NEWS17 November 2009

Research ‘not fulfilling innovation potential’


GERMANY— Market research is not fulfilling its potential to fuel innovation, according to a new study by academics at the Cologne University of Applied Sciences.

Although around 80% of survey participants said that market research could be useful in identifying needs for innovation and testing ideas, more than half said that their company rarely or never used market research as part of its innovation research activities.

The study (available free here) is based on 921 online questionnaires with R&D, marketing and sales executives in various types of companies.

There were only “a few” companies where market research has established itself as a key component of innovation research, the study said. More often it is used on an occasional or one-off basis.

Of the respondents who said that they had never used market research as part of their innovation efforts, the number one reason cited was that in their particular industry or field, market research was “no use”. The questionnaire did not allow for more detail, and the researchers expressed interest in delving further into the circumstances in which research is and is not considered useful. They also highlighted the difficulty of using research to gather insight on products, services or ideas that don’t exist yet.

The study was led by Matthias Fank of the Cologne University of Applied Sciences, with the support of social media monitoring firm Infospeed, panel provider E-Rewards and online researcher Interrogare.