or new idea, you need a well-informed direction.

To reach it with the least amount of effort, issues, cost, and time, nail your discovery process.

Discovery is your fortune teller.

Thanks for reading!


PS two things I can help you with:

finding opportunities and designing the blocks of the solution. within any area: transformation, improvement, innovation, strategy, or product.

on a project you are working on, need help to set direction to reach desired outcomes