Know your audience and stakeholders - and involve them early.
If the public service and the law are to meet the needs of citizens, businesses and interest groups, we must have our finger on the pulse among those groups where change needs to be made. It requires a continuous effort to gather perspectives from the end users. Both when formulating new legislation or reforms, or when a service is reviewed so it later can make a positive difference in the end users' everyday lives.
We have extensive experience in collecting qualitative input into public development projects, and it always generates more tangible discussions which helps create a clearer sense of what the project can and must achieve for the individual citizen or business. Public projects are often quite complex and abstract with a lot of stakeholders and end users. - That is why, it is important early in the project to include end user inputs, in contrast to the sometimes endless quantitative studies and data - in order to create empathy and drive among the project team.
When we interview citizens or companies it is typically only between 4 and 8 - more is actually not needed to get a balanced contribution to the development of the project. It can be a challenge to choose whom to talk to, but think about getting a variety of perspectives, for example, a large, medium and small business etc. The qualitative inputs almost always have to be combined with quantitative data, so visit the end users without first having an overview of the field. You can also find help in Learning About the Users.
We can never test the accuracy of our assumptions through analysis. We have to get out and explore assumptions and ideas along the way - away from the desktop and close to the target audience where the solutions are present.