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« moving to new digs | Main | Creativity versus efficiency, part 2 »

August 11, 2007


Steve Portigal

Thanks for emphasizing the "meaning" aspect of qualitative research. We kicked off a new client project last week and I was astounded by the fact that, the higher up we went in the organization, the more they felt the benefit of this new endeavor was that we would bring back new "insights" that were strictly the product of observations. If we saw someone doing a non-standard behavior, then that would be something they could fix or invent. A gizmo to go into that situation. There was less comfort - even when I broached it twice - with the idea that observations and actual interactions - would reveal a whole new category of unmet need in which the observed behavior might or might not be an attempt to address.

In other words, the difference between the behavior of storing your wallet in your front pocket (hey, how's about a front-pocket-sized-wallet!!!) and the meaning of a greater need for personal security (hey, how's about a line of products to create visibility, to conceal valuables, or a new service to trace stole items, etc. etc. etc.).

It's almost like a quantitative mindset applied to qualitative work; it misses the full value that can be derived.

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