On Friday, researchers in our network posted blogs, tweeted, and contributed to LinkedIn with a host of fantastic and fanciful ideas on how to change our business models, get new insights from customers and consumers, and interact with clients in a completely different way. Of course, being April Fool’s Day, many of these ideas were just that: fantasy. Apparently even researchers need to blow off a little steam once in a while.
The thing is, there was a kernel of truth to what happened on Friday. We do need to step outside our comfort zone and grant ourselves the liberty to try new things. At the heart of research is experimentation. It’s all too easy to use tried-and-true methods to get to the root of your problem, or to develop a new idea, or to explore uncharted territory. The difficulty is, if you do what you’ve always done, you may well get what we’ve always got. Escalating competition, price pressure generated by the economic climate, and a general aura of uncertainty has a tendency to make people retreat into the safety of “the box”. Better to sell certainty, you think, than to stick your neck out and go for a fresh approach.
Someone needs to put the brakes on the same-old, same-old train! So we’re suggesting you use all that creativity you employed (or at least enjoyed) last week to take a step in the right direction. Some rules of thumb we like to use:
- Identify the problems you need to solve, or the decisions you need to make.
- Formulate those as questions to be answered.
- Determine the absolute best people to respond (hint – sometimes it’s your customer, but sometimes it’s you)!
- Ask them to fill in the blanks in a way that is most comfortable for them, not you.
- Be open to something really new, exciting and different.
Getting off the train and onto the trail (of new ideas),
Megann and Steve