Then it's useless. Sometimes you need to take an indirect approach to find out what your customers really crave. In Japan, Nestlé's coffee business got a jolt by focusing on office behavior, not coffee machines.
We've talked and worried for years about the potential harm to businesses that unforeseen results and unintended consequences can cause, especially when the companies involved are new and relatively immature. When you read the typical after-action analyses, which try to make sense of these seemingly "abrupt" changes or the "surprise" upsets, they are almost always directed toward studying how well or poorly the particular actor, entity, or business fared as a result of the inability to anticipate or mitigate the nasty changes brought about by its own deliberate actions. Of course, these kinds of problems don't simply effect newbies.
We need to recognize that a large segment of our workforce needs a skills upgrade. There's no single path or one-way approach that suits every situation, but there are a few important ground rules to get you started. And let's be clear that these aren't necessarily politically correct observations; they are, rather, today's facts of life.
Not everything worth doing is worth doing to the nth degree. Just like you can overthink and over-engineer your technology, you can foolishly try to achieve levels of immediacy, proximity and precision that frankly no one really needs or cares about — except maybe a few of your geeky engineers. Pursuing perfection is a perfectly good way to burn through lots of cash, waste a lot of time and energy, and frustrate your own people in the process.