The best trick we know for finding the meta-level is to play the five-why's / why-who-cares-so-what game. Ask your users (or even just yourself) what's important about a product. When they answer, ask, "Why?" When they answer that, say, "So?" and when they answer that, say, "Who cares?" and keep going until you get to the heart of it. (And if you haven't played this before, most people stop WAY too early and miss what matters the most.) Only then do you discover that this feature the users--and you--believed to be meaningful was simply a tolerable way to do what they really wanted. When they say that X is important, dig deep enough and you might find that it was only because X let them do Z, and that there's a much better way to make that happen.
It's always interesting to think about what you think users want, what users say they want, and how those 2 things compare to the things the users really want. Because a users comments are based on their previous experiences, and they might just not be aware that there are other ways to do it.
I like the idea of not only asking people want they want form you, but interrogating them about it, to find the source of that the desire, the actual real goal they are trying to achieve, rather than the process they are expeting to take to get there. They are likely to say things that are familiar to them, but perhaps work more efficiently for their specific needs.
It may be you can completely restructure things, bypass certain areas, in a way that users don't realise until they use it.