Market research is constantly under the pressure of “being innovative”. Marketing professionals are always expecting for studies to become more innovative, thus less anchored in the traditional ways of conducting market research.

But how is innovation defined in our area? In clients’ eyes, “being more innovative” often means “being more insightful”. Improving the current market research techniques and practices, so that the findings generated are more useful from a business perspective becomes today’s imperative in terms of market research. This is called incremental innovation and we experience it in research all the time. People are still looking for hygienics in terms of market research (e.g. building up a robust and representative sample, generating a clean and correct questionnaire, ensuring that every survey question works quickly, easily, and intuitively on every device), so that they make sure the final results are reliable and insightful. Correctness and reliability often bring peace of mind and therefore become desirable, although they should be an intrinsic value of any market research study.

In the eyes of the professionals though, innovation goes beyond this purpose, yet more in the area of new, engaging tools: machine learning, artificial intelligence, VR etc. This is called disruptive innovation and it is one of the main drivers of the field in the last years. Technology has become a key driver of innovation in the industry and many companies invest in “agile techniques” meant to further transform them into “tech companies”.

Having in mind the 2 existing approaches, there is the constant debate between disruptive and incremental innovation. While, disruptors are always innovators, innovators are not always disruptors, they can be also increments.

What do you think is the path for the upcoming years: is there still room for incremental innovation or the disruptive one will become the new norm? Feel free to comment on this blog post and let us know your thoughts.

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