Customer Discovery is an

Founders/developers/business consultants engage in customer discovery to identify what to build and how to build it. The Customer Discovery Process presumes entrepreneurs should build not what they believe a customer needs but rather what the customer tells them they need.

This approach to entrepreneurship is sometimes called lean product development. It’s an empirical process that employs multiple methods: case study, focus groups, usability studies.

Customer Discovery conceptualizes business development as an iterative, rhetorical process based on empirical research: founders develop guesses, hypotheses, about how to bring some value to a consumer. They develop MVPs (Minimum Viable Products), prototypes, new features. After listening to customers for a while, they conceptualize new services, applications, and products. They continually re-test findings. They develop and administer surveys.

Founders rely on customer discovery interviews to develop new products and services. By listening to customers, by being open to their perspective and what they say, Founders hope to develop new products and services that meet customers’ needs.

Depending on where they are in the development process, when they meet with customers, Founders

  • may share a visualization of an idea (e.g., wireframing for an app or an illustration of a new invention)
  • may develop an MVP, a minimum viable product
  • may share different work-flow solutions or prototypes
  • may engage in A B Testing, which essentially involves comparing user feedback and behaviors in relation to specific new features.

Customer Discovery is an empirical research method that entrepreneurs use to develop commercial services, products, and applications.

Customer Discovery is a mixed-method approach:

  1. The Customer Discovery Process is an empirical research method. It is informed by scientific, empirical, qualitative research and positivistic methods.
  2. The Customer Discovery Process also relies on qualitative research methods and textual research.


Steve Blank, an entrepreneur and educator, has developed a stunning number of resources to support customer discovery. Blank views entrepreneurship as a scientific process: Entrepreneurs develop business hypotheses by listening to customers and considering the nine elements of the BMC (The Business Model Canvas).