Lens 3

Tool 2.

In-depth interview

The process of design thinking or design thinking begins with a deep understanding of the user, and for this they are invited to empathize, which means immersing themselves in the way current and potential clients live, how they use services and products. observe and hypothesize why they do what they do.

Companies that are interested in expanding their business to reach new segments of the population, as well as those seeking to diversify target markets and at the same time benefit society, a research tool based on empathy will be a good point of departure. departure.


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To learn a little more about empathy, here is a video from Brené Brown, a researcher at the University of Houston:

Did you know?

You can turn on subtitles on a Youtube video in a different language! Just click the CC button at the bottom of the video, then click the gear icon to chose your translation language. 

Tool benefits

The benefit of conducting in-depth interviews is the guarantee of recognizing and understanding the needs of both women and men. This gives way to a deep understanding and development of empathy with the people interviewed, allowing their identified needs to be covered at the same level with the solutions that are proposed. Unlike conventional interviews where it is a matter of identifying what the user is doing, in-depth interviews aimed at creating products or solving problems are about understanding why they do it.

Many times it is forgotten that products or services exist to solve humanity’s challenges. To identify these challenges, in-depth interviews can be carried out with previously selected people. Here are some tips to define the profile of these people.

Profile selection

In order to select the appropriate profiles of the people to be interviewed, it is necessary to be clear in what phase of innovation the company is in and what level of transgression will occur at the time of the search for the solution. Always remember to maintain parity in the chosen profiles, that is, half of women and half of men, to ensure that the investigation equally includes their voices.


Does your company want to improve upon an existing product?

If the company needs to improve an existing product, a dissatisfied customer and customer must be chosen. Dissatisfied customers are an excellent source of information and learning.

Does your company want to launch a new product?

If the company is looking to launch a new product, it must choose a potential client and client who already consume the product, but from the competition or alternative products. The idea is to obtain information on what that target audience is valuing to devise an ad-hoc solution.

Does your company want to expand their market reach?

And to transgress the solution? You must also choose two people who are not part of the market, people who apparently could not buy the product or hire the services of the company. These profiles can provide Insights on how the product is perceived from an unfamiliar point of view.

Go ahead and choose girls and boys for this purpose!

IDEO proposes that a solution to avoid falling into conventionalities and continue doing business in the traditional way, or continue playing under the same rules, during the process of creating products and services, is to seek the help of children. Unlike adults, when girls and boys try to solve a problem they do not take into consideration factors such as the technical or financial feasibility of the solution, they only think and propose it, making the divergent phases more enriching. By ignoring the conventions, they have the door open to be able to think of solutions that are not obvious and even qualified as “outside the box”, which are formed as the person is exposed more to the world and to other people in it. Thus, through the tools of design thinking, new forms of solutions free of limitations can be developed.

What do you need to create the script?

In-depth interviews are aimed at obtaining qualitative and subjective information. To do this, they should encourage spontaneity, but it will be helpful to be based on a script.


The innovation and development committee is a proposal located in tool 1. Creation and development of products with a gender perspective, within this same lens.

Then, it will be important to define the objective of the interview, it should not only be done to "know the user", having this single approach will not help when collecting the information. The objective must be clear to direct the questions.

Once the team and the objective of the in-depth interviews have been defined, the script creation session can be carried out:

      • Use sticky notes to post topics and possible questions
      • Preparar marcadores o la aplicación web favorita para crear unPrepare bookmarks or your favorite web application to create a board with these notes. Here are some applications:
      • Miro
      • Mind42
      • Jamboard
      • Define a time for this activity
      • Filter the recurring questions
      • Separate them by topic  

Structure of an interview

Introduction: 5 minutes

Personal and project presentation

Taking into account that it should be carried out as a conversation in order to connect with the person interviewed, it is important to show the greatest possible empathy and bring out the most human side. It is advisable to start with a personal presentation and the project or product that is being designed.

