Let The Hands Speak

Oct 26 2015 Published by neilgains under brain science

“Language is inseparable from imagery” argues David McNeill (quoting from Antonio Damasio) in his revealing book on the relationship between gesture and language. Moreover, gestures actually help us to think and to speak and to articulate our feelings and thinking. Read more »

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The Quest for Beautiful Questions in Outer and Inner Space

Oct 04 2015 Published by neilgains under book review

In The Martian, the stranded astronaut Mark Watney has to use his wits and scientific knowledge to overcome hostile landscapes and environment, tragic accidents and the loneliness of being the only man left on Mars. The story focuses on his ingenuity in solving all the problems that he comes up against. And why is Mark Watney so good at solving all the problems that confront him? He is also very good at asking the right questions. Read more »

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Designing Presentations in a SNAPP

May 26 2015 Published by neilgains under storytelling

In 100 Things Every Presenter Needs To Know About People, Susan Weinschenk outlines many behavioural triggers and barriers in the context of successful presentations, covering how people think and learn, how to get attention, how to motivate, how people listen and see, how they react to the environment, how they react emotionally, and how they decide to take action. The book is a useful summary of many of the behavioural quirks we have written about here. Most especially, the different behaviours that the author highlights fall into the five themes outlined in TapestryWorks’ SNAPP thinking framework which we find a useful way to simplify human behaviour and decision-making into broad themes. Read more »

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Review of Language: The Cultural Tool by Daniel Everett

Oct 07 2014 Published by neilgains under book review

In Language: The Cultural Tool, Daniel Everett argues that language is a tool developed by humans to communicate, in the same way that we have developed other tools to help us cook, grow plants and drive around. He reviews the diversity of languages around the world, and most especially those he has studied as an anthropologist in the field, and shows that their diversity reflects their origins as tools to solve specific local problems. Read more »

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Film, Co-creation and Story: Making Research More Emotional and Impactful

Jun 27 2013 Published by neilgains under storytelling

The need for emotion

The problem with data is that it is, well, data. And data in itself, however prettily presented, always lack a certain something. Even the best use of powerpoint, prezi, or any other tool is incapable of communicating consumers lives and feelings. Data, however well visualized, lacks empathy and narrative structure. It doesn’t tell a story.

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Lessons from the Master of Deduction

May 13 2013 Published by neilgains under insight

“Tell me to what you pay attention, and I will tell you who you are.” – W.H. Auden

In Mastermind, Maria Konnikova uses the stories of Sherlock Holmes to lay out best practices for deduction, observation, memory and imagination for anyone who wants to be a consulting detective (including market researchers). Some of the key lessons are worth repeating and a good addition to a previous article on Sherlock Holmes, summarised as:

  1. Know yourself
  2. Observe carefully
  3. Imagine
  4. Deduce
  5. Learn Read more »

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Star Wars, Story and Market Research

Dec 10 2012 Published by neilgains under storytelling

Every market researcher dreams of the ideal client, the successful project and the satisfaction of truly understanding the client’s customers to inform a successful business strategy. What could possibly get in the way of this?

An evil empire has descended over market research, which can be summarized in the Edward Tufte quotation, “Power corrupts. PowerPoint corrupts absolutely.” Read more »

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The Explorer (Archetypes #3)

Dec 02 2012 Published by neilgains under archetypes

“I am prepared to go anywhere, provided it be forward.”  - David Livingstone

“It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves.”  - Edmund Hillary

David Livingstone and Edmund Hillary (along with Sherpa Tenzing) are perfect examples of the Explorer archetype, following in the footsteps of those like Christopher Columbus, who are brave enough to “boldly go where no man has gone before” in the words of a famous TV franchise (which also displays the Explorer archetype). Read more »

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Staying Afloat – Keeping Dry in the Data Deluge

Nov 21 2012 Published by neilgains under market research

Yesterday’s MRSS Asia Research Conference focused on the the coming changes in market research and particularly the role of big data. Interestingly, many of the papers came back to the same Vs (sometimes 3, 4 or 5 of them) to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of big data. Read more »

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Squaring the Circle (Introduction to Semiotics Part 8)

Jun 13 2012 Published by neilgains under semiotics

Western thought has always sought to categorise objects as either one thing or another (e.g., Aristotle, Descartes, Kierkegaard) and the concept of binary opposition is central to much of semiotic theory (read the previous article for more on this). However, Eastern philosophers have always realised that the world is not as simple as that, and storytellers and film directors have often taken their lead. Read more »

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