The Simplest Way to Avoid the Research Fail of the Yellow Walkman

The key to learner discovery lies in the failed focus group for a 1980s and 90s staple: the Sony Walkman—an innovative handheld music player. Legend has it that participants rallied around Sony’s new design concept for its classic black model: a sporty yellow Walkman. Participants loved the color! It complemented their (likely neon) outfits! They loved having another choice! It looked sporty!

The focus group had spoken.

Or had they?

As participants walked out the door, they could pick a Walkman—black or yellow.

They all chose black.

Rewind. How’d that happen?

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