For the researchers and decision makers who are tasked with product development, it can be frustrating to see projects fall by the wayside because of interview feedback by people who are particularly guarded, or at worst, biased.
Whilst the emergence of newfangled technologies and materials widen the scope for creativity, they are also a difficult starting point. Researchers are often left asking themselves how they’re going to use something instead of actually sitting down and brainstorming what’s actually needed in the market.
The increase in open data has gone some way to solving this conundrum, allowing product developers to delve into social platforms to get a gauge of real gaps in the market.
Even if you’re just a casual user of Facebook or Twitter you’ll know that people love to complain on social networks. Although annoying, it’s these complaints which have become a hotbed for researchers, giving them insights into unfiltered customer complaints and advances that people actually want to see.
It’s not just about scouring through Twitter and Facebook either, the most useful platforms are blogs and message boards where users interact in an often more intimate fashion.
Although it’s clear that open data is an important development in product development, to call it revolutionary is perhaps slightly over the top. It only answers the ‘what’ not the ‘why’ and this is likely to always be the case. Once gaps have been found it’s still up to the developers to connect the dots and to use technology to create the best products around.
However, open data is without doubt an essential tool for developers who want to invent the products which we all want to see.