Some time ago I took a course specializing in Social Science innovative research methodologies. One of the things that struck me the most after taking the course was that the people around me (in the marketing field of course) were really anxious to know what more I had learned in this course; they asked me for the course topics and they asked me for updates every so often ( if you are interested in knowing, the innovative methodologies had to do with ethnographies, “aural” research- reviewing the songs that a person listens to- sensorial devices that measured galvanic responses and of course digital diaries).
All of this made me think about the hunger there is for innovative methods, to stop doing the same things, to put the blessed focus groups (temporarily or not) in a box. I´m not going to discuss whether the focus group is dead, or evolving or if it is more alive than ever (thereis a good article on this subject in Green Book).
It seems we are all running in circles trying to think of the most innovative methodologies, this is especially true in innovation agencies, but also in research agencies. First to win the pitch and stand out from the other 4 agencies we compete with. Secondly, to position ourselves as a vanguard agency. And if we’re lucky fourth place would be occupied by the methodology’s contribution to giving results.
One of the defects that those of us who are dedicated to this industry suffer from is how passionate we are about our work. We love to hear, read and ask; find out more about subjects that we haven’t even contemplated before the brief. To sit down and fish for insights, identify findings, to make our lovely and increasingly better designed slides with better storytelling and less words. How delightful! … But what about the client’s objectives? A lot of times it seems that we leave them on a secondary level.
Maybe our ego is larger. Our passion for communicating what the consumers said. Our inclination to be ever more innovative. And many times we find clients who complain about the 139 slides or get bored at slide no. 8 or simply don’t see how our incredible, eye-catching and vanguard method was useful in responding to their request.
In High Speed we believe that even the most revolutionary methodology is not necessarily one that has never been done before, or that it involves shooting a video, or hyper advanced technology; all of this while we moderate balancing a unicycle.Nowadays, giving results and being more business- oriented is what is revolutionary;finally the passion for knowing more and relating with the consumer is something we already have. We need to listen more to the client, really understand the particularity of the challenge, the context. Put ourselves in their shoes and deliver what we would like to receive. Stop putting out projects as if “making tortillas”; dedicate the necessary mindfulness to them , maybe even decreasing the amount of projects at the same time; sitting down to calmly analyze them, starting over if necessary. Being as flexible as we ask our clients to be.
So I ask myself if the thirst for “out of the box” methodologies respond to more interesting business challenges, to more competition, to our boredom, our ego or to an honest desire to solve the project’s objectives in the best way. An auto-analysis never hurts.