Are consumers the researchers of the future?

Good insights will lead to the discovery of something that is not yet obvious. They should be recognizable and real and must allow us to translate them into actionable business opportunities. Researchers are considered as experts in insight generation. But is the researcher still the right and only person suited to get the job done in? Can they see and interpret everything?
The ForwaR&D lab at InSites Consulting has been experimenting with a new way of discovering insights by introducing the principle of crowd interpretation. Crowd interpretation is the analysis of research data by a group of research participants in order to obtain richer interpretation of data that lead to insights. Crowd interpretation is played in an online game where both marketers as research participants are asked to analyze consumer behavior. The better you are in the analysis of data, the more chance you have to win the crowd interpretation game. We recently applied it in two insightment projects for VRT & Heinz:

Our results indicate that crowd interpretation is a powerful mechanism. Involving consumers in the analysis of your research results lead to 20-40% additional meaningful interpretations of the data. Moreover, the quality of the insights generated by research participants do is not different from researchers or experts.
Clearly, by interpreting the research data from multiple perspectives, one can discover additional and high quality insights. Does this mean that participants are the researchers of the future?  Not necessarily, but it definitely seems like insight generation is not solely the domain of researchers or marketers. Consumers add a valuable and new perspective to research data and should be more involved in the analysis of research results.

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