OPINION17 June 2015

Technology and the human being


For the second morning I tried to see some non tech-focussed sessions, so started out with a workshop on how your mind plays tricks on you from Jeremy Sack and Abe Rutchick of LRW.


Abe asked how many of the participants had studied psychology at college and must have been scared when most of the audience raised their hands. But they still managed to pull some surprises and again remind us of how fallible and full of biases we humans are. Jeremy then followed these insights with some ideas about how they impact upon the market research process and how we can at least overcome some of the worst biases.

Next was Catherine Willis of Delta Airlines and Noah Roychowdhury from Northstar talking through some innovative qualitative research they conducted with millennial frequent travellers. In order to get really close to them they conducted customer workshops and then latched on to some of the most interesting people in the sessions and conducted further sessions with them and their circle of friends (who also travelled a lot). This gave them a much richer picture of the lives of this generation and how they feel when they travel.

Human insights are different from consumer insights. This was the provocative message from Jim Chastain at Reality Check Consulting who gave an intelligent view from the qualitative world of how to best access human thoughts, beliefs and feelings during research and not get stuck in standard testing approaches.

Matt Warta of Gutcheck talked through a study they did recently within the industry on how the world of agile research is developing. It seems that in the US clients are beginning to really value agile research and its ability to accelerate their time to market. 77% of respondents saw their company doing even more agile research over the next year with around 90% of the people seeing themselves working in a more agile way.

ZappiStore ran some round table sessions over lunch with clients and other agencies about how to bring agile research into the insights department. These sessions included some large clients who were already running their marketing departments with sprints and scrums (agile speak!) and others who could only sigh about how much they wish their company was moving as quickly in that direction as well. The overall need for agile research was agreed by all and we came up with the way to get over some of the resistance to change that clients have encountered by using the agile idea of minimum viable insight.

The day ended up being much more about agile methods and qualitative and human insight than the first day with its much greater emphasis on technology. There was still a lot of tech talk, but this time with a much more human touch and results focus, which was very welcome.

Stephen Phillips is CEO of Zappistore