Agile Research Tools for 2019 Part 2: De-Risking Innovation With The Right Blend Of Research

Agile Research Tools for 2019 Part 2: De-Risking Innovation With The Right Blend Of Research

At Untapped, we feel that all good innovation comes from the resolution of a BIG tension – and nowhere do we see this more acutely than in the world of insight and ideas research.

Often in the same breath, clients will tell us:

‘We need exciting, emotional insights and know qualitative research can unlock these’, but …

‘We really need the rigour of quantitative research to be sure of the data afterwards’.

Combine this with:

‘We really need to focus on inventing for the future’,but …

‘We can’t alienate today’s consumer base’.

And then overlay with the reality of operating in the challenges of today’s world:

‘I need results fast, really fast’, but …

‘My budget is much smaller than before, and my growth targets are the same (or higher)’.


So how can we help our clients de-risk their innovation plans and resolve these big tensions?

We have been working to uncover new research tools that keep the emotional depth of qualitative research, and combine it with the reassuring power of data analytics. Video software overlaid on qualitative interviews can expand base sizes as small as 6 respondents into data sets as large as 8,000 words. Digital scraping can either bring together large, mainstream points of view, which summarise today’s consumer base, or fascinating outliers, which are often emergent clues to tomorrow’s world. And the proliferation of rapid turn-around, online quantitative platforms now allows for fast idea and insight assessment, at a fraction of the cost and lead times of historical methods.

In Untapped’s January blog, Sally shares a suite of emerging qualitative techniques that are sophisticated and agile, and complement big data analytics brilliantly. Which brings us to the next tension – if the researcher’s tool-kit is expanding qualitative and quantitatively to answer big innovation questions, what is the best way to blend all this data in a SIMPLE way to maximise the research budget, reduce lead times, and turn insights into action?

We believe that story-telling is the best method to blend the different data sets and insights in order to generate big ideas. Quoted in Forbes (February, 2019) Kimberly A. Whitler quotes Deirdre Breakenridge, author and CEO of Pure Performance Communications,‘In order to talk about data and analytics, you have to remember that it informs better storytelling. The two should operate together’. By starting with a story mind-set the right blend of research can be designed in right from the beginning.

Here are some top tips for using story-telling to blend your research methods and output:

  1. Get clear on who is your hero – which target will help to reach your business potential?
  2. Recruit carefully – small base sizes of well chosen respondents are worth their weight in gold.
  3. Partner well – agencies with a story mind-set will help design research output to tell stories vs. disparate facts.
  4. Design with an eye to the future (it is coming fast!) – incorporate emergent cultural trends with current target insights.
  5. Story Pipeline – use story thinking to blend your research data and generate a big ROI via a multi-layered ‘story pipeline’ for years to come; rarely when seeking a story does just one emerge.

Do get in touch if you like to discuss Untapped’s full range of story-telling & research techniques.

Deirdre Walters
Deirdre Walters
[email protected]

Deirdre is fascinated by the diversity of Untapped clients, and enjoys working with them to reduce innovation uncertainty, translating complex consumer and technology insights into actionable business recommendations.

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