Author Archives: Snap360 Support

Magic, Sausage-Making and the Baking of Insight Cakes: Or Why I Hate Providing Draft Reports

Like magic and sausage-making, the process of arriving at insights is not necessarily something people should see up close, no matter how tasty and delightful the final result may be.

There are two points in this work where clients and research agencies are in very good alignment. The first is at the end of the fieldwork, where I suspect we are all equally overwhelmed.

Naturally, I make reassuring noises, but the truth is, even if I have a pretty good sense of the landscape, the sheer quantity of data is often overwhelming on my side, too.

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Why do appliance sales people recommend one brand over another?

In the highly competitive world of major appliance retail, the margins of success for one brand over another are not only product – they are also heavily dependent on channel management strategies.

In a first project, we helped our client map out the landscape as seen by a retail sales associate: barriers, quicksand, and paths to the gold at the end of the rainbow.

Commissioned sales people do not readily reveal their secrets in a simple discussion. We used a number of game techniques in various projects to get them focused on the game while revealing their opinions.

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Why can’t a public sector employer improve their employee satisfaction ratings?

A fast-growing urban area was finding it difficult to move certain indicators on their employee satisfaction questionnaire, despite sustained effort.

Employee research is uniquely tricky, since all research events are also interventions in the system. We use an Appreciative Inquiry philosophy to guide our approach in these situations, where the focus is on envisioning a better future, instead of complaining about what isn’t working today.

Senior executives attended the discussions, and heard the stories, dreams and frustrations of employees, giving them the personal insight needed to lead change.

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How should a future tax-information service approach technology design?

A client expert joined me in the offices of tax specialists working in a wide variety of environments. One participant took us into his filing room and showed us his challenges in dealing with foreign language subsidiary financial statements, and how he was solving this issue.

After decoding these insights, a sub-group of the same individuals, and some new faces, were invited to half-day Discovery Labs.

Beginning concepts were stress tested and refined, and approximate price tolerance for new services was gauged.

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What should a future bank machine be able to do?

In this two-stage project we started with a three-day online community with consumers. Research activities included an out-of-home assignment, as well as concept evaluation.

The most engaged and creative of the first group were invited into a second phase of the project. Consumers created five mini-movies with themselves as the star, reporting on specific activities and transactions over two weeks.

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The Innovative Workout

In our culture today, we tend to leap from problem to solution. We have been rewarded with this approach most of our lives.

But when you are looking for fresh ideas, you will get farther if you change the solution into a lot of questions. For instance ….

I wanted to go to the gym more often. This is a problem many of us have. I had memberships I didn’t use. I found it painfully boring. Net result: not working out enough. Common solutions: be more disciplined, book time in my calendar, yada, yada, yada.

What worked?

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How does a global professional firm compete for top talent and build an employment brand?

A big-four accounting and consulting firm was seeking ways to make their job offer the most sought-after, and most likely to be accepted by top talent on campus, as well as mid-career job changers.

For the first project, we needed to define what was unique and special about the organization for those that loved it. We conducted in-person interviews with partners, triad interviews with the newly hired, and phone + web interviews with former employees and with those who had declined a job offer. We also had online discussion forums with different segments of employees.

Later projects involved having students play “Apprentice,” by designing an on-campus recruiting campaign.

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