Product Discovery: trust your instincts, AND the data.

Product Discovery: trust your instincts, AND the data. page image

A common misconception when embarking on a Product Discovery phase, is to rely solely on a rational research methodology in order to produce the insights and validation needed to make decisions.

Of course, following a structured research process is important, especially when discovery work needs to be conducted at scale and within rigid timeframe and budget constraints. We also recognise that data and analysis are key components when it comes to making informed decisions, providing a reassuring safety net that any decisions will have a higher chance of success when arrived at through data

But what if your instinct contradicts the data?

Being a bespoke software development company, we’ve delivered our fair share of Product Discovery phases and we’re firm believers that the answer to this is to use data and intuition in parallel.

Entrepreneurs like Elon Musk are famous for relying on their intuition and are said to incorporate it in most, if not all, of their big decisions. However, whilst this ‘maverick’ approach draws a lot of admiration, it’s important to understand that these ‘gut feelings’ are unlikely to be baseless. 

They will almost always be backed by past experience or existing information. That’s why at Atomic we are strong advocates for including all relevant Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) throughout the Product Discovery process, and encourage them to overlay their domain knowledge and unique perspectives when generating ideas and hypotheses. 

Applying an Agile mindset is crucial here too. This allows the freedom to quickly pivot if that’s where the research or instincts take us. Using techniques such as rapid prototyping means any change in direction doesn’t need to lead to more time and cost expenditure either, as such techniques will allow you to ‘fail fast’ and validate thinking with minimal effort.

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Following this approach should lead to more creativity throughout the discovery process, empowering stakeholders to think ‘outside of the box’ and push beyond the realms of what’s possible today, or what the data alone is telling us.


Following your gut instinct shouldn’t feel like you’re cutting corners. With the right expertise in the room, combined with an Agile mindset and rational analysis, we are firm believers it will always produce better and more innovative results. It certainly hasn’t let Elon down. 

Need to validate a new Product Idea? Contact our Product Team today.

Rob Hallam

Rob Hallam

Client Services Director


1 December, 2022

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