Confirmation bias is the “tendency for people to favor information that confirms their preconceptions or hypotheses, regardless of whether the information is true.” It’s what happens when you take your lovely new-product hypotheses to customers. This systematically distorts data on customer needs… and that can’t be good for innovation, right?
AIM Archives - Tag: confirmation bias
In many areas of life, there’s the “old way” and the “new way.” Does your company still develop “hypotheses” internally, and then meet with customers to validate them? This can lead to confirmation bias for you and stifled yawns for your customers. In the “new way,” you start by uncovering customer needs, not by internally “ideating” your solutions.
Many companies think they have learned about customer needs when they visit customers to validate their hypothesis or potential solution. They have not. They have learned about market reaction. To a single idea. Their idea. On top of this, it’s likely this customer reaction was distorted by confirmation bias.
More in white paper, Timing is Everything (page 15).
Think you can validate your new product concept with customers and avoid confirmation bias? In your last performance review, did you disagree with your boss’s praise more than his criticism? If not, you may not have mastered confirmation bias quite yet. So stop leading the witness in interviews. Let them lead you to what really matters… to them.
More in newsletter, Give your Hypothesis the “Silent Treatment” (Nov-Dec, 2014)