For the past five years we have been building our app Knowledge Leaps, an agile market research tool. We use it to power our own business serving some of the most demanding clients on the planet.
To build an innovative market research tool I had leave the industry. I spent 17 years working in market research and experienced an industry that struggled to innovate. There are many reasons why innovation failed to flourish, one of which lies in the fact that it is a service industry. Service businesses are successful when they focus their human effort on revenue generation (as it should be). Since the largest cost base in the research are people, there is no economic incentive to invest in the long term especially as the industry has come under economic pressure in recent years. The same could be said of many service businesses that have been disrupted by technology. Taxi drivers being a good example of this effect.
This wouldn't be the first time market research innovations have come from firms that are outside of the traditional market research category definition. For example, SurveyMonkey was founded by a web developer with no prior market research experience. While, Qualtrics was founded by a business school professor and his son, again with no prior market research industry experience.
Stepping outside of the industry and learning how other types of businesses are managing data, using data and extracting information from it has been enlightening. It has also helped us build an abstracted-solution. While we can focus on market research use-cases, since we have built a platform that fosters analytics collaboration and an open-data philosophy finding new uses for it is a frequent occurrence.
To talk tech-speak what we have done is to productize a service. We have taken the parts of market research process which happen frequently and are expensive and turned them into a product. A product that delivers the story in data with bias. It does it really quickly too. Visit the site or email us email@example.com to find out more.
We have just released the charting feature in Knowledge Leaps. The ethos behind the design is this: in our experience, if you are going to make one chart using a data set you are probably going to make many charts using the data.
Specifying lots of charts one-by-one is painful, especially as a data set will typically have lots of variables that you want to plot against one specific variable, date for example. Our UI has been built with this in mind: specify multiple charts quickly, and simply, then spend the time you save putting your brain to work figuring out what the data narrative is.
Charts tend to get buried further into a silo - either as part of a workbook or a presentation. This requires contextual knowledge: to know where the chart is. In other words, you need to know where the chart is to know what story it tells. This is suboptimal, so we fixed that too. Knowledge Leaps platform lets all the your charts remain searchable and shareable. That also goes for your co-workers' charts as well. This feature allows insight to be easily discovered and shared with a wider team - helping build persistent-state organizational intelligence, faster.
In recent years, there has been lots of talk about incorporating Machine Learning and AI into market research. Back in 2015, I met someone at a firm who claimed to be able scale up market research survey results from a sample of 1,000 to samples as large as 100,000 using ML and AI.
Unfortunately that firm, Philometrics, was founded by Aleksandr Kogan - the person who wrote the app for Cambridge Analytica that scraped Facebook data using quizzes. Since then, the MR world has moved pretty slowly. I have a few theories but I will save those for later posts.
Back on topic, Knowledge Leaps got a head start on this six years ago when we filed our patent for technology that automatically analyzes survey data to draw out the story. We don't eliminate human input, we just make sure computers and humans are put to their best respective uses.
We have incorporated that technology into a web-based platform: www.knowledgeleaps.com. We still think we are a little early to market but there might be enough early adopters out there now around which we can build a business.
As well as reinventing market research, we will also reinvent the market research business model. Rather than charge a service fee for analysis, we only charge a subscription for using the platform.
Obviously you still have to pay for interviews to gather the data, but you get the idea. Our new tech-enabled service will dramatically reduce the time-to-insight and the cost-of-insight in market research. If you want to be a part of this revolution, then please get in touch: Doug@knowledgeleaps.com.