Agile research often gets confused with lower costs and speed to delivery, with a focus on quicker, fast turnaround research solutions often bound by templates and black box approaches. Such approaches can stranglehold creativity and the delivery of insightful and instructive solutions.
While speed and value are important and lie at the heart of our approach, this is achieved through flexibility, innovative tools, iterative approaches and engaging key team players throughout the process. Adoption of these principles can provide high value, comprehensive and instructive information, the first time around.
A Framework for Agile Research
Do you fully understand the business objectives? Frame the research around the real business issues at hand. These objectives should serve as the guiding light throughout the whole research process.
Have you exhausted all existing data sources? Spending the time up front can accelerate the research process, feeding into more instructive, richer data. Look beyond traditional sources, for example, social media and product reviews can shine the light on new ways of thinking about a brand or how a product is being used by consumers.
Are you asking the right questions in the right wayThe old adage ‘garbage in/garbage out’ still rings true today. Consideration should be given to the wording of questions, filtering these to the right audience and streamlining the structure of the survey – can 1 comprehensive question be asked instead of 3.
Do the findings align with other work conducted? Rather than treating each project as a ‘one off’ study, adopt a broad brush approach to the analysis, building in learnings from other data sources to uncover new insights and translate these into addressing the business issues at hand. These additional data sources can often cut down the need for extra question areas, fuelling speed to delivery and value.
Mary Logan is the President at Research & Incite, a Toronto based strategic research consultancy.