Integrating qualitative research and futurism

Date of publication: November 10, 2002

Company: The Future Place

Author: Ray Poynter


This paper shows how the techniques of the futurist can be used to add value and insight to the marketing research process. The paper illustrates how approaches such as 'the report in the future' and 'Scenario Spinning' can be utilized in the research process to challenge the brief, to define the scope, to sharpen the method, and to enrich the interpretation of research. Qualitative researchers will find this paper a 'call to arms' in terms of shifting the client focus away from knowing the past and towards providing an understanding of the different possibilities the future holds.The key message is that too much existing research addresses lower order problems, such as whether consumers prefer the red or green package, or what they thought the ad was trying to communicate.The paper shows how futurist approaches can move the focus towards an understanding of what may happen in the future, and how the role of the researcher should be as a scout for the future and provider actionable insights.

Ray Poynter


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