Archive for the 'insight' Category

The Culture of Childhood: Understanding children’s goals

May 30 2016 Published by neilgains under insight

It’s an old Hollywood myth to “never work with animals of children”, and while TapestryWorks have avoided the former so far, we have often been involved in research with children. Of course, children are usually a little less articulate than adults, but are also usually very clear on what they like and don’t like.

Therefore, a good approach to research with children is to provide stimuli for them to react to. Over the past year, we have been developing a set of stimuli specifically for children, based around our StoryWorks motivational model. Read more »

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Are Most Insights Obvious? And what does that mean for market research?

Apr 14 2016 Published by neilgains under insight

Stan Sthanunathan (Senior Vice President of Consumer and Market Insights at Unilever) recently said that great insights should appear obvious when you look back. Market Researchers, Data Analysts and Consultants shouldn’t feel offended by this remark, as most great human insights are obvious once you understand them. Read more »

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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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Storytelling in Research

Sep 22 2012 Published by neilgains under insight

As market research has developed it has become more remote from the people it wishes to understand.  Technology is a great enabler, but also creates an artificial barrier between the researcher and customer. Similarly, short and narrowly focused questions and prompts encourage short and narrowly focused answers, missing the full story of human behaviour and failing to capture the goals, emotions and context of decision making. Read more »

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Answers without Questions

Sep 13 2012 Published by neilgains under insight

I believe that market research still relies far too much on direct questions and answers and that many current practices in research suffer from serious flaws. There are three big problems in relying on direct question and answer approaches:

  1. They do not take account of the different systems in the brain
  2. They too often ignore the importance of context (and it’s role in memory)
  3. The act of asking questions can itself change the answers you get Read more »

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The Meaning of White - the Beginning and the End of Colour

Sep 07 2012 Published by neilgains under insight,semiotics

White on white by Malevich

“White resonates, like a silence that can suddenly be understood.” - Wassily Kandinsky

White is the combination of all colours, and the indicator of light and brightness, with powerful meanings linked to all human rites of passage. White is associated with life and death, love and life, old and new, young and old.  We wear white robes for baptism, and white shrouds for funerals, white dresses for weddings and white clothes at Catholic festivals. The colour white is strongly associated with the basics of life, including rice, bread, salt and sugar (especially in Asian cultures). Read more »

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Caveat Emptor: Marketing Cause and Effect

Dec 13 2011 Published by neilgains under insight

“Though experience be our only guide in reasoning concerning matters of fact; it must be acknowledged, that this guide is not altogether infallible, but in some cases is apt to lead us into errors.”  - David Hume

“The invalid assumption that correlation implies cause is probably among the two or three most serious and common errors of human reasoning.”  - Stephen Jay Gould Read more »

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What Shape is Your Thinking?

Sep 24 2011 Published by neilgains under insight

“The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in the mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function. One should, for example, be able to to see that things are hopeless yet be determined to make them otherwise.”  - F. Scott Fitzgerald

Connecting the dots

Are you drowning in the sea of data yet? As the world becomes more and more complex, with more and more information to understand and less and less time to do this, the importance of integrative thinking becomes more and more important. In The Opposable Mind, Roger Martin presents a number of convincing business case studies, including A.G. Lafley at P&G, Jack Welch at GE, Michael Lee-Chin at AIC and Martha Graham (who revolutionised modern dance) of integrative thinking.  The common thread in these examples and others is that all of them demonstrate the ability to see problems from a range of perspectives, think in terms of total systems and not component parts, and simplify complex ideas into straight forward (and often disruptive) solutions to problems. Read more »

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Short Cuts

Jul 27 2011 Published by neilgains under insight

I have just watched Short Cuts again, one of my favourite films directed by the great Robert Altman (The Player, M.A.S.H., etc).  The movie is based on a series of nine short stories by Raymond Carver (plus a poem) with a total of 22 characters taking part in the the scenes.  While Carver’s original stories are all independent, Altman magically creates a movie which feels whole and complete, with many great performances (who can’t fail to love a movie with Lyle Lovett and Tom Waits in the cast as well as a long list of Hollywood ‘A’ list stars).   Above all he achieves the unity by subtly forging a series of links between the different stories and scenes.  The different scenes provide a vivid representation of the randomness and chance of life and also of the sometimes surprising connections that exist between different people. Read more »

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Listening to the World Go By

May 04 2011 Published by neilgains under insight

Questions, questions

After watching the world go by for a while, you may still have some unanswered questions which means it may be time to start a conversation with your customers.  Although more than 90% of communication is non-verbal, there is a huge amount to be learnt from listening to consumers (and asking the occasional question), especially when this is done in the right way. Read more »

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