Empowering stakeholders is a popular topic right now, with more light being shed on the fact that insights aren’t as accessible as most people think they are, especially when presented only to certain people in written or PowerPoint reports.
Making insights accessible to all who can use them for the good of the business is essential if that business is to learn and grow as a whole, but there are a couple of ways that we can make insights “accessible” to all.
We’ve already talked about accessibility of insights in regards to them not being engaging enough to pay attention to or remember for as long as they’re useful; we’ve created a myriad of resources on the benefits of and ways in which we can increase stakeholder engagement. However, it’s ‘accessibility’ defined in the traditional sense, as in the quality of being easy to obtain, use, and understood, that we’re going to focus on today.
Access to Insights During Research
In December 2019, a colleague of mine wrote about the benefits of not just democratising insights, but democratising research to a whole organisation; essentially, how an organisation can benefit from accessing, requesting, and getting actively involved in the research process.
Allowing insights to be fully accessible in an organisation is essential if the business is to learn and grow as a whole, whether that’s by democratising access to the research itself or just the results.
This isn’t really the monumental task that it seems, and it has a many benefits like giving the research conducted the best chance of having a positive impact on the organisation no matter how minute the application of insight actually is. But it’s the changing of perspective that allows the democratisation of research that’s the tricky part. Our perspective is formed through years of experience and continuous learning, and is influenced by the state of the world we live in. So to researchers and businesses working with research for years, the written report and the isolation of research to the research team is all they know — but this leads to a rut.
There is one way of starting this democratising research process, and that is to start by adding internal research experts into each department: customer service, product development, marketing, software and tech support, etc. Each team with access to a single point of contact for all things research will encourage the wider organisation to start to build up an understanding on all things market research, the methodologies, the tools, the participants, and most importantly, the actionable insights that will make a different to their internal processes and external outputs.
This liaison between the research team and the wider organisation will encourage more participation in the research process, make certain that the insights are distributed to all members of the organisation and spark more engagement in those insights, so they’re actioned upon to the best of their ability.
Access to Insights Post-Research
However, for some organisations, it’s hard to democratise the whole of the research process for a number of reasons; the main reason being that it can be a monumental task when starting from a position that isolated research and insights to the research team exclusively, and then wanting to include all personnel within the rest of the organisation. It can be an intimidating prospect when all the work is right in front of you to do. However, there are smaller steps than the internal expert that we can start with.
The best way to work up to democratising research, is to first democratise the access to the insights that come out of the research. Getting everyone used to the insights (interpreting them and applying them) is the best step to getting everyone used to market research in general, and enables them to see the true value of research results through the impact on their work and the organisation direction.
However, tailoring insights to more than a couple of key stakeholders is hard work, and finding a blanket way to present insights has led to the continuation of the written report filled to the brim with data and graphs. But with a bit of creativity, we have found a variety of choices that better engage the majority of stakeholders in the organisation, and thus can ease the access to insights.
We have found a medium that isn’t as scary as pages of data tables, that is easier to interpret than numbers and quotes, and is universally engaging so even the least data-minded will be able to understand the insights presented to them. We are employing the medium of art in our award-winning Insight as Art campaign!
Presenting insights as art is proving to be a fantastic way of increasing the accessibility of insights, through both psychological and biological means. We are more inclined to listen to stories no matter how they’re presented than we are to focus on data for long enough to memorise them. We’ve collaborated with over 30 brands, conducting research into consumer perceptions of the brands and translating those insights into unique pieces of art to help capture stakeholder interest and increase the understanding of the value of insights.
But first, to re-launch the campaign, we conducted research into what it is like to live in London and New York, with the people who live there! Our London and New York artworks come with in-depth translations of the artwork, so we can start to see just how much insight everyone can get from one carefully constructed image.
Even in the pursuit of insight accessibility there is room for personalisation. Organisations can take into account their own requirements and tailor the path to insight and research accessibility. There will be some departments within organisations who will require more immediate access to insight than others; this personalisation is a great way to start building up to the democratisation of research, through the democratisation of insights to key stakeholders (what we’re doing now), to the democratisation of insights and research across the board (the ultimate goal in market research).
But the personalisation doesn’t stop there. There are many ways to present insight in more accessible mediums that written reports and creative artworks. Through internal research, you can get to know which mediums your employees will engage with the most; whether you’re putting on interactive workshops, creating animated insight videos, or just sitting down and presenting/discussing them in a way that people will pay attention to, the fact of the matter is that making insights accessible benefits everyone equally.
This article was originally published on the FlexMR Insight Blog, and can be accessed here.