We often hear stories of research initiatives that did not lead to useful insights on which stakeholders could act. This may result in a litany of post-mortem issues such as:
- “Why did we do this research?”
- “What was the point of this investment?”
- “How do we use this information?”
- “What should we have done differently?”
Clearly defined objectives are the foundation of a successful research initiative. Unfortunately, sometimes objectives are unfocused and plans for using the results have not been well considered in advance.
Your insights partner should be a guiding force to keep things on track and lead you to a successful outcome that is actionable. There are several ways in which ensure your insights can help you avoid the “what if” questions that plague failed initiatives:
1. Develop initial hypotheses and share these with your insights partners. You are the expert when it comes to knowing your business and marketplace. This insight is useful to researchers to ensure the necessary information is collected and analyzed in a way that will validate/invalidate these predictions. A bonus to this pre-work may also serve to ‘trim the fat’ from surveys, and identify information you already know or have.
2. Engage relevant teams early and often with both your insights partner and stakeholder teams during the initial phases where there are questions that need to be answered and direction that needs to be decided upon, engage and plan with your insights partners to vet ideas, set objectives, plan strategy, and design the project. This is not a one and done conversation but should be done regularly throughout the life of a project.
Clearly defined objectives are the foundation of a successful research initiative. Unfortunately, sometimes objectives are unfocused and plans for using the results have not been well considered in advance.”
3. Collaborate fully with your insights partners on all aspects of a project, it may be easier to simply tell them what you want, how you want it done, what to look for, etc. However, there is a high probability that this approach could make you miss out on techniques or methods of achieving end goals in the optimal way. What’s more, sharing your thoughts and vision as well as listening to your partner will elevate the actionability of insights in the end.
4. Be inclusive by inviting your partners to internal meetings before project launch and when taking action on the results of a project. Conversations (and even passive listening) serve to bring in additional ideas and elevate understanding and intent.
Want to discuss more about how to plan and build a successful research initiative?