How To Validate Your Problem & Solution Via Field Research

How do you know the problem you are trying to solve is indeed a problem? How do you know the solution you are proposing will work? Well, field research can teach you a lot about this. Very in a nutshell, what is field research and how to go about doing it?

Learn more about this problem and why you should be thinking about it more and more.


Hello. My name is Faisal Khan and I’m a banking and a payment consultant. Today I want to talk to you about field research.

Many a times I see clients and I talk to them and I say how is it that you are going to be making money in this, and they say ‘Oh we, you know, we’ve run surveys, we’ve run research’ etc. etc. In most cases the startups or CEO, the co-founders, they have an idea, they think they have a problem. And what they do is, they hire a firm or they do it themselves. They go out and they sort of validate their problem. And that’s the problem itself. No pun intended. But, you know, when you have an idea and you think this is a problem that exists out there and you’re going out there and validating it; you’re not validating the problem you’re simply validating your opinion.

What you need to do in field researches is not to discuss the problem. You need to have a large segment size, a 100 people, 50 people, 20 people, 5000 people. It all depends up to you what a good size is about 125 people, eventually for your survey market size.

And then have them in the room and discuss what money is to them, what transfers are to them, what bill payment is to them, what crossborder is to them and what savings is for them. They will themselves conform to a discussion point and let you know what the problem is. They’ll tell you all, ‘you know what I hate this in the camera,’ ,oh I hate this in the in the car’, ‘oh I hate this in my cell phone’. They will tell you the problem and through consensus you have to make sure if that is indeed a problem or not. And the best part is, once you have that consensus you can ask the other group and, you know, they can tell you if the problem exists or not. But here’s the best part. They will also tell you how to fix it. Most people who will tell you what the problem is, ‘Oh you know what I don’t like this in the camera’. Really? If you don’t like it what would you want? ‘Oh you know, if I had it, if I were to make it, I would want this’. Okay so that’s a solution. If you sit down and talk to the people in these focus groups and your survey groups and you talk to and you hear them well, they will tell you what the solution is always and through consensus you can build that. The problem and the solution can come through your survey groups. You would have a very well defined persona. You would have a problem set and you would have a very good solution set that was given by your survey group. And then you can, you know, sort of juxtapose and on, on to the technicalities that you are trying to do. This is a very very crucial step that many many many many people miss. And you know what. We don’t need that we understand a problem very well. You may you may. But chances are it’s not a consensus space. Chances are you went and took your opinion out there and got it validated. Not too pure hard core survey results that came back and said this is the problem.

In your startup, make sure you have a problem in search of a solution. Rather than a solution in search of a problem. That’s what I wanted to discuss with you today. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to ask below, I’ll be happy to answer them. Till next time, have a good one.

This page was last updated on September 1, 2022.

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