How do organizations effectively innovate to stay ahead of the competition? One significant way is through research, yet surprisingly companies often run ahead and skip this foundational step. Research has the ability to confidently move companies forward into new inventions, industries, and initiatives by translating raw data into strategic decisions. As a researcher at DISHER, I have seen firsthand the power of research and the influence it has made within the product design process. Here are just a few benefits to research that can significantly impact your organization’s innovation direction.
Research Provides Objectivity to Strategic Decisions
Companies too often make “EPIC-sized” innovation or product development decisions in a variety of subjective ways… a leader’s experience, a group vote, a knee-jerk reaction, a gut-feeling, or an unreliable guesstimate. There is a better way. DISHER has developed a ranked comparison research process to successfully guide companies to a decision more objectively. We use our EPIC Decision Diamond® to organize and rank research data to provide quantitative information that can effectively influence a variety of business decisions related to a market, product, and/or strategy. The EPIC Decision Diamond uses objective metrics that can unite leadership teams and increase their confidence in making strategic innovation decisions. Just like people reach out to trusted friends for advice on buying a house in a new neighborhood, organizations must initiate a valid research methodology before making that next innovation decision.
Research Gives a Voice to Key Customers
Consumers today have more choices than ever before. To be a competitive option in any industry, understanding and meeting the needs of the end user is critical. UX (User eXperience), has been the buzz word of the decade. Although the term was birthed in the technology industry, the application of User Experience Research goes beyond digital platforms. Users access a vehicle multiple times a day, sit in the same office chair five days a week, choose between cereal brands at the grocery store, and are bombarded with a myriad of marketing messages constantly. All of these user experiences are the stories that fill people’s lives and influence their decisions every day. User research enables organizations to understand the whys, hows, and whats within a user’s experiences in order to most effectively design and develop products and services that not only meet but exceed expectations.
Research Brings New Perspectives to Old Conversations
The research process provides the opportunity to review and understand the ways other industries use similar technologies, materials, and processes that are currently or potentially used within an organization. Benchmarking research that moves beyond an organization’s direct competition opens eyes to different applications of the resources that are already under a company’s roof. For example, many manufacturing companies from diverse industries have adopted Toyota’s Lean Manufacturing system. Even though the Lean system originated in an automotive company, the benefits of efficiency can be applied universally. Cross-industry discovery research often leads to new ideas and innovative advancement for organizations with enhanced usability for consumers.
Research is an essential step in directing innovation strategy within an organization. It can reveal new perspectives on how to use existing resources, provide a soundboard to understand why customer’s make decisions, and be utilized as a validation tool to guide significant strategic business decisions.
DISHER has an experienced Discovery team that helps a variety of customers with primary and secondary research, ideation, industrial design, prototyping, and Innovation Workshops.
Written By: Alison Shields | Market Researcher & Visual Communications Designer
Good design has the power to organize cultural complexities and yield clarity. Alison applies this philosophy through various market research and graphic design projects with Disher’s Discovery team. As a Hope College alumna, she is naturally fond of Lake Michigan, trail running, tulips, and Captain Sundae.