Workshop it: How to keep your research findings from collecting virtual dust

One of our clients’ greatest challenges is ensuring that the learnings from a large, strategic research project are acted upon and used in decision making, product development or new marketing initiatives.  All too often, after findings are shared with the team, everyone scatters, and it’s a struggle to get alignment on next steps.

To turn your research insights into action, consider replacing a final presentation with an interactive post-research workshop.  Activation sessions engage the team in a variety of well-planned, facilitated exercises that help them 1) understand and prioritize the learnings, 2) explore the implications, 3) brainstorm ways the insights can be applied to current business decisions, and most importantly, 4) craft a next-steps plan.

The best post-research workshops…

  • Have a well-planned agenda. Workshops are customized sessions that include activities designed to review what was learned, why it matters, and how the insights can be applied
  • Have participants complete a pre-workshop activity. To help ensure commitment during the workshop, have team members complete a homework assignment relevant to the research, such as using a competitor’s product for a week, conducting a social media analysis, or brainstorming three ways they can act on the findings.
  • Include a series of activities and creative sprints. To get the team actively involved in the session, the workshop should include interactive exercises. All activities have a specific stated purpose, are timed, and require break-out teams to share out their output.
  • Include outside experts. Increase engagement by showing a research video highlight reel or invite industry experts, a panel of your consumers, or those who sell your product (e.g., chefs, store personnel, auto mechanics, etc.) to participate in the workshop.
  • Craft a detailed next-steps plan. The plan should list each insight, the actions to be taken as a result of having this knowledge, the team responsible for making it happen, and a timeline for completion of the task.

Implementing a dynamic post-research workshop will maximize the value of the research, ensure the learnings are acted upon and keep dust from collecting on your digital research reports.