An evidence-based approach is a way of approaching any decision point by looking to data for evidence of the best action to take. Sometimes the research might be the research that others have done. Sometimes you have to do the research.
Having an evidence-based mindset is a good thing. It means that you are always checking in to confirm that you can show when you have success. With transparent data, you can also have other parties to replicate your results or check your analysis of the situation.
On the other hand, a focus on looking for evidence before you start any endeavour can cause you to be too slow to react to life in real-time. You may take a design-thinking approach and understand your customers before preparing your prototype. If you add a step of gathering evidence before creating anything. If you try to look around to see what the evidence says, you will experience two friction-points:
- If you only base your actions on what current evidence shows you, then you will never do anything new. (Because by definition you are only acting based on what others have already observed.)
- By the time that your evidence gathering is complete, the customer needs may have already changed.
Design thinking has its form of evidence-based data gathering in the ‘test’ phase.
Evidence-Based or Design Thinking
Both evidence-based and design-thinking approaches can help you move forward. Choose your strategy based on the level of customer change that may occur, or the new-ness of the innovation. One approach is not better than the other. Both should be tools in your toolbox.