OPINION5 December 2014

Speed, transparency, and ‘good enough’ research


Day two of the APAC IIeX kicked off with Liz Moore from Telstra talking about what business needs today, and how those demands translate for researchers. She talked about more customer centricity and also increasing expectations of speed of turn around.

Borrowing from the Thinking Fast and Slow idea she talked of fast and slow research. Some projects need to be done in a day so that business can move on, while some need much more detailed thinking and they need to provide time for that.

Moore also talked about linking big data and qual understanding, and in a very interesting experiment said that her direct reports will spend some time next year reporting in to the head of Data Analytics and vice versa. She said that this would be a good way to get ideas and perspectives shared and also to help the data folks who have apparently asked: “what’s all this qual stuff then?”

Peter Harris of Vision Critical continues the speed theme when he talked about turning around a quali-quant project in under 15 hours for a key client the day before. He said this project would not have happened at all if the client didn’t have a community available. He also talked about transparency with respondents and said that we can increase the response rate by 400% by simply telling customers exactly what we are trying to get out of the project.

Eric Van Lieven (Direction First) and Helen Bakewell (AMP Shopping Centres) changed the speed tone to talk about a really in-depth look at the future of retail. Using a community approach, they talked about depth of insight and using this to really drive business strategy. They took this all the way through to pushing community members onto the AMP Facebook page where they are asked what retailers would be preferred to go into their local malls.

Next up was a passionate plea for mobile research from MDI’s James Fergusson. He reminded us of the numerous use cases there are for mobile but also that most people in the world do not own smartphones (particularly true in developing markets in Asia) but feature phones. This, he said, really changes the way you need to field research on these devices.

We saw discussions and presentations from Dapresy on dashboarding and storytelling as well as mine on the rise of ‘good enough’ research and how this is often better than the slower, more expensive but perfect research project.

The session on non-conscious measurement was popular as ever. The opportunities for facial imaging were passionately advocated by Alastair Gordon of Gordon McCallum, who wants to see the technology move out of just the ad testing arena and into many more areas of research, such as pack or concept testing. Ken Roberts from Forethought Research talked about a metaphor elicitation technique as a good alternative for gathering emotional reactions to stimulus.

So the big themes emerging across the presentations and debates was summed up in one of the tweets as being “automate, collaborate, innovate, agile”. This seems as good enough a summary to me as we can get.

Stephen Phillips is CEO of Zappistore.