Iterative Research: Addressing the Questions That Emerge During Research | The Garage Group

Iterative Research: Addressing the Questions That Emerge During Research


How many times have you walked away from research with a few solid answers, but also a whole new set of questions? We see it happen, more often than not, in concept testing, holistic design research, packaging development, product development and messaging creation research.

It’s time for a more flexible and agile approach that accommodates the questions that emerge.

Startups innovate constantly and fuel their growth by taking a more dynamic, emergent approach to research — a few respondents, over a period of time, quick check-ins and iterations that garner a little learning, inform the direction for optimizations or pivots, and bring new thinking as respondents provide feedback. How can corporates re-apply?

We’re big believers in iterative, emergent approaches. When it comes to research, often, we’ll recruit a group of consumers over a certain time period and a commitment to spend just a bit of time with us, across a number of occasions. Webcam interviews, email or mobile-enabled surveys enable “right sized,” real-time and natural connections.

We collect thoughts and feelings along with input on the product, concept or package we’re developing, and allow respondents to ask us just as many, if not more questions than we ask them. We incorporate feedback and then go back for the next interaction.

Comparing traditional vs emergent, iterative research:
Traditional research takes a “one-and-done” approach to interactions with consumers. You get one shot to get the research questions right.
Iterative research lets you start with solid questions, but then evolve them as you learn. Subsequent phases can build on each other.

Traditional research gives one shot at showing the “right” stimuli.
Iterative research lets you adapt and change the stimuli to continue learning. So, you can show a concept, then packaging that reflects concept learning, then messaging or other accompanying materials that incorporate findings from previous phases.

Traditional research requires multiple POs, and many setup conversations.
Iterative research assumes all of the interactions happen under one PO, and because we’re talking to the same group of consumers, project management logistics are minimized.

Startups can’t afford to take the “one-and-done approach.” They’re continually changing and growing their offering as they learn, through quick and small experiments. We think corporate brands and teams can learn just as iteratively.

The Garage Group is a new kind of strategy firm with a mission for enabling corporate teams and brands to innovate and grow like startups, including dynamic, iterative approaches to market research.

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