Re: Market research
You are almost there. The dev has to sit beside the secretary first, before any dev work commences and watch what she does, and ask her why she is doing it that way. Sometimes you will see her do laborious work-rounds some stupid software, sometimes she doesn't know her software (often because it isn't immediately clear). Then go and develop, come back and have secretaries use it, and sit with them while they bitch and moan to separate the reactions to the simply new from the reactions to bad ideas. Rinse and repeat until you finally have a product users have vetted all the way through.
Yes, you have to try and get them to think n new ways, but a good innovation is usually welcomed.
I have found listening and watching, rather than 'requirements gathering' and guessing, to be the best way forward. Scenario testing is the bee's knees.