In the insights sector, agile research is a popular topic of discussion. We're always looking for new tools, strategies, processes, and anything else that can help us develop and deploy agile research experiences more easily, quickly, and affordably than ever before. But we're still not at the position where we can confidently state that we can deliver agile research experiences whenever we need them.
What is the stumbling block that we can't seem to overcome? The reality that we all have slightly different ideas about what agile research is, but that all of our different perspectives are right at the same time.
What if the key to overcoming this obstacle isn't to invent a new tool or approach, but to look at what we already have and repurpose it to meet our current agile needs? Let's take a look at how surveys and video, in particular, can lead to flexible research experiences that yield significant insights every time.
The Path to Agile
By the end of 2020, my colleague Heather Wendlandt had undertaken some impromptu research to explore what the true meaning of agile was among insight experts. We discovered a wide range of interpretations, with the majority (46%) considering agile to mean ‘iterative,' just under a third believing it to mean ‘fast,' and the minority believing it to mean ‘cheap.'
All of these interpretations must be considered in order for our agile research innovation to succeed, but especially "iterative" and "rapid." With the current context pushing for reactive insights in particular, focusing on ‘fast' first and ‘iterative' second would put us on the route to a universally applicable methodology.
Surveys and video are two elements that can be used in any research project, but they're especially important for agile. For years, surveys have been the lifeblood of quantitative research, and as a result, they've become one of the most versatile tools in an insight professional's toolbox. The tool has the inherent flexibility to deliver insights in any context, the ability to appear in a variety of tangible and intangible forms, and the ability to link heavily to other forms of research as necessary. Surveys are already one of the most trusted tools in the insights sector, because to their flexible style, universal applicability, and data collection reliability.
But, while surveys provide a level of flexibility, what if we combined them with a technology that is as accessible and applicable: video? Respondents, as well as researchers, are discovering a passion for video-based survey research. Our desire for rich and instantly actionable insights is aided by the accessibility, simplicity of communication, and wealth of unexpected insights supplied by context and incommunicable, automated behaviours.
Effective and Efficient
Efficiency and efficacy are the key characteristics of iterative and quick agile research. This mix of quantitative and qualitative data collection accomplishes just that, with factual data collected via questionnaires and emotional intelligence captured via video elements. The way we integrate surveys with video has a tremendous amount of versatility, and it all relies on the type of video you want to use.
Here are a few examples of video in market research applications to consider: Voice of the customer movies at home or on location; longitudinal diary-style or product testing videos; real-time, in-situ data gathering that can be captured on-the-go
Which option you choose is entirely dependent on the information you require, the length of your research assignment, and the resources you have available. If you need quick information to make a decision, embedding video capturing answer capabilities within a single survey will allow you to use both tools to their full potential at the same time, creating a single engaging research task for respondents to complete in-person using their smartphones or computers.
If you're conducting a longer-term iterative study, you can still use video responses in surveys, but you can also use video elements as tasks, such as participating in online focus groups (to capture live insights in in-depth interviews and facilitate a closer to face-to-face discussion that you can also respond to in real time for any clarification or redirection you need).
Insight professionals can conduct indefinite diary studies, collecting intensive video data at regular intervals, as well as use surveys to inform and gather knowledge of the topic they will be discussing that day or week, or even target specific respondents to ask them more questions about the insights they have just provided.
With videos being able to be shot from almost everywhere thanks to the widespread usage of smartphones, combining surveys and videos is more than possible. For all insight experts, this survey-video research approach has an almost infinite number of applications that meet both the ‘iterative' and ‘fast' requirements of agile research.