Research that just sits on the shelf (or these days, in a digital folder) is research that probably should not have been conducted. If it is not going to be used, then why do it?
Effective research takes many things, from the beginning through the end. We’ve blogged before about the need to start with end in the mind, but what happens when you get to the end? Then what?
Sharing results internally, with the right audiences, and in an effective medium, is key. Here are several ideas of how to do that beyond the common report or PowerPoint deck.
Make it interactive. Can the data (in part or whole) be made to allow for manipulation by users? This could be a fully interactive dashboard where the user gets to select variables to look at, or it could simply be a predefined analysis that users can pull up, filter, and review. For example, Corona often delivers open-ended verbatim responses with a series of filters built in so users can quickly drill down, rather than just reading hundreds or thousands of verbatim comments.
Video summaries. Can you tell the story through video for greater engagement? We have found that video works best in short clips to convey the primary findings and are often best accompanied by more detailed reporting (if users need more). Longer videos can be harder to digest and cause people to disengage. Corona has created short videos to communicate general findings to larger groups of employees who may need to know the general gist of the research, but do not need to know as much detail as core decision makers.
Initial readouts and workshops. Can you involve the users in designing reporting, such as holding a workshop to help build their dashboard so it includes the metrics they want? This not only helps create a more effective dashboard for them, but also creates buy-in since they were involved in its creation. Similarly, sharing preliminary findings can help focus additional analysis and ensure their questions are being addressed in the final report.
Also, consider the following to make any of the above more effective:
- Who needs what? Who in the organization needs what information. Share what it is most important so critical points don’t get lost in the larger report.
- How much? Consider the level of detail any one person or team needs. Executives may want top-level metrics with key points and recommendations; analysts may want every tabulation and verbatim response.
- Who has questions? I think when people read a report or finding, they often think that’s it. Encourage questions and allow for follow-up to make sure everyone has what they need to move forward.
What challenges have you had making use of research? What have you done to try and overcome it? We’d love to hear bellow.