This next post is a bit of a subversive, yet important, nugget I walked away with after attending TMRE this year. I heard a good deal of chatter around making insights “stick” and how to help clients and stakeholders internalize and, even more importantly, evangelize the insights we as researchers bring to them.
I think it’s pretty well-known by most adept researchers these days that charts and cross-tabs and percentages (and even straight-up verbatims) don’t speak for themselves. Context and an understanding of real business objectives turns data into insight. And I am constantly keeping this in mind when delivering research and analysis. I am always trying to move beyond simply delivering data to delivering impactful and actionable insights.
But while this idea of context gets at insight, there is now a growing understanding that this isn’t enough. We are a busy – crazy busy – society these days. This is no secret. And while researchers’ main jobs are conducting and interpreting research, our stakeholders’ main jobs are often not. So they need a quick and easy way to internalize findings and insight. Colliding with this need for quick bites of data is an uptick in “visual-ness.” And this was a lot of what I heard at TMRE. As Jared Weiner (VP of Weiner, Edrich, Brown Inc.) said in his keynote – we are moving from a society that communicates strictly through dense language to a society communicating largely through imagery, noting examples such as SnapChat and Instagram. Taking it down to a research level, even Dan Pink (who I wrote about back in February of this year: http://blog.invoke.com/employee-motivation/) talked about how much he loves word clouds in his keynote.
And I did for sure talk to some individuals on the exhibit floor and at some random sit-downs that are very focused on telling their research story more visually. Infographics, for example, are a way some researchers are starting to present data in a more engaging and dynamic way.
I think this shows that we as researchers not only need to always be looking for new ways of gathering data (which is so often the focus), but also of presenting it. Even as I write this post, I am sitting at an NEMRA conference and just heard Manila Austin, VP of Research at Communispace talk about how important it is to visualize data when presenting to clients and a need to be “entertaining.” Research at its core is inherently interesting to researchers. But with stakeholders outside the research capacity, there should be a desire to bring it to life for them – through imagery, videos and Infographics.
When creating my Insights Reports, I am constantly looking for ways to present my data in fun and interesting new ways to further engage my clients and bring my findings to life. But all this talk around making insights more engaging through imagery has really given me a new mission to always keep thinking about how to make my insights and findings more exciting and engaging for my clients. So, all you Invoke clients – keep an eye out for some new , interesting ways we will be presenting data in the future.
If you would like to check out my other blog posts from TMRE on Online Qual (http://blog.invoke.com/my-tmre-2013-takeaways-part-i-online-qual-is-important/) and Mobile (http://blog.invoke.com/tmre-2013-takeaways-part-ii-mobile-officially/), feel free. And as a special treat, my colleague Amos Wagon will handle the next post on what he saw regarding Big Data at the conference.
Yours visualizing the future,