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Better Research Experience = Better Insights?

I’m hearing that some of my friends have received their stickers for Project Like. Some people sounded pretty excited to figure out what to “like.” I’m happy that this will be a fun experience for people.

One of the things I’m trying to figure out is a way to make market research interesting for the participants. I’ve been in too many awkward one-on-ones, strained focus groups and painful man-on-the-street interviews to know that there has to be a better way. It’s not like the insights are bad, but can we get even better ones when people are having fun?

My thinking is inspired by a breakout session from a Planningness conference. It was run by the guy who helped create an ARG about life without oil. Among the many interesting things he talked about, the most interesting one was how uninhibited people are when they are in play mode. Strangers become very animated and expressive; they shout at each other and laugh.

I think being in play mode creates some sense of trust and familiarity that allows people to open up. Secondly, being in play mode can potentially allow people to express themselves in different ways. We know we all communicate differently, but a lot of our market research is generally geared toward collecting spoken and written evidence. In play mode, behaviors can reveal intentions that are often times unspoken. I don’t have any evidence for this, it’s more of a hypothesis that I hope to be answered.

That being said, hopefully something I can take away from this experiment is how to design an interesting experience for people that can yield rich insights. I’m thinking of coming up with a cool phrase for it, maybe something like: research as an experience? Progressive research? Experience-based research?