Much of the distinction in the ‘insight-oriented’ and ‘action-oriented’ perspectives can be seen in how one answers the question of “when is a project finished?”
For researchers who are operating in the insight-oriented paradigm, the project often concludes with the report, and they have very little role in shaping what the organization does with that report. However, for researchers in the action-oriented paradigm, the report is just the beginning of the market researcher’s responsibility of driving action within the broader organization.
Researchers are increasingly using workshops to engage stakeholders in not only discussing insights gained, but identifying the potential actions that can be taken to drive organizational change.In most situations, the typical market research presentation is a one hour meeting with stakeholders, the majority of which is a one-way monologue. These presentations are intended primarily to share insights with stakeholders.
In contrast, a workshop is a multi-hour (or even multiday) meeting that combines research presentation with stakeholder engagement exercises. Beyond simply sharing insights, workshops lead stakeholders in implementing those insights. This is an emerging practice that Vivisum identified in last year’s consortium, and we continue to see broader usage of workshops among researchers. These workshops offer several benefits over the traditional research presentation.
Workshop Benefit 1: Internalization
It may be what we’ve grown accustomed to, but simply hearing about an insight in a research report poses challenges for stakeholders to truly process the learning internally. Workshops, on the other hand, enable stakeholders to internalize insights through engagement activities and small group discussions.
Workshop Benefit 2: Brainstorming
The traditional market research report is often focused more on insight and less on the actions that should be taken as a result of that insight. As a contrast, workshops provide a platform for stakeholders to brainstorm action items and to bridge the gap from insights to implementation.
Workshop Benefit 3: Buy-in
We live in a capitalist society. You usually don’t own something until you buy it. In a similar way, workshops secure ownership of the process from the entire organization by creating buy-in. When people invest their time and energy into something, they feel an attachment to it. Having their fingerprint on a process creates feelings of pride when that process is successful. Researchers are finding that stakeholders sometimes go out of their way to ensure success after the workshop.
This post was originally written in 2015 but applies to today’s work as well.