Exploratory or Generative Research
Research conducted on an existing process, industry, or user in order to develop insights that lead to product ideas, or to understand how a product idea could fit into a larger ecosystem. This research uncovers insights to inform the design of a digital product.
Here's an analogy.
This would be like knowing you want to get your friend something special for their birthday, so you follow them around for a day and look for ways you could improve their life.
Why does it matter?
Deeply understanding a space provides insights and inspiration to create a solution for a problem. It’s also important, when inserting a digital product into an existing space, to understand that space in order to see how your product will fit and where it will provide value.
How does it apply?
Generative research before creating a product or feature can help you understand users in a deeper way, so you can create a product that not only applies to their processes and workflows but gives them something they didn’t even know they wanted.