17 November 2006

European Market Research Event – Day 2, morning

Be the first to share

European Market Research Event
Due to travelling, it took me a few days to write up my summary of the Tuesday presentations at the European Market Research Event, but here we are. In this write-up I will concentrate on five speakers: James Surowiecki, Roula Nasser in the morning session, Mike Spang and Emmi Kuusikko and Mehmood Khan in the afternoon.

James Surowiecki, author of “The Wisdom of Crowds”

James Surowiecki is an extremely well-skilled public speaker. He managed to give a detailed and well-structured 45 minute presentation on his book “The Wisdom of Crowds” with many examples, without notes and without slides.

His argument is that crowds are often smarter collectively than even the smartest individuals it contains. He claims that “If you can figure out ways to tap into the collective intelligence of your organisation and the collective intelligence of your consumers, you can radically change your capability to resolve problems and to forecast the future.”

Surowiecki gave many examples of how that is being done:

  • NASA using volunteers to classify Martian craters in a programme called Clickworkers,
  • Iowa Electronic Markets: the use of markets to predict elections. People buy and sell shares to predict the outcome of US Presidential elections. They were more accurate 3/4 of the time than any Gallup poll.
  • Hollywood Stock Exchange. People buy and sell shares in how well movie releases will do. They give a better answer than any other method. They also picked 7 out of 8 of the major Oscar winners.
  • Other examples include HP where employees could buy or sell shares in how well printer sales were going to do, and it outperformed internal forecasts. Siemens also used this technique to predict how long a particular software product development is going to take. Microsoft has also done something similar, and Google has launched PROPHET, which predicts 200 events of all kinds and they have been almost perfectly correct.

But crowds only act intelligent under three conditions:

  1. Aggregation. It is about the aggregate judgment of lots of individuals, not about consensus.
  2. Diversity. The crowd, the group is cognitively diverse with differences of perspective and differences of heuristics. Homogeneous groups tend to reinforce their own thinking. Diversity mitigates this effects of peer pressure, which can be very powerful.
  3. Independence. The people within the crowd act independently. They think for themselves and rely on their own information, own ideas. Our natural tendency to imitate and protect our reputation can move us away from this independence.

According to Surowiecki, one of the implications for market research is that you want to ask people not what they think of a product, but instead you want to ask the question: “how successful do you think this product is going to be” or “how many people do you think will buy this product by February”.

Roula Nasser, P&G

Roula Nasser is Director of Customer and Market Knowledge of the Global P&G Beauty.

Her talk, entitled “Driving Consumer & Market Understanding to New Heights: A Roadmap for Success” set out a market strategy and vision, but was unfortunately a bit weak on examples.

P&G has put a lot of emphasis on focusing on the future, or in their own jargon: from hindsight, to insight, to foresight. To do that, they have been investing a lot on new capabilities to get at consumer attitudes; on understanding the changing dynamics of the marketplace, particularly the differences between the developed and the developing world; and on making research and researchers strategic.

Nasser then went on to say how important it is to have visible support from company leaders, and went into a long and elaborate praise of A.G. Lafley who is P&G’s chairman, president and CEO.

Lastly, she stressed how important it is to think about consumers in new ways, by seeing them as people and developing a more personal relationship, and to use more involved shadowing techniques, which they call “Walk with Me”: go and visit people in their homes; live on the budget of a low-income consumer for a week; shop with consumer’s grocery list, budget and children; serve in jobs where P&G products are used.

The examples, from China and South Africa, illustrated how such an approach can lead to real benefits for advertising. There were however no examples of what this deeper people-centred approach might mean for P&G’s product innovation.

Be the first to share
15 August 2015
What is the ‘sharing economy’? A perspective from Seoul
As a Fulbright grantee, Emily Hong spent part of the last year researching the sharing economy in Seoul. One of her main findings? Korea actually has two. The first is small-scale, hyper local and socialist in …
14 August 2015
Jon Kolko: Design thinking comes of age
How should companies think about design centricity? For Jon Kolko, vice president of design at Blackboard, an education software company, design thinking can define the way an organization functions at the most basic levels—how it …
11 August 2015
Thingclash: putting human values in the IoT
The Internet of Things (IoT) is forecast to be one of the most far reaching and fundamental shifts in how people interact with technology and their environment since the advent of the Internet. But, the rush …
11 August 2015
[Book] Aging and the Digital Life Course
Aging and the Digital Life Course Edited by David Prendergast and Chiara Garattini Series: Life Course, Culture and Aging: Global Transformations Publisher: Berghahn Books (June 30, 2015) Hardcover, 289 pages Abstract Across the life course, new forms of community, ways of …
1 August 2015
Nissan’s place-based design process
Megan Neese is a senior manager in the Future Lab at Nissan Motor Ltd., a cross-functional team tasked with uncovering new business opportunities for the future of automotive. In an article for EPIC, she explains how …
31 July 2015
Service Design in Consumer Banking: the challenges and opportunities
Last month the people from Irish UX consultancy Frontend Design looked at the UX revolution in healthcare and how changes in that sector are moving towards putting the customer at the centre of the service. …
31 July 2015
[Book] Excited to announce the new book by John Thackara
How to thrive in the next economy by John Thackara Thames & Hudson August 2015, 192pp Abstract Drawing on a lifetime of travel in search of real-world alternatives that work, I describe how communities the world over are creating a …
27 July 2015
New qualitative research on video consumption by UK youth
TV viewing (live, playback and Broadcaster VOD services) dominates the video viewing of all ages; however 16-24s have a more varied video diet, with TV accounting for two thirds of their total video viewing compared …

We are an international experience design consultancy helping companies and organisations to innovate their products, services and processes by putting people and their experiences first.

2 July 2015
Getting citizens involved in protecting fragile energy environments

A new project funded under the FP7 European Commission framework is getting citizens involved in testing new tools for reducing energy consumption during peak loads, in the hope that its pilot program will set the new state of the art for protecting locations with fragile electricity supplies. One of France’s most fragile regions The Provence-Alpes-Côte […]

5 May 2015
Experientia designer Dohun YuLuck Jang 유록 in Design 4 Disaster

Design 4 Disaster features an engaging illustrated safety manual for ship passengers, a personal project by Experientia designer Dohun YuLuck Jang 유록. After the Korean ferry accident last year, Yuluck (who is Korean) wanted to find a way to make safety manuals more interesting to read. He spent one year designing an interactive safety guide […]

16 March 2015
Better Health and Wellbeing: Giving the elderly in Singapore sparkling golden years

Invitation: sharing session, Singapore, 30 March 2015   What are the hopes and fears of the elderly in Singapore? How can designers offer solutions that support the elderly in managing their health and wellness? What can healthcare professionals do to help them keep active? What role can technology play in the elderly’s daily lives? Design consultants […]

1 January 2015
Happy Playful New Year
21 December 2014
Experientia’s Twitter feed live

Experientia has now its own Twitter feed. Four months of Putting People First posts and other links have already been uploaded. If you followed Experientia on Twitter through the feed of its CEO, Mark Vanderbeeken, make sure to now also follow the company (but don’t unfollow Mark, who will keep on tweeting away). And while […]

19 December 2014
Putting People First blog redesigned

Experientia’s Putting People First blog has been redesigned. It is now entirely responsive, allows for easier browsing, searching, and filtering, and features larger images on the posts. The entire history of posts remains accessible as before. We are still tweaking things and welcome any feedback.

See all articles