The Backroom Experience Matters, Too

The Backroom Experience Matters, Too – August 28, 2012

I admit it.   It’s a pet peeve.  I go into the back room at a facility and the viewers are busy surfing social media, ordering school supplies, typing emails.  They may be listening, but they are not giving the research their full attention. I would argue that the back room experience can also add value to the research if viewers can be engaged.

Here are a few ideas for doing just that:

Expand the viewing team:  invite viewers from a variety of different functional areas — even those removed from direct responsibility for the project. This will vary the perspective from which the research is viewed, which can result in more insightful learning.

Provide a research briefing sheet to all viewers: Before the sessions start, review the research objectives with your viewers (often different from strategic planning objectives).

Change your note-taking practices: Consider “brainwriting”, the capturing of key thoughts, ideas, or “aha’s” on Post-Its, and then organize the Post-Its onto labeled easel sheets in the viewing room. In addition to the obvious functional categories, consider others such as “Surprises,” “Areas of Opportunity,” “Priceless Quotes,” “Recurring Themes,” or “Pipeline Ideas.”

Actively listen for intriguing nuggets: Don’t forget to record those fascinating insights and ideas you may not yet know what to do with.  These little nuggets may ultimately help you advance your brand or be used to create your next major product launch.

And finally a few viewing room survival tips:

  • Request energy boosting snacks such as yogurt, fruit, cheese, nuts and veggies.
  • Take a break: Schedule sufficient breaks that allow for a walk outside, or time to chat with colleagues about the findings.
  • Move around, change seats: That numbness from sitting in the same place can also numb your attention to important discussion details.

Good luck!  We look forward to seeing you in the back room.