Best Practices

How to be Agile in Your Development Research


Today’s pace of business requires the ability to quickly identify new ideas that are worthy of investment. The name of the game is becoming more nimble and iterative in finding your company’s most promising concepts and products. In short, you need an agile approach to concept and product research.

Applying agile methods to your insights work gives you testing efficiency while still maintaining momentum with your development process. An agile approach provides these dual benefits for all stages of development:


Discovery Phase

If you are in a discovery phase, exploratory qualitative research coupled with synthesis and ideation will help identify the best opportunities for new products and services. We call our approach Ideation Plus TM , and it entails the following steps:


1. The first step is to leverage qualitative research approaches such as, focus groups, in-depth interviews (phone, online, or in-home), online bulletin boards, or co-creation sessions to explore current category reality and target consumer wants/needs.

2. This exploration is followed by a facilitated Looking Glass™ Ideation workshop to identify key insights, energize, and align your team. These workshops aim to leverage your team’s knowledge with key consumer input to identify themes and ideate initial concepts.

3. At the end of the workshop your team selects a set of lead concepts which are placed in an Overnight Concept Screener.

4. These next-day learnings are used by your team to identify the opportunity to internalize the feedback and optimize the concepts.


Concept Iteration and Optimization Phase

For this development phase, you can apply several different customer-centric approaches:

Real Time Concept Iteration™
This is done via focus groups or in-depth interviews and optimizes concepts in one to two days, leveraging your core  team and internal experts to maximize success. This approach gauges target audience reactions to concepts and provides feedback on how to improve/enhance concepts, revise/improve concepts during research, and connect concepts to prototypes to ensure alignment.

Consumer Connect ™ Concept Optimizer
This interactive session between internal team and consumer optimizes concepts in two days, leveraging the team’s multi-functional knowledge and working together to gain deep, diverse insights. This allows teams to interact directly with consumers, gauge their reactions to concepts, and get their feedback on how to improve/enhance concepts, revise/improve concepts during research, and connect concepts to prototypes to ensure alignment.

Bulletin Board Concept Optimizer™
This approach leverages an online/mobile platform to optimize concepts in about one week, reaching across a wide geographical area and giving ample time to fully evaluate ideas. It is used to gather target audience reactions to concepts, obtain feedback on how to improve/enhance concepts, and revise/improve concepts between phases.


Product Development Phase

Consider agile approaches early in the development cycle to ensure the best possible product is carried through to launch:

Pop-up Communities enable customers to participate in their own environment, including when they’re on the go, to share their experiences with current or test products. Customers answer questions, capture pictures or videos, share the details of their experience, and record their actual (vs. claimed) habits and practices in real time. This is ideal to understand how people interact with a category or a test product and provides rich observations and insights of the product experience.

ConnectLive™leverages voice-activated research to capture instant, organic, and uninhibited reactions while people are in the moment and experiencing a new product or service. It’s a powerful way to gather initial reactions, usage experiences, and thoughts on what is or is not working.

Sensory Measure of Design provides an efficient means for gathering small base quantitative measures of desired sensory attributes (i.e., premium, smooth, sticky, etc.) for product prototypes. Multiple product designs are shared with respondents who provide feedback on design/benefit/sensory perception and experience. This is ideal for optimizing sensory cues of a product or package prior to product use testing and can be executed with minimal prototypes.

Experience & Use leverages small base, in-home usage testing to screen product prototypes early in the development phase. Both quantitative and qualitative assessments can be made to identify strengths and weaknesses of each design in order to optimize into a final wining proposition. This approach works to narrow down and refine product design prior to large base, large investment qualification testing.


Want to discuss how to bring more agile approaches to your concept and product development? Contact us.

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