Market Research


Navigating the Fuzzy Front-End of Innovation

Navigating the Fuzzy Front-End of Innovation

One of the best descriptions I’ve heard of the front-end of innovation was shared with me by a long-term client: “a simmering cauldron of risk, uncertainty, and politics.” Navigating the front-end is hardly a linear process, nor should it be. Yet, filling your pipeline with new-to-world or new-to-company product concepts requires a somewhat linear process to move the team from point A, to point B,...

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Ripping Off the Band-Aid®

Ripping Off the Band-Aid®

Recently, I was invited to facilitate a session with a prospective client about how to better utilize market research and voice-of-consumer in its innovation process. Apparently, it was a hot topic: the room was filled with people from R&D, product development, marketing, sales, and even finance. I expected to spend four hours going over the basics like determining consumer needs and building product concepts. Within...

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Down with Discussion Guides!

Down with Discussion Guides!

In many cases the time we spend on developing overly detailed discussion guides for qualitative research is what I call “client window dressing.”  In order to appease large project teams, clients feel compelled to make sure everyone’s “burning question” is reflected.  Qualitative research is not an interrogation.  A skilled moderator knows when to go “off script” and what to ask to satisfy the team’s appetite....

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Ethnography – In The Trenches, Not in the Clouds

Ethnography – In The Trenches, Not in the Clouds

  For ethnography, immerse yourself in the trenches, and get your head “out of the clouds.”  Effective ethnography requires a great deal of self-awareness and sensitivity.  Some people are much better at this than others. By definition, ethnography is a combination of observations, interviews, and collection of artifacts.  Interviews are kept to a minimum and warranted when the ethnographer observes a behavior and wants to...

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Be a Housekeeper for a Day

Be a Housekeeper for a Day

Numerous studies tout the effectiveness of ethnography as a way to understand customer needs and as a springboard for new product (or service) ideas.  The advantage of ethnography is that you can observe customer behavior in context.  Oftentimes, there is a disconnect between what people say vs. what people do.  Supplementing attitudinal research (focus groups, interviewing) with a behavioral component is a superior approach. The...

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