Many qualitative researchers feel that their work is under-valued or under-utilized. They struggle to communicate with their colleagues about why research is important, how it is done, and especially how their company can really take advantage of the insights that great research can produce. This harms everyone: researchers feel dissatisfied with their jobs, and their companies forego valuable research insights.
In comparison, a company with a strong research culture is one in which research - in all its forms - is understood and valued across the company. People are curious to ask questions and learn more. People know how to work across silos and build insights, and products, together. And they keep their curiosity alive by bringing in new perspectives.
In such a company research is front-and-centre of product development and consumer engagement. Companies that use this approach become more truly customer-centric, a necessary stance to stay attractive to consumers in today’s market.
But building a research culture isn’t easy. It relies on non-researchers across the company having a working knowledge of how research is done and what it can provide. It also requires a shift in mindset to put the user front-and-centre rather than the product or service. And sharing research data and results requires that practical problems be solved, such as data management.
How can we build strong research cultures? In our EthnoBorrel meetup on 13 January, 2021, we invited participants to share their experiences of research cultures. We had two presentations: one by myself and Melanie Uy about a small research project we are doing on this topic, and another by Corina Enache (Transavia), who talked about breaking down research silos based on her many years of working in both research and non-research roles.