The agile research discipline is evolving quickly, and Feedback Loop’s customers are at the center of this emerging practice. Enterprise organizations must build flexibility into their processes in order to thrive in uncertain markets. If 2020 has taught us anything, it is just how much uncertainty can be packed into a short period of time!
It’s important that we understand how researchers approach conducting research at the pace of change, so we asked resident experts at some of our customers how they define agile research. These researchers are thinking about how to simplify and speed processes, as well as how to responsibly put research tools into tools into the hands of business users. Across the board, their answers reflect the urgent importance of research at the speed of change. Read on to learn what they had to say.
“Agile research simplifies and speeds up the process”
The rapid increase in technology enhancements as well as living in a pandemic creates a need for agility in our lives. Research, however, has typically been thought of as a time-intensive process starting with study design through to reporting. Agile research simplifies and speeds up the process, so companies receive feedback in days rather than weeks or months. This allows companies to infuse consumer opinions into their product development and marketing efforts sooner, which in turn means better products and services for the consumer and greater efficiencies for the company.
“The term refers to an accelerated and iterative research cycle, which is certainly something we spend a lot of time thinking about.”
Agile research isn't a term we use in our organization but to the extent that term refers to an accelerated and iterative research cycle, that is certainly something we spend a lot of time thinking about. I continue to think that most organizations can and should support a balanced portfolio of long-term and short-term research programs. When it comes to the need for quick insights from the people who use our products (and people who don't yet, but might use them), we turn to our team at Feedback Loop who can help us quickly uncover needs and test concepts. Something that should never be sacrificed in the rush for feedback is the intentional inclusion of historically underinvested voices. For this reason, it's critical that services like Feedback Loop continue to work to include participants from audiences that represent people of all identities.
“Because of its speed and flexibility, you don’t need to fear missteps.”
While ‘agile research’ has attained buzzword status, the foundation should be familiar to most researchers. Agile research is about being flexible, about being nimble. At its best, agile research is about active learning through data collection. It’s forging the path as you go. The destination has been defined, but how one gets there and what the final product actually looks like is initially unknown. Agile research allows you to take the first step, collect some data, see where it points, then you take the next step, collect some more data, and so on. Yes, sometimes you may need to retrace your steps, back track, and take a different path forward, but that’s OK. The quick, iterative nature of agile research is built for exactly that. You get data quickly so you can confidently step forward, but because of its speed and flexibility, you don’t need to fear missteps.