Purpose – To thrive in today's competitive marketplace, businesses constantly need to search for opportunities to develop and be tuned into consumers as innovators. With this in mind, the purpose of this paper is to further understandings of the ways in which consumers transform ordinary products to serve their everyday needs; and broaden appreciation of the role observational research plays in opportunity identification. Design/methodology/approach – A hermeneutic approach to observational research is adopted, incorporating both subjective personal introspection (SPI) and videography to discover one family's unusual usage behaviours. Findings – Analysis, following Holbrook's typology of consumer value, reveals examples of innovative behaviours for the four active consumer value types of efficiency, status, play and ethics, while identification of the reactive value types of aesthetics, esteem, excellence and spirituality proves more difficult. Research limitations/implications – This research suggests alternative approaches for future research into opportunity identification, making use of videography and SPI. Moreover, the current work emphasises that innovation and the creative require consideration of the relational rather than just self-seeking behaviours, needs or events. Originality/value – This paper illustrates two research methods infrequently used, SPI and videography, positioning both as valuable tools for opportunity identification.