By Julie Rose, Vice President, Client Experience
The Agile movement has gained traction across many functions, and Consumer Insights is no exception. There’s a push to move more quickly and easily through the consumer learning process. Many companies want to cut the innovation process in half – both time and budget. In fact, 90 percent of senior leaders say becoming agile is a high priority1. We are seeing evidence of this desire with the growth of Research Technology – tools that tout the promise of better, faster, cheaper!
Agile, however, is more than a process and more than adopting a new tool or methodology. Agile is a mindset, encompassing all aspects of how work gets done – from the way coworkers collaborate to the way products are delivered1.
At SIVO Insights, we encourage adopting the following key principles of Agile:
- Learn & do, early and often
- Expect change & embrace the pivot
- Measure progress & seek the truth
- Empower decisions & take action
Learn & Do, Early and Often
The continuous learning loop or cycle is a very powerful tenet of being Agile.
In the past, it was commonplace in market research to learn, learn, learn by following a predetermined process of steps and methods. At the end of the plan, you would launch your new product or national advertising campaign into the world, ready or not.
Today, SIVO helps our clients embrace continuous learning cycles where we learn in bite-sized chunks, always answering key questions first. Then, we encourage getting early ideas into the real world, with prototypes, to get relevant feedback and test if people are willing to use their own money to buy or invest in the idea!
Expect Change & Embrace the Pivot
The learning process is full of both successes and failures. That actually hasn’t changed – it’s always been this way. Learning is a journey that will have some twists and turns. An Agile mindset will help you embrace change, accept failure, chart a new course or pivot, and celebrate success. It takes grit – both perseverance and resilience – to truly be Agile. At SIVO, we help identify critical assumptions for the learning journey upfront so objectives are prioritized and clear, helping to make it easier to manage through those twists & turns!
Measure Progress & Seek the Truth
In the world of Agile, measuring progress is conducted on a regular basis, typically daily, especially if the initiative is time sensitive. The purpose is to share progress and align on immediate next steps. At SIVO, we facilitate client teams through these sessions with a recap of where we’ve been (hindsight) and an outline of where we are going (foresight.) The one critical element of these sessions that can’t be missed: Seeking the truth. Truth is either “pretty” or “pretty ugly” and no matter what it is, you and your team must seek it and accept it. I’m reminded of the famous quote by David Stevens, “A lie is a lie even if everyone believes it. The truth is the truth even if nobody believes it.” In the context of Agile, the entire team must make a “truth serum pact” to ensure the project steers in the right direction.
Empower Decisions & Take Action
Finally, once the team is aligned on the truth, they must be empowered to make decisions and take action. If the team is not empowered, they will not be agile. SIVO ensures the voice of the consumer is always represented and partners with our clients to understand overall business challenges beyond the consumer. We often work with cross-functional teams including operations, finance, or development – providing a holistic view. This all-in approach enables our client partners to make decisions, take action, re-evaluate, and repeat the agile learning cycle – ensuring continued momentum forward.
There’s no question that Consumer Insights departments are being asked to do more with less these days, and to move faster than ever in the process. Agile offers a way for these professionals to accomplish their goals by working smarter, not necessarily harder.
Get in touch with us at Contact@SivoInsights.com to learn how your teams can be truly Agile!
1Forbes: Understanding Fake Agile
Julie is a seasoned insights executive with a proven track record of delivering business results and guiding organizations to having a consumer-first mindset. With skill and expertise in designing research strategy and guiding execution, she drives organizations and teams forward in using meaningful insights to solve business challenges and capitalize on white space opportunities. An inclusive and empowering leader, with a bias for action, Julie builds engaged, productive, and collaborative teams within and across functions. Executives depend on her to bring the “voice of the consumer” to bear in solving key business challenges and questioning status quo thinking to unlock and accelerate growth.