Comprehensive List of Research Methods for Driving Innovation

  • One of the biggest requirements and determinants of success for innovation is the ability to identify and understand real problems that can be solved. And for that reason, the most critical activity is how to do research
  • Jan Sprujit created a beautiful framework with a comprehensive list of 50 different research methods that can be deployed to understand problems and potential solutions
  • He states that the general research process has following steps: 1) Explore 2) Describe 3) Gather 4) Elaborate 5) Experiment 6) Analyse 7) Test 8) Evaluate
  • Moreover, he also distinguished four different parameters for each research method: 1) Level of Expertise Needed 2) Total Investment Needed 3) Amount of Time Needed & 4) Number of Staff Needed
  • Based on these parameters, an innovation researcher, could make a elaborated choice on which method to use and why
  • Here is a list of the research methods included in the list:
  • 1. Buzz Mining: keeping track of all the buzz that comes and goes around a certain topic
  • 2. Media Scanning: actively scanning media to stay up to date about a certain topic
  • 3. Scenarios: using scenario planning methods to forecast different scenario’s
  • 4. Trend tracking: keeping track of macro-economical and ‘under the iceberg’-technological trends that could impact your business
  • 5. Competitive Analysis: systematically comparing products, offerings or methods of competitors and drawing conclusions
  • 6. Stakeholder Mapping: draw extremely detailed stakeholder diagrams and explain the connections to the maximum of your understanding
  • 7. Literature Review: reviewing existing literature to find all known and unknown information regarding your topic
  • 8. Market Research: reviewing market data find all known and unknown insights about the market your in or entering
  • 9. Expert Interviews: interviewing experts in the field to gain general insights on your product (category)
  • 10. Questionnaires: conducting questionnaires among potential users (or a population in general) to find interesting insights
  • 11. Sociographics & Pshychgraphics: deeper research into lifestyle, motivational and emotional reasoning of potential users
  • 12. Contextual Inquiry: taking ‘live’ questionnaire in specific contexts to compare own observations with user reactions
  • 13. Anthropological observation: observing potential customers in their natural behaviour (from a distance)
  • 14. Indirect observation: using videos (or other tools) to indirectly observe behaviour of potential customers
  • 15. User Journey Mapping: finding and observing all touch points of a certain user with your brand or product
  • 16. Lead User Engagement: finding and involving important (recurring) users in your research process
  • 17. Competitive testing: testing products of competitors to find useful insights
  • 18. Role playing: imitating real-life situations in order to see users reactions
  • 19. Graffiti Walls: putting large sleets of paper to a wall and ask users to answer certain questions over time
  • 20. Crowdsourcing: using the wisdom of the crowd to gain new insights
  • 21. Social Media Research: using social media to research reactions or general sense among users
  • 22. Opinion polls: using structured opinion polls to test hypotheses
  • For the complete list, pls reference this article:

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