There were a couple of things that stuck in my mind, which I’d like to go over.
Firstly, there was concern expressed that consumer research may not be helpful if the product/service is new and innovative. The rationale is: how can you research a need that doesn’t (yet) exist?
The example given on the evening, is this. Had Henry Ford asked people what they wanted, they would have said “a bigger horse”. I reckon Henry knew what people wanted.
Rather than genetically engineering a larger horse, he engineered a substitute for a bigger horse. The Model T had a 20 horsepower engine, and the ability to carry 4 people in (relative) comfort. Now that’s (figuratively) a bigger horse – albeit, mechanical.
The point being – you need more than just the research “I want a bigger horse” but the ability to link customer wants to new products and services that take a leap, that provide solutions that are “figurative rather then literal”. Otherwise we’ll only get incremental innovation.
With that, I’ll just say “iPad” – literally an underperforming notebook and oversized iPhone that can’t make calls. Figuratively – the 3rd category.
Secondly, there was a question about doing qualitative analyses on large amounts of unstructured data. Panel members suggested that you ought not do qual on big groups.
There has been a growth in textural and sentiment analysis of late, a major driver being analysis of social media discussions / blogs / comments, which are unstructured, and in their 10’s of thousands.
There are a number of products using automated sentiment analysis and natural language processing – and they’re getting better. Take a look at this recent Mashable article .
And Bruce Temkin (ex Forrester) thinks it’s a Customer Experience Mega Trend. His blog – Experience Matters, is also an excellent resource for Voice of Customer (VoC).
What do you think? Are there any other points, clarifications, or thoughts that stuck in your mind? Perhaps we can keep the conversation rolling?
And thanks once again to Brainmates + Steven Noble, Natalie Rowland, and Adrian Ewart for an “insightful” evening. Brainmates, when is the next one?