research design

Tutorial: Cultivating Research Capacity as Organizational Strategy

MEENA KOTHANDARAMAN & ZARLA LUDIN twig + fish Overview It’s not enough to hire a great researcher: organizations need the capacity to develop and learn from strategic, credible research. Participants in this tutorial will learn and practice a tool for cultivating that capacity that can be used with stakeholders, teams, or clients. A central challenge for organizations is the inchoate nature of addressing “unknowns.” Too often, they misalign questions with objectives, confuse organizational agendas with research questions, lead with method, use inappropriate metrics of success, over-simplify complex human dynamics, and set unrealistic expectations for data. The NCredible Framework meets the challenge by approaching the research process as an organizational strategy. It is a simple but flexible process for aligning stakeholders around well-defined questions, defining research scope, designing credible studies, and learning from findings. Participants in this tutorial will learn to: identify assumptions,...

Creating a Strategic Role for Research in Your Organization

An EPIC Talk with MEENA KOTHANDARAMAN & ZARLA LUDIN, twig+fish Approx 78 min Human-centered research practices embedded in business contexts have matured to a problematic inflection point. Called upon as a means of finding answers to human complexities, qualitative research is often measured against misappropriated metrics of success. Time, money, efficiency, and return on investment have been artificially applied to demonstrate value to the rest of the business. Although these metrics are meaningful to a business at large, they can diminish the credibility of a nuanced research engagement. This false tie leads to tendencies behind research practices that no longer service the domain of human-centered research—that even hurt it. Leading with method, over-simplifying complex human dynamics, misaligning questions with objectives, and setting unrealistic expectations of data gathering are just some of these responsive tendencies. Research can no longer be a gratuitous technique, conjured...

Imagining a Gym for the Spirit, Mind, and Body for the 21st Century

ALEJANDRO JINICH Gemic Case Study—This case explores a research and consulting engagement whose goal was to build an investment case for a new type of 21st century gym for the spirit, mind, and body. The client, a group of well-funded U.S. entrepreneurs, wanted to design and launch a venture that would be positioned to serve the emerging spiritual needs of the proximal future (2-15 years). While the founders were themselves involved in meditation, belief-dependent realism, and a loose collection of westernized oriental and mystic practices and beliefs, they had not yet defined the venture's specific offering. They suspected that (a) the dominant sociocultural climate of rationalism (e.g. rationalized life choices/paths derived from rationalized worldviews, disengaged relationship with the body and emotion, cynically-motivated wealth creation, etc.) and the lack of embodied and experience-based decision-making and living practices were at the core of a generalized social malaise, and that (b) decoding it and designing a venture...

Tutorial: Ethnographic Research Design

SAM LADNER Amazon Ethnography is closely associated with the core qualitative methods of interviewing and observation. But ethnographers in business often work with a broad range of other methods, from video and diary studies to surveys and sensors. This tutorial examines the relationship between research and design, producing data and producing things. It considers the research process as a design process and a wide range of methods across the research and design spectrum. Participants engaged in active exercises to examine creativity, complexity, compromise and choice in research design, and consider the role of stakeholder thinking. Finally, the tutorial encouraged researchers to conceptualize their work as a long-term endeavor beyond the boundaries of a discrete project, with tips for organizing data and files as well as creating quality criteria. Participants were asked to prepare for this workshop by exploring and perhaps journaling about past projects that did not provide clients with their desired outcomes. They considered...