Skip to main content

When the Future Returns: Shake Things Up

While the past few months have seemed never-ending, soon enough we’ll be thinking about the future again and launching new products. When you do, it’ll be time to do things a little differently with your qualitative research.

A common complaint about qualitative research and idea generation is the lack of participant engagement, especially in categories that are considered “low engagement.” Clients find it hard to believe that there is “new ground to be broken” in mature and ubiquitous product categories.

However, it all depends on who you engage.  And, as it relates to innovation work, it pays to break some rules.

One of our most successful ideation sessions involved people who were not even category users.  Our client thought we were crazy when we suggested the inclusion of single men in an ideation session to make the setup of play pens easier.  Turns out they had really good ideas. Current and expectant moms had too many learned behaviors.

Speaking of low-engagement categories:  how often do you think about the HVAC air filter in your home?  You are not alone if you said about 1-2 times a year and only when the thought pops into your head. Knowing this the norm:  is it possible to make qualitative research more fruitful? Of course.

First, don’t limit the discussion to air filters. Talk more broadly about maintaining “healthy air quality” in the home. Then only invite those who have (or who have a family member) with a chronic respiratory problem. Trust me:  you’ll spot many ideas and accepted beliefs that are relevant to the rest of us.

You ready to shake things up?  Let’s get started.

Leave a Reply