Disruption and the Role of Research in the New Economy

By December 1, 2015 Other One Comment

kathy120At the The Market Research Event in Orlando last month, there was a lot of buzz about Big Data and automation disrupting the face of research.  Then within a week of the conference, Seth Godin, one of the conference keynotes, publishes a blog post discounting the validity of Surveys and Focus Groups stating “polls are always wrong.”  Hard not to come out worried that our craft is under-siege.

Yet, despite the naysayers, I actually walked away energized and optimistic for the next era of research to emerge.  While trend gurus prophesized about disruption in the form of greater “personalization” and the impact of the “sharing” economy, I was jotting notes on how researchers can use these trends to add value to the research process.  As brand strategists are discussing all the data they receive and can’t understand, I was sketching out ideas for tools and services that help our clients meld big data with traditional approaches to understand the “why” behind the numbers.

Traditional research is not dead.  Our role as researchers is needed more than ever before.  Automated, big data is just that – data.  And, data has always needed to be interpreted and massaged.  Our place in the new economy is to ask relevant questions, design meaningful experiments and craft actionable insights.  Instead of hiding from the future, let’s embrace it.  In my humble opinion, the new economy can’t afford to move forward without us.

One Comment

  • David says:

    Great statements here, Kathy.

    The big data wave is really just forming – especially with the advent of the Internet of Things/Everything (IoT.) Physical products are going to join the game in sharing their data; virtual applications will attempt to organize that data – and even attempt to present predictions based on that data. But in the end, it comes down to the subject matter experts of research analysis to navigate the data. There are a lot of folks out there than can create a pretty graph – so many apps today enable people to do that – but not many people can truly ascertain what the calls-to-action should be. That’s where the researcher becomes the ultimate consultant – especially as it pertains to contextualizing the data to business goals.

    Utopia is to have the products, the software, the data, and the people fully balanced in a “conversation” so that each is able to move forward towards becoming more productive, efficient, and just simply better.

    Thanks for the post, Kathy.

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