LSP with consumers – focus groups

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    Camila Borja

    Currently my main professional objective with LSP is to apply the method within focus groups and/or UX groups. I believe the potential is appealing due to quality and depth of information obtained during LSP sessions. Does anyone have any experience with consumers? How did it go? I am interested in exchanging information and tips on this matter!

    Ine Armour-Brown

    Hi Camila,
    I’m a qualitative researcher as well as a workshop facilitator, so I get your point! I have thought quite a bit about the potential, but haven’t applied LSP in this way. What holds me back (perhaps unjustifiably?) is:
    – focus groups are made up of random individuals, who do not have 1 purpose or 1 business goal to fulfill. They just belong to the same target group for the client. LSP works best when it’s with a team, or at least with people who strive for the same thing.
    – focus groups tend to be limited to 2 (or 2.5) hours. In that time, you can only do, let’s say, a round of introductions (no-one knows each other), one building experience exercise, one for learning to give meaning, and perhaps 2 or 3 individual building exercises (largely depending on number of respondents, which should certainly not exceed 7 in my view). These individual exercises will deliver excellent personal stories, so in some market research contexts this might be just right (explorative research questions). But in many others it won’t.
    – Are you thinking of UX for a 3D product? Or UX for apps and online offers? I’d hesitate with the 3D offer: building something with LEGO might be helpful, but that’s not LEGO Serious Play.
    I’d be very interested what others have to say about this (and please tell me I’m wrong about all this, it would open up opportunities! :-)

    Camila Borja

    Hi Ine, thanks for the response! I think this discussion is very rich.
    Thinking in a practical scenario; I have recently worked on a qualitative UX project regarding invoice interface. The design team (a telephone company here in Brazil) wanted to develop a new invoice (paper) because the number of complaints regarding lack of information clarity was very high.
    In short, I moderated a few focus groups where all the participants were clients of this company, therefor they have had the experience of using the invoice and interpreting the information. So the first part of the discussion was to point out their difficulties, and after this we prompt them with other types of invoices so they would have enough visual aid to show us what was more appealing/friendly.
    On that note, if I were to use LSP on this project I would consider:​
    – Perhaps a 3 hour limit would be ideal. It is higher then a typical focus group, but then again I would rather not risk the outcome quality (not knowing very much about the participants, and them not knowing each other is a challenge itself. Squeezing the the timeframe too much is not something I’m comfortable with). Here in Brazil it is common to pay an “incentive”, so that value would increase because of the timeframe;
    – ​They do not have a common purpose, granted. But they would have something in common right off the bat (all have the same phone company). I definitely agree with limit of 7 participants;
    – Maybe 2 individual building exercise and 1 shared model in the given timeframe would be ideal.
    What do you think?

    Catherine Ryan

    Hi Camila

    I’ve used LSP for a number of different purposes for UX – Design Thinking, group facilitation and research (1 on 1 interviews mainly).
    The key is really asking the right question and following the process – question, build, share, reflect.
    The goal from my perspective is to first understand the problem you’re trying to solve (therefore asking the question around the problem) and then ideating possible solutions to that problem – rooted in customer insights.
    In terms of facilitating a focus group – the group you’re talking about seems to have the shared goal of communicating information clearly. It sounds like you already have an understanding of the pain points of customers, so therefore you could frame the challenge in these could work quite well: “Given the customer pain point of X, build a model about how we could best address this…” or similar.
    In my experience, 3 hours should be enough to generate ideas that you could then synthesise into the product design. Creating a shared model may take longer but you could do a landscaping exercise with the individual models to see how the ideas tell the overall story.
    I think if you come up with a problem statement for the workshop and keep that as the focus (always refer back to), the challenges you pose should align to that, and the ideas therefore should too. e.g. “In order to reduce complaints (vision) we will solve customer’s problem with lack of clarity (pain point) by giving them an easy to understand invoice (solution)“ or “How might we help customers understand x more clearly”
    I hope that helps and just sharing my experience of what has worked for me in the past.


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