Source: SESERV User-Centricity Survey (29 of 55 total respondents reported using tools to engage with users). Chart created by Anne-Marie Oostveen.
The SESERV project surveyed future internet projects, and asked them to identify the methods they used to understand their users and uses of the technology they are developing. As you can see in the above chart, while traditional methods such as questionnaires, focus groups, and interviews were mentioned by about 1/3 of respondents, a wide variety of other tools and techniques were also reported, ranging from user diaries, to eye-tracking studies, to stimuli including comic strips and theatre.
The wide variety of techniques suggests that user-centric approaches to design are an important part of the FI ecosystem, but that no single technique dominates for doing so. It also suggests that there would be potential interest in workshops on methods for engaging users using some of the most innovative techniques.