Where does the inspiration for new market research come from?

Shining Light

As part of the preparation for the Festival of NewMR (2-6 December), we are running a study looking at the different sources of inspiration that contribute to market research thinking and innovation. The study is being supported, programmed, and fielded by Festival Gold Sponsor Survey Analytics.

Being co-creational by nature, and given that there is no good current research to ‘borrow from’, the draft questions are set out below in this post – or you can downloaded it from here. We’d love to hear your suggestions.

We are aiming to program the study Saturday 9th November, so suggestions before then would be greatly appreciated.

Draft Survey


What are the sources of market research inspiration?
This short survey has been sponsored and programmed by Survey Analytics, a Gold Sponsor of The Festival of NewMR 2013. The study looks into the places where market research draws its ideas and inspiration. The results will be presented at the Main Stage of the Festival and published via the NewMR website.

This study is purely about your opinions, there are no right and wrong answers, which is why there are no ‘don’t know’s. Nobody ‘knows’, we want opinions.

We are going to start the study thinking about books.

1) Recent Books
Which one of these recent books do you think is having the most impact on market research practice and thinking? (Select one)

  1. Predictably Irrational – Dan Ariely
  2. Switch – Chip and Dan Heath
  3. The Signal and the Noise – Nate Silver
  4. Thinking fast and slow – Daniel Kahneman
  5. To Sell is Human – Daniel H Pink
  6. Other (please specify)

2) Older Books
Which one of these slightly older books do you think has had the biggest impact on market research thinking? (Select one)

  1. Herd – Mark Earls
  2. The Long Tail – Chris Anderson
  3. The Tipping Point – Malcolm Gladwell
  4. The Wisdom of Crowds – James Surowiecki
  5. Wikinomics – Don Tapscott & Anthony Williams
  6. Other (please specify)

3) Wider Books
And, which one of these books do you think is having the biggest impact on the way companies are doing business? (Select one)

  1. Lean In – Sheryl Sandberg
  2. Nudge – Richard Thaler & Cass Sunstein
  3. Steve Jobs – Walter Isaacson
  4. The New Digital Age – Eric Schmidt & Jared Cohen
  5. To Sell is Human – Daniel H Pink
  6. Other (please specify)

4) Business Thinkers
Which one of these business thinkers, writers, bloggers do think is most relevant to today’s market researcher? (Select one)

  1. Warren Buffet
  2. Guy Kawasaki
  3. Rosabeth Moss Kanter
  4. Seth Godin
  5. Tom Peters
  6. Other (please specify)

5) Information Sources
Thinking about how you get your information about new market research, which one of these do you find most useful? (Select one)

  1. Blogs
  2. Company websites
  3. Facebook
  4. LinkedIn
  5. Twitter
  6. Other (please specify)

6) Presentation Thinkers
Which of the following would you most recommend to somebody wanting to improve their presenting? (select one)

  1. David McCandless
  2. Edward Tufte
  3. Presentation Zen
  4. Nancy Duarte
  5. TED Talks
  6. Other (please specify)

7) Key Region
Which region do you think will lead the way in new MR over the next five years? (Select one)

  1. Africa
  2. Asia Pacific
  3. Europe
  4. Middle East
  5. North America
  6. South & Central America
  7. None of them

8) Drivers of Change
Which one of the following is the most likely to improve the research we do over the next ten years? (Select one)

  1. Advances in technology
  2. Changes in the business landscape
  3. New thinking from business
  4. New thinking from mathematics, statistics, analytics & computing
  5. New thinking from psychology and the social sciences
  6. New thinking from market researchers
  7. Left field unknowns

We will also ask four demographics, Age, Sex, Country, and relationship to the research industry (e.g. buyer, seller, academic etc).


HT (hat tip) to Jon Puleston, the idea for this study came from Jon’s 2011 presentation at the Festival of NewMR where he created his own awards for transformative, events, sources, and technologies.

11 thoughts on “Where does the inspiration for new market research come from?

  1. Interesting that things like need, costs, respondent/client feedback, response rates/termination rates/refusal rates, do not call registration, legal requirements, etc. were omitted…and that education was not included in demographics.

