The difficulty with many new ideas is that they’re hard to empirically prove, leaving key decision makers no basis for comparison. The good news is, designers can create data through simple prototyping.
If you’re struggling to get buy-in from key stakeholders due to lack of hard data, consider building an empathetic data set, derived from real user prototype testing.
How to gather empathetic data
Take your prototype (it doesn’t need to be perfect, just usable) and place it in a context where your users currently experience your product or service. Bonus points if you can find a setting that allows users to test the current offering and the new offering.
Extra bonus points if that setting is low pressure, so customers feel comfortable giving open and honest feedback. For example, d.school alum, Bill Pacheco, tested exercise machine prototypes in a real gym with actual users.
During your test, capture usage counts, quotes, and reactions via notes or video. Create a sizable data sample to support and refine your prototype.
Pro tip: bring your decision makers along to watch and interact with users.
design thinking bootleg by d.school at Stanford University