FAQs & Resources


There are some common questions about human insights methods that can easily become a barrier to starting or completing the process of refining your program or project. Here are a few of the questions we get asked often, along with their answers.

Q: I’ve been in the same situation as clients before, so I understand all they need. How will the methods help me?

A: Relevant personal experience provides a great general baseline for understanding clients’ perspectives, but people’s specific circumstances vary greatly. Factors like timing, community context and available resources all can make a big difference. You have an opportunity to learn what might be going on with current clients.

Q: Can’t I learn about clients through my everyday interaction with them?

A: Relationships honed with clients through the day-to-day delivery of services are invaluable, yet are often time-limited or focused on specific areas of a client’s life; there’s always more room to explore. Human insights methods create the opportunity to gain a more holistic picture of clients’ lives and to do so in a structured, intentional way without making you feel rushed.

Q: Do you have to be a researcher or designer to use these methods?

A: Doing these activities for the first time may feel demanding. Taking the time to immerse yourself in clients’ perspectives can feel empowering and quickly become second nature in program development.

Q: I have limited time. Is this a lot of work?

A: Shortage of time is unquestionably a challenge. This client-focused approach will actually save time over the long run as you better understand the challenges your clients face. While the amount of time and intensity spent on these activities can vary widely, a basic version of this each phase—discovery, design and testing—can be accomplished with just 2-3 hours per week over 12 weeks, or with an intensive 3-4 day workshop.

Q: Why don't we engage clients in every activity?

A: To keep things simple in this toolkit, we have selected key activities to engage clients. However, for project teams that are interested, you can certainly bring in clients to add their perspective – especially earlier in Discover and Design. Activities where it can be helpful to bring in some clients to work with the project team are Frame the Challenge, Draft a Journey Map, Brainstorm Solutions and Draft Prototypes.


There are many resources available on how to gather and apply insights to create better innovations for customers. Here are a few to look into:

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