Venture Stories

Learning From Analogous Research


What do you get when you cross a meditation retreat, a child-care center, and a karaoke bar? A day full of analogous research in Tokyo!

Dell Dela Torre and Grace Aldas are two Entrepreneurs-in-Residence (EIRs) working with us at Moon to develop their concept for Inna Circle (previously MOM247), a community that seeks to reduce the stressors of everyday motherhood. After weeks of interviews which took place across Singapore, Manila and Tokyo, we found that the biggest pain points for new moms are physical isolation and the difficulty finding places where their children are taken care of so that they could spend a little time focusing on themselves.

To learn how these spaces work and what makes a space welcoming to mothers and their children, we set off to find comparable examples that already exist in the world. This is the heart of analogous research: knowing that there is an existing solution that you can learn from and apply to your problem. In this way, analogous research embraces the practice of genchi genbutsu – seeing real people to better understand a problem and possible solutions.


To find out how to create a space where moms could feel safe and relaxed, we visited a meditation center. This visit revealed the importance of a well-trained host who could guide guests and create an environment of trust and peace of mind.

Our next visit was to a government-run child-care center, where we learned how moms interact with each other when they have a worry-free place for their kids to play

To get an idea of the kind of environment both kids and adults enjoy, we visited a karaoke bar that catered to moms. We found out that the most important features were soundproofing, fall-proof surfaces, and adult food and beverages.  

These analogs gave us new ways to look at our users, further understand their pain points, and design better solutions. Inna Circle is not trying to build a meditation center, a day care, or a karaoke bar, but there is a lot to learn from these places about designing welcoming and worry-free environments specifically for moms. Analogous research reminds us that the solution often already exists for a different user or problem. Our job as innovators is to practice genchi genbutsu in unexpected places and apply it in unprecedented ways.

Linda Pantale 
Program Manager


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