Innovation paradox

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Yesterday my blog was about the need to ‘reset’ you view on the world as an important factor in innovation. Within the world of market research we need to practice this more and more.

One aspect that has often be neglected in discussions about marketing research is the role of ‘freshness’ in interviewing. Often questionairs (in quant) or discussion guides (in qual) encourage the path of thinking that is predominant in society. The consumer is encouraged to think within the paradigma’s dictated by the view of the world as it is viewed by the marketing professionals. This is partly because the construction of the questionairs directly follow the assumptions the marketing professionals make: we probe for the information we want to have. Another reason is that the view of the consumer is formed by advertising and communication that is brought to them by the marketeer. So research gives you back the vision on the markets as they where implanted in the collective memory.

This is a barrier to innovation. And it is a barrier to finding new opportunities and new thinking.

Therefore, if we are in the field of innovation, we do not only need a fresh look from the buyers of research, we need to stimulate a fresh look from the consumers as well. This means that we are in need of methods that are a bit disruptive to the consumer and to the research buyers. We need to prevent us from the entrained thinking we are used to. We need to stimulate other parts of the neural networks. I would like to introduce two basic principles:

the more you try to get information from consumers in a format you can directly use and implement, the less the value of the information will be for innovation

the more easy it is to understand the consumer voice, the more ready made the answers are and the less interesting the consumers voice will be

I would like to call this the innovation paradox: if it wouldn’t take as much effort to really innovate, it wouldn’t be so rewarding to really do so.

I see it as a challange to come up with methods that help a fresh and innovative look both with consumers and research buyers.