Research cultures in companies #2: The perspectives of non-researchers

March 5th 2021

Our last EthnoBorrel focused on the problems UX and qualitative researchers face in promoting how their research is used within their companies. It’s quite common to for these researchers to feel that their work is under-utilized, and  many spend a great deal of time trying to educate their colleagues, build collaborations, and trying to get a seat at the executive table to get their insights heard. 

But what about the people who work closely with researchers? How do they see research and its uses? 

In this follow-up session we had a panel with professionals who are not researchers themselves, but who influence how research is implemented within a company: managers, non-researchers, and practicalities. The panelists were Kenny Baas-Schwegler (Domain-Driven Design consultant & trainer, Xebia), Puja Nanda (Senior Product Manager, Booking) and Gien Verschatse (Owner, EIGHT POINT SQUARED). The panel was moderated by Melanie T. Uy.

Why do companies need a strong research culture?

January 19th 2021

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.

New podcast on digital money, mobility and long tails

July 29th 2020

The fabulous Dawn Walter recently interviewed me for her Anthropology & Technology podcast. In this episode I explain what got me hooked on exploring how finances affect people’s lives, and why we don’t understand our own financial behaviours despite money affecting so much of what we do.

I also share some stories from my consulting life, including anecdotes that illustrate why understanding the cultural is so important as well as the value that anthropologists bring to fintech companies.

We discuss the latest edition of the Consumer Finance Research Toolkit, and how fintechs can create niche solutions which address specific financial needs untapped by banks.

Lastly, we talk about the Female Finance report that I co-wrote with Dr Anette Broløs, and why it makes commercial sense to deliver financial services specifically for women.

You can listen to the podcast here, or if you prefer you can read the transcript.

New version of the CFRM Toolkit now available

July 17th 2020

Gawain and I are happy to announce that we have released an updated version of the Consumer Finance Research Methods Toolkit. Originally released in 2016, we produced this Toolkit with the Institute for Money, Technology and Financial Inclusion (IMTFI) to highlight innovative ways that researchers are using methods to understand financial behaviour.

The 2020 version of the Toolkit includes a brand new chapter on current issues in the finance industry, updated case studies, and references to plenty of recent (and fabulous) research. 

We hope you enjoy the Toolkit. Please do get in touch to let us know what you think, what's missing, and how we can collaborate to build a better financial world for humans!