    1. Hi Dick
      That is why we are consulting, to ensure we cover the key areas, and do so in a way that is clear to potential participants in the study.

      Most of the things you mention I would have included in the “changes in the business landscape” heading in Question 8. Some of the things you mention, like cost pressures, are perhaps an indirect source of inspiration. They are the reason we need the inspiration, but the inspiration perhaps comes from somewhere else.

      I think the ‘crowd’ is an important point, for example client and respondent feedback.

      The only point I am curious about is why we might ask education in a B2B study? Are you thinking in terms of arts versus sciences, or highest formal level of academic accreditation, or professional development?

  2. In the LinkedIn discussion on this topic Betsy Lechliter has made two interesting points. 1) that the survey is more narrow that the questions that created it, and 2) that we should start with a really big open-ended question to capture people’s thoughts – presumably before the survey process narrows people’s thinking.

    Good points and we are adding them and Dick’s points to the mix.

  3. Ray – only one small comment. On question 5, do you want to say “new market research” or do you really mean “advances in market research” or do you really mean “new market research, things like neuroscience, social media analysis, etc.”. Just think the term “new”, as you’ve had discussions on LinkedIn and Greenbook, may be vaguer than you intend.

    One other suggestion – the assumption made here is that people are looking at books and web for inspiration – agree with Louise above that there are other sources. Perhaps one question regarding “where do you get your inspiration from?” – with answers like books, websites, web discussions, colleagues, clients, consumers, teachers, etc.

  4. Hi Ray,
    I would echo Dick’s thoughts but would focus even more on identifying the types of marketing problems and opportunities best suited to a research solution and especially a NewMR approach. These are the components that are missing in my paradigm. The areas explored in the current draft are certainly sources to consider but I always comeback to real world application and “necessity being the mother of invention” (and sometimes inspiration and innovation).

    1. The comments here and in the LinkedIn discussion have highlighted a need to tighten definitions. I think the term inspiration is worthy of analysis, but probably in a later project. We draw inspiration from many places, including the arts, our own lives, and participants. But we rarely gather ideas for market research methods and applications from those sources.

      New methods and approaches, or in Steve’s words advances, in market research, such as Conjoint, Ethnography, Semiotics, Discourse Analysis, Behavioural Analysis, Predictive Markets, Projective techniques, fMRI scanning, facial coding etc (all of which were new advances once) came from leaders in other fields. It is the question of how ideas for research approaches appear that I think this study will focus on – kicking off with a big open-ended question. Coming back to the broader question of inspiration later – possibly as a qualitative project, rather than trying to tackle it with a survey.

  5. The inspiration comes from the commitment to creating solutions that are timely, affordable and actionable…a systems approach.. use of multi-disciplinary, hybrid approaches.. embracing and leveraging leading edge technology.. New MR is the outcome of this mindset, attitude and behaviour

  6. I would be keen to see answers to historically focused key region and drivers of change

    9) Key Region
    Which region do you think has lead the way in new MR over the last five years? (Select one)

    Africa
    Asia Pacific
    Europe
    Middle East
    North America
    South & Central America
    None of them

    10) Drivers of Change
    Which one of the following do you think has most improved the research we do over the last ten years? (Select one)

    Advances in technology
    Changes in the business landscape
    New thinking from business
    New thinking from mathematics, statistics, analytics & computing
    New thinking from psychology and the social sciences
    New thinking from market researchers
    Left field unknowns

  7. For your big open ended question ” to capture people’s thoughts – presumably before the survey process narrows people’s thinking.” I suggest you introduce that question with the purpose of this survey as you stated it above: “looking at the different sources of inspiration that contribute to market research thinking and innovation”. And very importantly in that introduction, please give some examples of what you consider to be market research thinking and innovation. For example, do you consider Ernest Dichter/the invention of focus groups in that category? What about random digit dialing? Is crowdsourcing an example of what you have in mind? MaxDiff? I suggest that you will get more out of the big open ended question if you provide a framework that expresses the broad continuum of what you consider innovation and innovative thinking.

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