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Enablement: A Paradigm Shift for the Corporate Researcher

Posted by Ryan Kelly on 10/13/14 8:26 AM
Ryan Kelly

Last year when I returned from the MRA's Annual Corporate Researcher's Conference, the hot topics were clearly defined, yet diverse:

While the topics above remain relevant and continue to shape the present and future of our field, one clear theme emerged from this year's CRC: Enablement.

En`a´ble`ment — the act of enabling, or the state of being enabled

Amid a corporate climate of innovation, researchers find themselves in a new and unique position. As more internal stakeholders have a need for research, corporate researchers see the value in providing their colleagues with the tools necessary to get answers to key business questions quickly and accurately. While large-scale, researcher-led projects aren’t going away, requests for inexpensive, actionable feedback from internal clients is increasing to support rapid innovation in corporate environments. Additionally, sharing these findings throughout the organization is becoming increasingly critical to ensure that end users of the research are enabled appropriately.

Below are three steps we can take, whether as corporate researchers or research providers, to give our clients what they need in today's business environment:

  1. Communicate: Last week I received a call from someone at a Fortune 100 tech company inquiring about a research project they'd like our help with. After some conversation, I learned that we were already working with another group within their company with nearly identical goals. We were able to share the results with this stakeholder at no additional cost, virtually doubling the value of the study. How’s that for ROI?

Before you begin a research project, ask yourself this question – do I have all of the necessary stakeholders on board? Which brings me to the next step…

  1. Share Samuel Lindsey and Darcy Merriam from Adobe Systems gave a great talk about the evolving innovation and research landscape at Adobe. One of the key takeaways from their presentation was their focus on sharing research within the organization. Adobe has created a cross-departmental platform for sharing current and past research within their organization.

Like any organization with unified goals across departments, much of the research required to support innovation at Adobe could be shared across working groups. Making existing research easy to access frees up budget dollars for other key initiatives.

  1. Support – Finally, researchers in the new MR environment must be prepared to support their internal clients when needed. There is still a place and a need for large-scale in-depth research projects that require the ongoing guidance of a professional researcher. A researcher's role is to know when to step in and support – assisting their stakeholders as needed.

Even with the advent of out-of-the-box research tools and sharing of insights across departments, there is demand for researchers to help guide their clients to the right methodologies and approaches, ensuring that data isn’t misinterpreted. Cultivating a culture of communication and an open-door policy at your research department is key.

In an age where data is increasingly commoditized, the new market researcher is seasoned and skilled enough to direct their clients to the right data at the right time, enabling innovation and action within their corporation as part of a coherent market research strategy.

Topics: Market Research

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