In a world stuffed with data, businesses don’t need more nuggets of insight, they want big, bold ideas. The insights industry must step up to offer smarter solutions; ones that draw upon multiple lenses, existing datasets and extreme perspectives to get to the best answers imaginable.

We need to get beyond what people tell us

The global research and data industry is worth a staggering $80 billion: money that is spent in the pursuit of increased revenue, or improved profitability, or bigger market share. The commercial stakes are high and, as insight professionals, more than anything we must be confident that we’ve got to the best answer imaginable.

But there’s a worry that we’re not always getting to the ‘why’ behind what people tell us. That we are stuck in the here and now; failing to truly connect to culture in a rapidly evolving world - leaving us exposed to more agile brands.

This quest is played out against a backdrop of very real pressure to innovate faster. A PWC survey found that ‘taking innovative ideas to market quickly’ was cited as the biggest innovation challenge, and the GRIT 2021 Business & Innovation report shows, ‘faster time to insights’ as the number one unmet need for suppliers – nothing else came close to it.

The challenge for the market research industry is clear - how can we fuel innovation and strategy with insights that are bold, future-facing and ‘true’?

We’ve developed a new research offer with this in mind - ignite@Verve seamlessly blends our best-in-class research with innovative methodologies, smart technologies and extreme perspectives, to get the whole picture.

  • Ignite GOES FURTHER with smart technologies. Building on Verve’s heritage in data integration, best-in-class tech and DIY solutions, we have developed a powerful AI tool that draws from Universal Human Values to decode culture at scale and predict what’s next.
  • Ignite GETS DEEPER with research specialisms. Our in house-team bring expertise including semiotics, behavioral science, cultural insights, social intelligence, anthropology, UX and advanced analytics to push past what consumers say. Drawing from academia and using established frameworks in a highly commercial, accessible and integrated way.
  • - Ignite DISRUPTS with extreme perspectives. The Ignite Collective is our global community of creative minds, cultural curators and individuals living extreme lifestyles. From hackers to poets, and commune dwellers to collectors, Igniters are exceptional individuals who see things differently, making them uniquely positioned to provoke change.

We believe that to confidently answer the increasingly complex problems we are faced with we need to pair data with human experts drawn from a range of disciplines.

Huge advances in AI, automation, DIY and data integration in recent years have revolutionized the industry. We have access to consumer and cultural data at the click of a button, delivering insights at the scale and speed we crave. Yet this is only providing us with part of the picture. As the GRIT report notes, the focus on speed and technology has resulted in the need for the industry to have a ‘thriving consulting capacity’ to look at the big picture.

Daniel H Pink predicted this shift back in 2005 when he wrote A whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule The Future. Pink foretold that the global Information Age, with its emphasis logic, linear thinking and gathering facts, key characteristics of ‘left-brain’ thinking, would give way to the Conceptual Age. This new age would be characterized by a reliance on uniquely human, ‘right-brain’ traits, such as imagination, holistic thinking and empathy, in order to make meaning.

There is growing adoption of right-brain approaches such as semiotics, behavioral science, cultural analysis, UX and futurology in market research, as the industry looks to adjacent disciplines to make sense of data and get to a deeper truth. The challenge is that specialisms are often presented as academic, making them difficult to explain to stakeholders familiar with surveys and focus groups. Experts are pitted against technology, in a zero-sum game, or treated like the best china, set aside for only special occasions.

A diversity of perspectives will test our views, but with diversity of thought we are more likely to come to the right answer.

Pushing past the tried and tested and landing on truly ground-breaking ideas demands cognitive diversity. This is because how people think is as important as what they think. As Matthew Syed sets out in Rebel Ideas; The Power of Diverse Thinking, only by including a range of perspectives can we free ourselves from the blinkers and blind spots that beset us all.

There is real strength in viewing a challenge from a range of perspectives. Cognitive diversity, or diversity of thought, has been proven to drive faster problem solving and better decision making, leading to a more agile and high-performing business. A study by Deloitte found that cognitive diversity can enhance team innovation by up to 20%.

Importantly, this is different to diversity in gender, ethnicity and age. Harvard Business Review found no correlation between demographic diversity and performance. Of course, demographic diversity still matters, but it’s not enough on its own. For example, two siblings could be demographically identical, yet think very differently.

Rather than more of the same research, we need to bring in extreme perspectives and alternative lenses. Getting beyond the comfortable middle and pushing to the outliers enables us to rapidly come up with new and better ideas to solve business challenges.

We’re igniting innovation, strategy and branding with insights that are smart and unbreakable - uncovering opportunities that are stimulating and provocative: it’s the future of market research.

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