DOWN THE LINE
Becoming more in the moment
A commonly cited benefit of communities is the ability to spend more time with people, speak to them when it’s convenient and return to them multiple times about a topic. This is ideal for iterative development of a product, strategy or service, or simply to explore a topic in increasing depth.
Complement discussions and surveys with methods to expose emotion, bias and instinct.
Mix your methods in order to generate the most robust insight.
As one interviewee put it:
“It’s not a focus group where you speak to people once. You could speak to them over several days or go back over several weeks or months. You are getting a considered answer and multiple points of input rather than two hours on a Thursday night.”
However, advanced practitioners were also quick to point out the limits here. It’s so easy to have conversations with members about their attitudes and behavior that other routes to insight can be neglected.
As many behavioral science texts put it: “We’re poor witnesses to our own behavior”. Ultimately, if you ask someone a question, you’ll get an answer. It might just not be a very useful one – a rationalization invented on the spot that doesn’t match up to reality. Partly this just comes down to having a strong research pedigree and bearing this in mind for analysis.
However, there are methodological implications. Straight discussions and surveys have to be complemented with methods designed to expose decisions based on emotion, bias and instinct, such as automated analysis.
THE BEST ONLINE COMMUNITIES SEAMLESSLY INTEGRATE WITH THE MOMENTS THAT REALLY MATTER…
This is already being done. But it isn’t always the norm – potentially because more creative or observational approaches are sometimes a more expensive option.
However, a quarter of our interviewees strongly agreed that communities would be more useful if they could provide more access to “in-the-moment, live data, rather than considered comments”.
COMMUNITIES AS PORTALS INTO MEMBERS’ LIVES
The best communities are more than just spaces “where the research happens.”
The community becomes the collection and discussion mechanism, not the method.
A MOBILE-FIRST ATTITUDE
The way the world communicates is changing. We’re not limited to text, or hardwired to a desktop. We communicate through photo, through video; by showing rather than telling. This emerging reality informs the design of the community, its culture and its means of communication – to facilitate and encourage more live input
as it happens.
In many of C Space’s online communities we use filmed responses via mobile so we can see what people do in real time, not just hear about it afterwards.
CO-DISCOVERY OF ACTUAL USER DATA
Showing community members their own behavioral data as a prompt for discussion can lead to illuminating insights, when you compare stated behavior with actual.
INTERGRATION OF MORE PASSIVE DATA COLLECTION
For example, lifelogging via video and capturing data via wearables and connected devices.
CONDUCTING BEHAVIORAL EXPERIMENTS
Opportunities to use AB tests around different product variants or information. Again, the community becomes the access point to consumers, not the method.
Philips Healthcare had developed a powerful new technology. To launch it successfully they needed to understand its role in the working lives of doctors and midwives.
Lumify: Making ultrasound images portable through mobile
To reach such an elusive population research needed to be where they were – in wards, in ambulances and at house calls. To accomplish this, we recruited 30 working healthcare professionals into a mobile-optimized online community, allowing us to literally be where they were (in their pockets!).
Our research plan balanced between iterative, constant insight and focused, in-depth insight aimed at identifying barriers, mining for opportunities for Lumify to successfully enter the market, and refining the product positioning. It was great because engaging with our projects required no commitment to a specific time, and easily fit into the HCPs schedules.
The use of the mobile app helped generate data reflecting daily realities, challenges and needs when using traditional ultrasound devices on patients. On mobile, we were able to replicate how doctors would use Lumify; on-the-go, when needed and as often as needed. They used the app to keep detailed diaries reflecting use of ultrasound and unmet needs. We collected authentic, in-the-moment insight, allowing doctors to log in at their own convenience, sharing why they needed the mobility and agility of mobile ultrasound.
Our desktop activities lent themselves to a different style of fieldwork enabling us to hone in on specific, detailed feedback – which was especially useful when we wanted them to critique stimulus. The use of the desktop activities allowed HCPs to iteratively improve on proposed positioning, adding suggestions, tweaking language, and annotating directly on concepts to reflect their immediate reactions. Projective storytelling activities generated data to support personas for each HCP segment that would ladder the realities of these HCPs to crescendo into the right insight to inform and direct Lumify positioning.
After 4 weeks of intense research, we tied all these data points together using creative storytelling. This helped us create a compelling narrative around how emergency room doctors and community midwives see Lumify and how they would use the technology. Our point of view built on the personas we created for each segment, the deep understanding of the human truths driving decision making for each segment, and the rewards each segment looks for in interacting with patients and in using technologies to facilitate these interactions.
We presented these findings and videos in two interactive workshops that included insight sharing, in addition to working directly with Philips to transform insight into positioning statements. Subsequently, we came with strong recommendations for Philips Healthcare on how to position Lumify to emergency, hospital, and community based doctors and midwives. Philips incorporated these true-to-life stories into their strategies, leading to a successful product launch.
Philips’ chosen positioning shows how a successful partnership that used different and creative methods in collecting data and engaging with research participants, resulted in deep understanding of the core audience and a successful positioning of Lumify.