Archive for April, 2016

The Research Debrief: Five steps to maximizing its impact, Part II

Posted on: April 22nd, 2016 by doyle

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.

  1. 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.
  2. Plan for it – In advance of the session, design dedicated debriefing sheets.
  • Create one sheet for each research objective, andstock_brainstorm 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
  1. 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
  2. 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.
  3. 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.


The Research Debrief: Skipping it is like leaving the game at half time (Part I)

Posted on: April 11th, 2016 by doyle

Half time

From the desk of Chris Efken

The conclusion of your final group or interview is similar to half time at a sporting event.   Some fans or project-team members may have just arrived and others may have left the arena, yet there’s still plenty of action that lies ahead. The debrief is that all-important second half. This is the time when the entire team reconnects: learnings are reviewed, insights emerge, implications surface, and preliminary conclusions are drawn.

Why conduct a debrief session? Here are four key benefits:

  1. Debriefs provide a forum to confirm or refute current hypotheses and collectively review new insights. These post-research conversations help spark ideas for future opportunities, new products/services, potential solutions to current challenges and/or actions to take as immediate next steps.
  2. Learnings, insights and consumers’ stories are still fresh.   Over time, we may forget those elusive ah-ha’s that emerged from the research, or our memories may fade regarding the intensity with which consumers spoke about an unmet need, a proposed concept or a failing product. Debriefs are a great way to capture these key impressions and take-aways to ensure the insights are not lost as the team moves forward.
  3. Consensus on the learnings. Since not all team members will have attended all sessions, it’s important that the team review the learnings across all sessions to avoid costly decisions that could be made based solely on the insights from a single session or a single team member’s take away.   Though there may be differences in opinion on how to act on the learning, the debrief helps to ensure that all parties are working off the same findings and insights.
  4. Team members walk away with a plan for next steps. Rather than waiting for a moderator’s report before acting on research recommendations, a list of preliminary next steps can be generated during the debrief sessions so the team can immediately implement these business-building ideas and strategies.

Conducting a formal debrief while the team’s engagement is still robust and research findings and insights are still top-of-mind can prove to be invaluable in making faster, smarter business decisions.  One never knows how the game can dramatically change in the all-important second half.