Research World (May 2005)

Date of publication: May 1, 2005

Catalogue: Research World 2005

Author: ESOMAR B.V.


There are numerous anecdotes demonstrating how inventors and entrepreneurs had no clear vision of how new products would be adopted or used. Because of the lack of growth in a lot of markets, efforts are being stepped up to identify successful new products in companies. To what extent can modern intelligence contribute? Traditionally MR plays a role in reducing uncertainty. Nobody will deny this. But can MR also properly predict and accurately pronounce upon the success of new concepts in the long term? It is claimed that state-of-the-art research generates insight as well as hindsight. But does modern MR also generate foresight? Foresight should not be confused with fantasy. Hamel and Prahalad claimed that foresight means seeing the future before it arrives. And they said that the challenge in competing for industry foresight is to create hindsight in advance. How do you develop foresight? According to them, the answer is to obtain deep insight into trends in lifestyles, technology, demographics, regulations and politics. They refer to the importance of imagination, deep and boundless curiosity and of creating cultures in which “contrarians” can play a role. If you look in the literature, you will find other suggestions. It is important that we escape from the myopia of internal tradition. Look for metaphors and analogies and learn from others. Put yourself in the shoes of your competitors. The profession, as no other, can obtain and present “deep insight into lifestyles, demographics, technology and regulations” and can play an active role in business creation and in supporting research in the different phases of development of an idea or product.

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