Archive for the ‘Innovation’ Category
Emma Flood’s latest Business Surgery assesses the potential of ‘m-research’
As a regular visitor to the MRS’s news website, research-live.com, I was interested to read further about some of the prominent developments in technology, and how this is evolving aspects of market research, such as methods of data collection. One area which struck me as having future potential in both B2C and B2B markets was that of mobile research.
For those not privy to mobile research, or m-research as I’ll abbreviate, this is most easily explained as a (dare I say it) “traditional” online survey, but using the respondents’ mobile phone as the medium rather than their laptop or desktop. Respondents can be asked to participate either through their smartphone (for web-based surveys for mobile browsers) or standard mobile phone (using SMS/WAP surveys); accessing surveys through SMS invitations, email invitations, QR codes and social media promotions.
Indeed, we at B2B International have already conducted a proportion of our online surveys via respondents’ mobile phones, where the respondent has chosen to do it via their smartphone. However, m-research potentially offers much more than just a different modality for collecting online research data, which is worth exploration and evaluation.
Many argue that it offers a richer experience, and adds extra layers. In addition to surveys, respondents can share creative feedback via photos, videos, texts and more. It also allows real-time connection with respondents, whereby the researcher can “watch” respondents interact with products in their home and gain insights where and when purchase decisions are made.
These benefits appear more akin to B2C research, in evaluating shopper experience and ethnographic research such as shopper diaries. However as m-research evolves, it is likely that these applications will begin to also bring benefit to B2B market research.
Still in its infancy, m-research take-up has so far been limited with just 2% of market research data collected via the mobile phone (1% through telephone interviewing via respondents’ mobile phone, and 1% via data collection inputted into respondents’ mobile phone). However, given that current mobile phone penetration is estimated at more than 80% globally, compared to 25% for internet access, I would certainly expect this to be a growth area over the next few years and something not to be ignored by the market researcher. Indeed, upon reading Reineke Reitsma’s 2011 closing article for research-live.com, she describes how m-research gained traction in 2011…
Given that m-research is still in its infancy and we are yet to see its full application for market research, we still have questions over how this can best be implemented for B2B and B2C research – but watch this space…
*To read the full article click here.
Innovators Stand Firm:A Modern Day David Vs Goliath
Looking around the internet yesterday, as researchers, things were a little different. Wikipedia was blacked out, Google had its logo blacked out and Twitter was alive with SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) talk. SOPA was created to promote prosperity, creativity, entrepreneurship and innovation by combating the theft of US property. However, opponents to SOPA argue that it will do exactly the opposite in that it violates freedom of speech, internet censorship and will therefore cripple the internet as we know it.
SOPA is a prime example of how big companies (especially within the music and film industry) are trying to do everything they can to stop innovation (so say the technology companies). Is this a modern day example of David Vs Goliath where the larger ‘Goliath’ companies are unwilling to accept change whilst the innovative companies and start-ups are encompassing change?
Larger companies typically innovate around business processes to take cost out of the system. However, innovation aligned with technological change that could involve turning the way a company carries out its business on its head is often rebuffed by large companies due to upheaval and uneasiness (with shareholder apprehension another reason)
Conversely think of the most successful modern day companies and most of these are technology companies eg Microsoft, Apple, Facebook & Google. These companies have rewritten industry rules in which they play, doing things differently to deliver value to the end customer. It is therefore no surprise that technology companies oppose SOPA as their roots are in start-ups where innovation is the main driving force behind their business success.
Innovation comes from experimentation and needs creativity and destruction in equal measure – in order to create you need to destroy what has gone before. So what if the Internet was censored – would this limit innovation? I think the answer is a resounding Yes! Technology has created a third state that allows us as individuals to work alone as well as together. The company of the future will be narrow (focused on one particular specialism), hollow (use partners instead of reliant on in-house skills), flatter (not as many levels of management), creative driven and international (borders don’t get in the way of business any more). Therefore, if the internet and social media are suppressed then so is the power of smaller businesses.
Thinking about what impact this might have on our economy, if we take the UK as an example and think back to The Big Society,which was the flagship policy idea of the 2010 Conservative Party’s general election manifesto, SMEs were identified as playing a fundamental role in getting the UK economy back on track. If SME growth is hampered in any way, this will impact greatly on the growth engine of the UK and result in slow progress in climbing out of the current downturn. Also, taking the land of the free (USA) as another example, innovation is at the heart of how they came to dominate the world. However, times are a-changing and China, with all their cost advantages, will quickly supersede them as the global superpower (if they haven’t already done so). Therefore, you could argue that the only advantage the US has over China is innovation and if legislation starts to hamper SMEs then growth will slowly grind to a halt.
Taking all this into account, what does it mean for the future? In one sentence, if we stop innovation and continue to do what we have always done then we will always get what we have always got….if we are lucky!
For information on innovation and new product development visit our website.
Who within an organisation should be responsible for innovation? Given the collective day-to-day knowledge that so many employees in so many different departments have at their disposal, there is a growing focus on ‘whole company innovation’, a multi-layered approach which can help to bring new products and services to market.
In his article, Whole Company Innovation, Garrick Jones tells us more…
The commercial landscape is littered with examples of firms with innovative products or services which failed because they could not achieve profitability – typically either they could not attract sufficient customers or were based on unsound economics. A good product or service is therefore no guarantee of success in the marketplace.
In their latest paper, Colin Mason and Ross Brown argue that high growth depends on how you set yourself up to deliver value into the market. To read in full this article on how fast-growth enterprises design their business models, please click here.
Every company needs to innovate to survive. This means constantly enhancing existing products and services, and developing new ones – all to drive revenue and profits, to illustrate a market leadership position, and to stay ahead of the competition.
A new white paper by Julia Cupman can be viewed on this subject at http://www.b2binternational.com/publications/white-papers/product-development-research/
Three key takeaways that are drawn from this paper include the following:
Market research can unleash new ideas and opportunities for product development. It has been said that 80% of industrial innovations have come from customers themselves. Companies that do not actively listen to the market could, therefore, be ignoring unmet needs and closing their ears to new product opportunities.
Market research can help you maximize revenues of a product or service. Market research need not cover only product enhancements or new product development. Market research can provide answers on the size of the market, its growth prospects, the distribution channels, optimum pricing, and factors influencing the purchasing decision.
Market research provides insurance, reducing business risk. After apparently not having conducted market research, FedEx lost $340 million on a new Zap mail offering, and DuPont lost an estimated $100 million on a new synthetic leather product, Corfam. In order to avoid embarrassing and costly mistakes such as these, it’s understandable why so many companies turn to disciplined market research to test and validate concepts and prototypes prior to new product launch.