July 28, 2009
I’m very excited to announce that my Innovation Methodology was issued a US Patent today.
What’s it all about, you ask? Well, take a look at what’s behind the “About” and “Tools” tabs on this site. That will give you a feel for the consumer insight and analytical tools that work together to help focus, inspire and guide concept development for product and package innovation projects.
But there’s more to the Methodology (and the patent) than can be presented here. So get in touch to find out more.
July 14, 2009
When I first wrote and published this cartoon, some were offended. Thankfully, both sides took me to task. But while the depiction might be stereotypical in equal opportunity fashion, I think the point is valid. At least the less obvious point. The most obvious point is that marketers and designers solve problems differently. Newsbreaking, I know.
Less apparent may be the idea that in spite of different ways of viewing the world, marketers and designers desperately need each other. And not because we expect creative and analytical minds to sit in separate corners performing the discrete tasks to which they are best suited. But because when they work together on the very same task, the results are better.
Why? Think about the engine and transmission of a car. One generates unbridled horsepower. The other makes that power more efficient and purposeful, delivering it to the road. Some would argue that the transmission can choke off and constrain the engine. Instead, I think it harnesses and distributes the power as needed and helps the engine react to road conditions.
In the same way, the analytical mind can focus and guide the creative mind in very deliberate fashion to put the horsepower against the project parameters that matter most. Not to elaborate here, but that’s what my KMG Innovation Methodology is basically all about.
So, the next time you see marketers and designers on a collision course, try working through the gears together.
July 7, 2009
Recently, I was preparing for some Immersion work for a client that involved witnessing some consumer shopping occasions. I contacted a recruiter that I hadn’t used before, but had been recommended. I was looking to recruit grocery store shoppers along specific category, attitudinal, demographic and behavioral criteria. No big deal.
Until the recruiter asked me for a few details: What should the scheduled interview times look like each day? At what specific stores in the area would I like to meet the respondents? Do I want to meet them before they shop or after? Those of you who have been involved in ethnographic research can plainly see the danger signs in this line of questioning. And those of you who haven’t might certainly smell something fishy. When I asked the recruiter why she was asking me for this information, she said: “It’s easier for all of us that way”. Oh, well–if it’s easier…
I told the recruiter that I wasn’t too concerned about “easy”, and that I wanted to do the sessions when, where and how the consumer typically shops. Silence on the other end, as she thought about how this little wrinkle would impact her day. As if no one ever demanded this before. Suffice it to say that we did it my way, which in my mind is the only worthwhile way to do it.
Contrived ethnography is a contradiction in terms, as well it should be. Whether in homes, stores or anywhere else, Immersion is not simply an interview in context. The user experience cannot be “scheduled”. Insight into shopping behavior cannot be gleaned in an unfamiliar store or a forced in-store routine. True Immersion doesn’t involve more time in a sit-down Q&A than in observation. And, it does not involve scads of note-takers, videographers and observers.
So, the next time you are asked by your ethnographer when and where you would like to do the “in-home interviews”, run. Or, better yet, say “whenever and wherever the consumer wants”.