Innovation was often challenging enough to implement in a pre-pandemic world. As 2020 continues to throw curveballs left and right, staying agile and embracing a perspective of adaptability is key. We write on and speak about innovation a lot here at InsightsNow —staying responsive to what’s current is baked into our company ethos and permeates the work we do from the ground up. Whether it is using unique research processes to drive product innovation or implementing new approaches to the research process itself, we’re invested in the power of bringing intention to imagination. During these unusual times, researchers in all capacities are being asked to disrupt the status quo and adapt to our clients’ — and their consumers’ — unique needs, putting their audiences at center stage. Ready to infuse some innovation into your process? Here’s some tactics that will make your research shine:
We recently wrote and spoke about disruptive innovation in regard to hybrid research and we can’t sing its praises highly enough. By creatively cherry-picking techniques in the quantitative and qualitative arenas, you can not only keep up with those research projects being unavoidably impacted by the unpredictable effects ofCOVID-19; you can also gain a new insights perspective you might have otherwise missed. For most of us, the various tools or approaches that can be used in hybrid solutions aren’t new but, when combined in ways we might otherwise pass over for the tried and tested, it makes for a project solution that works.
One approach to consider is doing a deep, subconscious quantitative dive BEFORE a qualitative study. We use something we call the Implicit / Explicit Test™ where you can measure emotional and rational reactions which motivate consumer decisions. This quick technique quantifies whether an “approach or avoid” reaction is based on emotional (fast) or rational (slow) thinking. Then you can take these findings – which we find more accurate than the usual pre-qual questionnaire –and use this data to build a much deeper qualitative study.
In-person research and consumer product testing have been irrevocably disrupted by COVID-19 and the health and safety regulations it demands. While we have seen some testing facilities reopen for in-person studies, masks and social distancing have introduced a whole new world of obstacles to the process. Some innovative techniques being used to successfully adapt include creative facility set-up, making sure you are creating the right “mask message” for interviewees and clients, and finding alternative solutions to employee travel.
If you think about all the messages wearing a mask can convey, you can see how not paying attention to this new requirement could affect the outcome of your study. Mask usage during an in-person study intrinsically communicates both comfort and fear, so you need to think about how this impacts the subconscious of your participants. As we mentioned in our recent blog post, “asking everyone to wear a blue medical mask gives a different room vibe than allowing people to bring their own mask and use it to share a bit about their personality—perhaps as part of an ice-breaker session.” This is an important piece of the qual puzzle you won’t want to overlook.
A variety of emotional and behavioral frameworks can be used to help examine and predict consumer behavior and, in turn, help with product or service innovation. One of the most useful we’ve found during this time is what we call the The Emotions Insight Wheel™ which categorizes the motivators of our choices into four categories: functional, social, psychological and sensorial. This framework has been incredibly helpful in understanding pandemic-related behavior.
During this pandemic, we have been conducting an ongoing study deeply examining motivators behind consumer behavior to help guide our process. In terms of our framework, sensorial motivators and psychological motivators are coming forth as the most important to consumers as they seek comfort and distraction. By keeping up with changing consumer motivations, you can make sure your audience — or your client’s audience — are similarly in step.
One thing the pandemic has brought to light is the need for nimble, speedy research to inform decision-making. This efficiency is sometimes hard to achieve due to the strictures around the global health crisis. One way to consider speeding up your studies is to tap into do-it-yourself research. What we call “Assisted DIY Research” could include accessing syndicated research reports that can be downloaded to glean insights pertinent to your questions of interest, or you can take the information in the reports and self-generate your own needed data from the warehoused information. DIY Research could also extendinto the realm of conducting custom research yourself through on-demand assistance from experts in front end design and back end interpretation. DIYjust might be the way to meet the need to get the data you need quickly, when other avenues have been delayed.
Innovation in a post-pandemic world might pose some challenges, but it certainly isn’t impossible. And who knows? You might discover a new way of doing research that will help bolster your work now and into the future. Need somewhere to start? Check out our Resource Library for free webinars, blog posts, and more on emergent topics and trends.