Making hard things easy: How an audience “needs index” went viral

This presentation will show how we designed and delivered foundational research stemming from outcome-driven innovation (Anthony Ulwick’s term), to get teams across a division:

  • Speaking a common language around our target audiences’ needs
  • Articulating “strategic postures” to guide investments across the client journey
  • Applying the insights in day-to-day work including marketing campaigns and new offer development

The research came from a need within our organization to uniformly understand our clients’ needs and to apply the insights more effectively. Too often, we present research only to have stakeholders say, “that’s interesting,” and put our report on the shelf. We placed a heavy emphasis on storytelling and activation with this body of work.

We combined Anthony Ulwick’s outcome-driven innovation methodology with a human-centered approach to look at our target audiences’ needs from a variety of perspectives and built two custom measures to quantify what we discovered and make concrete recommendations following therefrom.

Key takeaways:

  1. A comprehensive understanding of client needs derived from established innovation and market research methodologies can create a credible and foundational playbook for teams to use as a starting point across a variety of efforts.
  2. Creating such a playbook requires researchers (and the organization that funds them) to be allowed to think broadly, socialize widely, and be present with stakeholders to connect the dots that drive the application of the insights into teams’ collective understanding and daily work.
  3. In the words of a department head who’s worked closely with us to drive the work forward: “Good research teams deliver data. Great research teams help us figure out how to use it – in both strategic and tactical ways.”

Case Study Presentation by End-Client


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