This post is part of our ongoing series on the action-oriented process. Successful researchers know how to avoid the market research bubble. Integrating yourself into other departments and groups within your organization is probably the best way to build your credibility as a strategic contributor. However, this can be difficult to accomplish. In our conversations with Research (R)evolutions participants, Vivisum has identified four formal mechanisms to help integrate the research team into the broader organization: embedded researchers, weekly status meetings, quarterly check-ins, and capability roadshows.

Mechanism 1: Embedded Researchers

Structuring the research organization to align with specific business units is an effective way to ensure alignment between researchers and their stakeholders. This decentralized research model was more common in the past, but it has fallen out of favor as research organizations have become increasingly centralized. As this trend toward centralization continues, it is important to maintain some structural alignment between your research organization and individual business units.

Mechanism 2: Weekly Status Meetings

Increasingly, researchers are being included on their stakeholders’ weekly status meetings. This provides an opportunity to identify research needs early in the process and to understand the business environment that precipitated those research needs.

Mechanism 3: Quarterly Check-ins

For those of you for whom weekly status meetings are not feasible, some researchers are scheduling regular formal check-ins with their stakeholders. Like the weekly status meetings, these check-ins enable researchers to proactively identify research needs.

Mechanism 4: Capabilities Roadshows

It has become increasingly popular for researchers to be proactive in merchandising their wares within the organization. To take it to the next level, some have even embarked on a capabilities roadshow to publicize research capabilities throughout the organization. This is a simple but powerful method of getting the word out: simply create a presentation that highlights your expertise and capabilities, and present it to your key stakeholders. This also helps them feel a part of the process. Image courtesy of amala_tc on Flickr Creative Commons

Ellen Hart is a Senior Associate Consultant at Vivisum Partners. She specializes in in-depth qualitative research in healthcare and nonprofit fields.

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