A new book to help people to understand insight communities

IC Book

By common consent, research communities seem to have been the fastest growing new research approach over the last few years (a view that was supported by the latest GRIT report). Indeed, in some sectors, such as media, brands are beginning to worry about being the last to adopt the idea of having meaningful and on-going conversations with their customers.

However, given the speed that the area is moving, there are a variety of definitions and concepts being used. For example, one hears talk of MROCs, consumer consulting boards, and community panels, to name just three. My preferred term is insight community, and that is the title I have used in my latest book “Insight Communities – Leveraging the Power of the Customer”. The book has been produced by Vision Critical University and I’d like to record my thanks to them and all of those who have helped review material and helped source the many case studies used in the book.

The book is a short read, but covers key elements such as: short-term versus long-term, large versus small, and branded versus blind. The book is packed full of examples and case studies from organisations such as NASCAR, Discover Communications, CBS Outdoor, Diageo, Banana Republic, Avianca, and Cathay Pacific – covering Asia, North America, Latin America, Europe, and Australia.

As well as being an online book, professionally produced bound copies are available from Vision Critical’s London and Sydney offices.

Given the topic of communities is such a dynamic field, I’d love to hear your thoughts, suggestions, and ideas about research communities, where they are going next, and the ideas expressed in the book.

5 thoughts on “A new book to help people to understand insight communities

  1. Thank you for making this book available for free, that is a wonderful resource for those of us still learning, or new to the industry.

  2. FYI on page 6 there is an error. It says “…multiple languages can significant impact the cost and the speed …”

  3. Hi Ray,

    First, thank you very much for pulling this information together. It’s really a boon to anyone who would like to understand how to make use of the internet in a meaningful way to have a conversation with communities.

    I am interested in learning more about a couple comments you make on page 10, under the heading of “Better”. You say that traditional research is ‘like a one-night stand’, where everything has to be learned in a single exercise. In a community the learning it iterative, allowing organizations to access deeper truths.” You go on to describe in the next couple of paragraphs that “the depth of the insights generated becomes richer”, and “[members] become more engaged and more honest”.

    I think this brings up a number of different avenues for exploration. Are you saying, for example, that
    a) iterative learning of X is always “better” than learning X at one go?
    b) that insight communities (IC) always produce iterative learning?
    c) that the output of an IC is more “honest and engaged”?

    I would like to understand under what circumstances, with what resources, and how deployed you have found these to be true? I am wondering what prompts the assumption that one-time conversations with respondents (either individually or in a group) are dishonest, disengaged, or lacking in providing the grist for insight.

    I really like the idea of IC’s. But I am not entirely convinced that traditional forms of research are should be compared as lacking in some of the characteristics. I would rather consider IC’s an alternative, another tool, to gain understanding of people’s lives, which in turn can be used to help organizations be meaningful to consumers, citizens, and people.

    Interested to hear your thoughts,


  4. Thanks for making this available Ray, it really is a great read with some brilliant case studies of insight communities in action.

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