Contextual Inquiry is core to building a holistic business and product strategy around your product hypothesis. Feedback for your product idea comes primarily from potential partners, investors, advisors, etc — so long as you ask the right questions.
Ask about the past:
“Have you seen this before?”, “Has this worked before?”
Go-to-market partners will tell you what has worked for them before and more importantly, what has NOT worked for them in comparable or other products they have worked with. Learning from their experience is extremely valuable for you. Probe for these insights without sounding nosy and intrusive.
Then, about the present:
“What do you think?”, “What do you see in the market?”
This question gives the partner an opportunity to think about all the factors that impact his business and elaborate on them. It is important to switch from “impress” mode to “feedback” mode when speaking with your go-to-market partners.
Conclude with future possibilities:
“How do you go about this?”, “What is the best way to take this forward?”
Understand the decision making process for your partner well. This question gives you a wealth of information on technical integration, team structure, company processes, revenue structures, etc. There is a high possibility of each partner having unique answers for this question. Draw out common industry-wide patterns along with unique business processes.
Ultimately, as Terry Pratchett rightly said - It’s still magic even if you know how it’s done.
Surbhi is a product enthusiast with an obsessive dedication to UX, to build products that delight users, drive performance metrics and drive overall business strategy.