TL;DR version: For idea creation, which is the better UX practice: going into an interview without any preconceived idea in the hope of generating new ideas, or keeping an ongoing list of ideas, picking one, and then going into the interview to see if there is any need or interest in the idea?
Method one: going in blind. Let’s say you pick a broad subject like travel, going in without ANY ideas of what to create. I would think this also means doing no competitive analysis beforehand because you don’t have an idea to compare to, and even a competitive analysis would churn up ideas and thus bias towards what you want to create. With this method, how do you create questions beyond just “What do you like and dislike about travel?”
I tried to take this approach with my first UX project. I had broad questions with room to improvise follow-up questions based on the answers. But after the first interview, I already had ideas based on what I had heard, and these ideas colored some of my improvised questions with subsequent participants. When I got to affinity mapping, these ideas were already strong enough to color how I interpreted the data.
The other method would be to pick an idea, do some competition analysis, create questions, and interview people. But since I already came up with a specific idea, even if I tried to be flexible, wouldn’t this bias my research towards validating the idea?
Lastly, which method is tied to the real workplace? I feel like it would be more likely for a company to say “We have this idea. Can you see if it has any merit?” rather than “We don’t have any idea but want to create something. Let’s spend money on interviews so maybe we can come up with some new ideas.”