Change, as they say, is good. Some of us require convincing of this seemingly self-evident truth, and there’s a whole industry devoted to helping people move their cheese. This weekend, as I did laundry and was greeted by a noise that sounded like an animate robot desperately trying to claw its way out of my dryer, I was still thankful that I didn’t have to go down to the stream with my washboard. Change, specifically innovative change, is good.
In the world of market research, however, good change can be hard to come by. How do we know which new methodologies are going to stick around and which innovations will instead share the fate of the Segway and Honegar?
In a perfect world, every new methodology would be faster, cheaper, and better at providing deep and relevant insight. In the real world, methodology innovation is more likely to succeed when:
- It is done purposefully, with a business need in mind. Teams can innovate selectively by identifying questions that cannot be answered with traditional methods, or by finding gaps in existing knowledge.
- There are structures and processes in place to support and encourage innovation.
Unilever was able to reduce new products’ time to market by 20% with their Standards-Based Methodology Innovation Cycle. A detailed set of best practices provides a benchmark against which new information sources can be evaluated, and helps to create clear innovation priorities. Ideas are solicited from a select group of suppliers and screened through a resource-efficient evaluation process.
Unilever created a great support structure around smart methodology innovation by tying change to business needs. Stay tuned to hear more ways new and better methodologies can be successfully integrated into your active portfolio, and in the mean time, check out our latest observations on methodology innovation.