From the desk of Chris Efken
In part 1 of this blog post, we made the case that skipping a research debrief session is like leaving a game at half time. There’s more action, advancements and scoring potential still ahead. The debrief session is the time when the entire team reconnects: the learnings are reviewed, additional insights emerge, implications surface, and preliminary conclusions and next steps take shape.
Here are 5 steps to help you maximize the second half of your research project, the all-important debrief.
- Schedule it – At the project kick-off meeting, schedule the debrief so that all parties commit to attending this research recap meeting to review the learnings, insights and conclusions as a team.
- Plan for it – In advance of the session, design dedicated debriefing sheets.
- Create one sheet for each research objective, and title them accordingly
- Include a separate sheet for additional ah-ha’s and surprises
- Craft a “parking lot” page for additional insights that may otherwise get lost
- Be sure to design several sheets for implications and next steps
- Record it – Ask the facility, or simply use your mobile device, to audio record the debrief to ensure ideas that don’t make it to the easel sheets and learnings from side-bar conversations aren’t lost along the way
- Facilitate it — While the team’s thoughts are still fresh, the moderator or project leader should lead the session in recapping the findings, insights and implications. Be sure that all voices are heard. Allow the team to debate the learnings and the implications associated with the insights.
- Act on it — After reviewing all objectives and learning, work together as a team to craft preliminary recommendations and next steps. Doing so yields deeper engagement with the project and makes it easier to get buy-in for the subsequent next steps. It also helps the team to immediately put learnings into action.
And of course, the final step in the debrief session is to ENJOY IT! There’s still plenty of action and excitement in the second half of your research project. It’s amazing how a 30-minute debrief can add significant value to a project and leave the team with a clear direction on what brand-building tasks to immediately implement.