Why can’t we stop talking about speed in market research?

The consumer landscape is changing at lightning speed, and our insights must stay a step ahead. It’s no time to move slowly!

If you've participated in the market research industry at all recently - reading content, attending virtual events, speaking with colleagues - you have probably noticed that everyone wants to do things faster. Yeah, yeah, we know. Speed is the topic du jour and has been for quite some time. 

Doing things faster in market research requires eliminating manual tasks, employing technology, and streamlining processes. But putting these things together and implementing step change in an organization can be the antithesis of speed. The massive effort required to change traditional ways of doing things slows things down to a mere amble. Speed becomes something insights teams can only dream about and relegated to the “aspirational” goals category. 

But even so, that doesn’t mean we can stop talking about it. Extreme change requires fast solutions. We absolutely must speed things up for a more efficient future, delivering insights at the speed of change. 

Firstly, we must employ technology to help us. New companies with clever names and niche tools are popping up nearly every day. Legacy companies are struggling to reinvent themselves in the changing reality. Everyone wants to innovate. Choosing technology can be a hard decision. Here are some steps to help you get there. 

  • Take a lean manufacturing approach.
    The principles associated with lean manufacturing help to reduce costs, eliminate waste, optimize processes and increase innovation. These all sound like great outcomes, right? To achieve them, companies often have to take a very close look at their workflow to identify where inefficiencies lie. If there are processes that are reducing value, they should be eliminated. This change is often disruptive, uncomfortable, and even painful. Many companies have become accustomed to doing things a certain way, even if it is wildly inefficient. To increase speed, change is necessary.

    Take a look at lean principles and consider how to apply them in your situation. Doing this will almost certainly lead to point number two: using technology to replace inefficient processes and practices. 
  • Choose fully supported, integrated technology.
    It’s not easy to implement new technology, let alone for large organizations with multiple other systems in place. There are several things to consider when choosing technology. First, it MUST fill those gaps you found when analyzing existing workflows with lean principles in mind. Namely, this means replacing manual tasks with machine-led processes. Second, it must “talk” to your other systems while meeting requirements for security, privacy, and other organizational restrictions. (We write a little more about this in our paper “Survey data, meet data lake.”) Third - and this is critical - find a system that doesn’t turn your workflow completely upside down. Some solution partners offer a mix of technology and expert services, or partial implementations in the places you most need help coupled with hands-on support so that you don’t slow down the very processes that need to speed up.
  • Add human efficiencies into the mix.
    At Infotools, we’ve always been big proponents of allowing technology to free people up to do what people do best. Even as current events have accelerated the need and expectation for technology adoption to increase speed, this adoption must be balanced by examining existing human strengths and skills. You can create more value and speed by combining the two sets of capabilities. Use technology to do mundane, repetitive, curiosity-numbing tasks that create blockages to true speed to insights, and leave human experts time to dig into the data, formulate perspectives, and add more expertise and value.

No, we simply cannot stop talking about speed in market research. The consumer landscape is evolving at lightning speed, and our insights must stay a step ahead. It’s no time to move slowly!

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