Look in the Mirror: How to Practice What We Preach as Researchers

The democratization of research isn’t always easy for highly trained researchers. It can feel like a loss of power or, more importantly, control. That sense of loss can seep into our relationships with our customers. And before we know it, we are breaking the cardinal rule of always listening to them.

Feedback Loop’s vice president of research, Roddy Knowles talks about how to make sure that doesn’t happen on a recent GRIT Forum webinar, “The Path to Success is Paved with Feedback: Listen, Learn, and Go Beyond ‘Meh.’”

There will always be a need for researchers and the rigorous, complex research they are trained to conduct. But researchers have to accept that such a high level of research isn’t needed for every decision. In fact, it’s seldom needed for many of the smaller, everyday, agile decisions our customers need to keep moving products forward. 

“Embrace the fact that other people aren’t trained to conduct research,” Roddy advises. Researchers can take their rightful place as the experts by “providing something that has enough guardrails and enough consistency and reliability, that both non-researchers and researchers can come at it and meet in a middle ground.

“Some level of training or expectations, likely from a research team, is going to be needed, in order to make sure that you can have a level of competence, and that the data is good enough for you to make the decisions that you need to make.”

The first steps to cementing a positive research relationship are to align on the following:

  • What decision needs to be made?
  • How much rigor needs to go into it?
  • How fast does it need to be made?
  • What sort of tools are you going to use to come to that decision? 

How do you find the answers to those questions? Ask your customer. One of the great ironies of working in the research profession, Roddy says, is we don’t take our own advice of always getting customer feedback.

Roddy talks in detail about how researchers can optimize their relationships with their clients and use feedback loops to ensure success for all. Watch the webinar for expert insights from Roddy, including:

  • Do you need a tent or a house? Choosing the right research for the right decision.
  • Understanding what your customers actually want — and giving it to them.
  • How to ensure you are co-developing and co-creating with your clients.
  • The importance of reminding your clients about their part in your improvement.

Roddy challenges researchers to reduce the friction between themselves and their clients by following their own advice. “One of the easiest ways to reiterate the importance of getting feedback and incorporating feedback is to remind people, as researchers, that this is what we do,” he says. “Just take a look in the mirror. A little guilt goes a long way.” Don’t miss this informative webinar recording!

The Path to Success is Paved with Feedback: Listen, Learn, and Go Beyond “Meh”


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