Innovating Methodologies & Deliverables

Piloting and Testing Your Way to Improved Approaches and Deliverables

Date: April 29, Katrina Noelle

At KNow, we make it a practice to develop, pilot and test new techniques and approaches based on traditional techniques. It’s important to keep methods fresh by listening to your team, your clients, the industry and general trends.  That way you can ensure you are communicating to participants in authentic and comfortable ways, creating outcomes your team can be proud of and delivering output that your clients can use efficiently and effectively.

But how do you go about brainstorming, testing, refining and launching approaches like these?  It’s the same process as any other product or service refinement or innovation; sourcing, piloting, testing, refining and launching

Here’s our take on the innovation journey through the lens of qualitative insights

Step 1: Brainstorm

At KNow in addition to our internal post-project calls, we save time in our yearly offsite to gather ideas from the team on what parts of processes, methods and deliverables they feel are getting outdated, stodgy or just stale.  This way everyone has a chance to contribute and has a chance to hear what are common themes and pain points  in our processes. 

Some good thought-starters to get this brainstorm conversation started include:

  • What current process is cumbersome/outdated? 
  • What trends do you notice in your day to day life that research could learn from?
  • What untapped talents do you have on your team?
  • What compliments your existing techniques?
  • What do your partners or suppliers have to offer in this area?
  • What has good ROI for the organization?

Step 2: Pilot and Test

We recommend pilot testing any refinement or new approach with the aid of understanding partners.  These can be long term clients who would benefit by additional data or suppliers who have a new capability to show off. Be sure to beta test methodologies multiple times until they are ready for prime time, using steps like:

  • Always ask for feedback from both participants and clients to ensure they are both staying engaged, enjoying the experience and getting the most out of your new methods; make sure they are a part of the continual evolution!
  • Continually refine your process along the way, tracking changes on all materials at every step
  • Make a list of all the things you want to try in the next test
  • Track your rewards; how much easier, faster, smoother is the new process going?

Step 3: Decide to Roll out (or Not!)

This is sometimes an overlooked step because after all of this work it’s hard to say no to an idea you’ve grown close to.  But keep in mind that rolling out is an even bigger step than testing.   Bring the team together and ask yourselves questions like the following to determine if the new idea is ready for launch. Keep in mind, these are not ‘yes means go’ questions, these are things to consider!

  • Is it answering a client need?  Filling a gap?
  • Is it giving your clients something new/unique?
  • Can you explain succinctly what the value proposition and point of difference is?  (If you were in an elevator with a prospective client could you pitch it efficiently?)
  • Is anyone else doing it?
  • Is it trademarkable? If so, do you want to set that process in motion?

So examine your techniques and deliverables, ask your team and clients for feedback and start your own innovation process! For more inspiration, check out KNow Research’s Guide to Methodology Innovation