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Research Rebooted: Why Market Research is Broken, How Lean Can Help Fix It

The Difference Engine
September 17, 2013

Research Rebooted: Why Market Research is Broken, How Lean Can Help Fix It

From Lean Day West, September 17, 2013 in Portland, OR

The Difference Engine

September 17, 2013


  1. information request research RFP study design recruitment fielding Analysis Brand/product

    team research & insights research company recruiter/panel moderators research company
  2. The CEO’s Kids “I keep a lot of kids around

    me and ask them questions and peek around the corner when they think I'm not listening. My master plan was I had a lot of kids. I have six kids. Three girls that are six, a 15-year-old, 18-year- old and 22-year-old. I have the perfect research team in my house." http://acupofteawithphd.wordpress.com/2013/06/19/live-from-cannes-cannes-lions-2013-so-farpart-4-its-diddy/
  3. The fear of small numbers Managers worry about the signal-to-noise

    ratio. The smaller the sample, the more we worry about noise (wrong people, inaccuracies or untruths, groupthink, etc.) So they compensate with bigger sample sizes. But more numbers make more noise.
  4. over targeting leads us astray “[M]ost companies with a practiced

    discipline of listening to their best customers and identifying new products that promise greater profitability and growth are rarely able to build a case for investing in disruptive technologies until it is too late.” - Clay Christensen, The Innovator’s Dilemma
  5. research ignores switchers, rejectors, fringe & new users “Generally, disruptive

    technologies underperform established products in mainstream markets. But they have other features that a few fringe (and generally new) customers value.” - Clay Christensen, The Innovator’s Dilemma
  6. garbage in, garbage out “The research manager’s job is to

    manage the hell out of the research.” - Michelle Crawford
  7. packing 10 lbs into a 5 lb bag 30 minute

    surveys 2 hour focus groups 10 page discussion guides Too many questions, too much data, not enough understanding
  8. It's really hard to design products by focus groups. A

    lot of times, people don't know what they want until you show it to them. - Steve Jobs
  9. research ≠ design Research is the process by which we

    understand problems. Design is the process by which we solve problems.
  10. what is a lean company for? 1. To specify customer

    value. 2. To identify & implement the actions that create that value. 3. To remove anything that doesn’t create value. 4. To analyze the results (and repeat).
  11. why does feedback & customer pull matter? Feedback and testing

    (a.k.a., research) help teams settle questions and make decisions based on evidence not preferences. Continuous feedback helps teams see progress.
  12. empower the research manager We have to transform the research

    manager from a project manager into a Scrum master. Their role is to remove obstacles to progress, and to facilitate communication. Their responsibility to the team is to facilitate hypothesis testing, and to create opportunities to challenge assumptions.
  13. nothing beats a conversation. To make research meaningful to the

    whole team, the whole team needs: Investment Access Accountability
  14. forget the horse’s mouth Don’t count on users to make

    your decisions for you - that’s not their job. Don’t let the report be the end of your learning process - it’s just a way to memorialize what you’ve learned and provide a reference when you encounter similar issues again.