Example: “Hello, my name is Bianca and he is Carlos, we are working on a project to improve the experience when drinking coffee. Our challenge is to find new moments for consumption.”

Kick off: 30 minutes

The person

It is important to establish who the person is, asking them to describe their activities, building a relationship through the description of a common day, ideally related to the topic of the project.

Example: “We would like you to help us to know more about you to be able to solve it. How are you doing today? Could you tell us a bit? “
“Did you have coffee today? How was it? Do you have a favorite coffee? “

Grand tour: 30 to 45 minutes

The experience

It looks for details and emotional problems related to the research topic. At this time, the person should be encouraged to tell a story and describe her emotions.

Example: “Could you describe your most memorable coffee experience? Why was it so unique? What happened?”
The experience

It looks for details and emotional problems related to the research topic. At this time, the person should be encouraged to tell a story and describe her emotions.

Example: “Could you describe your most memorable coffee experience? Why was it so unique? What happened?”

Reflecting: 15 minutes

Challenges and contradictions

It will be important to determine what are the successes and failures related to the research topic. The interviewee should be invited to reflect on the challenges and contradictions, for which it will require responding and evoking more answers with counter questions and questions.

Example: “If you were to create the best coffee shop based on your ideal experience …”

Conclusion: 10 minutes

Thanks and closing

Thanking the person interviewed, if it is within the means, rewarding the time invested in some way and keeping the camera on, in the end interesting things can happen.

Throughout the interview you should pay attention to what he says and look for similarities. Share something personal, trying to convey as much honesty as possible to help build trust.

Do not forget to collect the information that is obtained by observation. Body language may be conveying something contradictory to what is being said.

It should be remembered that the idea is to go after stories and emotions, so in order to encourage participants to reflect and reveal what is important to them, open questions should be asked, which can go from the rational towards the emotional.


Some types of open questions

Have you thought about…?

Exploratory:They force expansion into new vantage points and unexplored areas..

How do you feel about …?

Affective:They reveal feelings about something.

What are the causes of…?

Analytical:They look for the roots of the problem.

What do you think causes …?

Reflective:They encourage further elaboration of response.

So, by that you mean …?

Explanatory:They help to be aligned and avoid misunderstandings.

Can you describe how..?

Investigating:They invite a deeper inspection.

Finally, it is important to collect the information in a way that helps to continue with the creation and development process, for example, if you are working with a mixed sample, the results of men and women should be collected separately, so as not to lose sight of the results. wishes, interests and expectations of both groups.


To find out the importance of using information disaggregated by sex, visit tool 1. Creation and development of products with a gender perspective, located in this same lens.

Once the interviews are finished and as part of the information processing, the following matrix is filled out with the entire team that participated in the interviews (not the people interviewed) , each response must be on a sticky note. You can use a different color forr each person on the team.

As it is a matrix that collects impressions and analyzes, it could also be affected by biases and gender stereotypes inherent in the people who make up the team, hence the importance of having these trained personnel.

If it is taken into account that the objective of the tool is to carry out an in-depth exploration, and then work on solutions based on it, then coloring the way in which the information of the interviewee is collected can be triggered by social conventions. all subsequent work lacks assertiveness and ends up repeating biases and increasing inequality gaps.

It is convenient to review the checklist for this tool once more

To create the script


To learn more about inclusive and non-sexist communication, visit lens 4, tool 2, inclusive and non-sexist language for companies and tool 3, Inclusive and non-sexist digital communication for companies.

To conduct the interview

Deetken Impact

Suite 500 – 210 West Broadway
Vancouver, BC V5Y 3W2

+1 (604) 731-4424 ext. 110


Pro Mujer

1129 Northern Blvd #404
Manhasset, NY 11030

+1 (646) 626-7000


This toolbox is made possible by the support of the American People through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) under the terms of Contract No. AID OAA-C-17-00090. The contents of this toolkit are the sole responsibility of Deetken Impact and Pro Mujer and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.