Personally, I do my absolute best to be “all in” and engage in every single thing the conference has to offer me during the time it takes place. As someone working to build a business and a career in the research industry, conferences are the best opportunity available to get research education, build my network, and get invigorated about market research.
The Great Lakes Fall Conference 2015, organized by the Great Lakes Chapter of the Marketing Research Association, had five speakers, in particular, who shared great ways to think through how to drive innovation and change with market research.
4 Great Takeaways on Innovation from the GLC/MRA Great Lakes Fall Conference 2015
1. Challenge your business model
Shawn Nason from the Xavier University Center for Innovation was tasked to disrupt Xavier's private college education business model and win the battle against increasing costs and a tough value proposition for higher education. I literally heard someone say, “What an eye opening presentation. How incredible.” The “Man on Fire” told us to be willing to challenge your business model to incorporate speed and agility into how things are done.
2. Engage in understanding people to get people working together to achieve more.
Emily Grogan from Seek and Scott Coligan from MillerCoors taught us about empathy in business relationships. They immersed us into understanding what it is they do, why they do it, and the impact that it has on company culture. Make no mistake, thoughtfully engaging in learning more about how to empathize with our fellow human beings will make your business better.
3. Learn about innovation from the startup world
The Garage Group's Renee Murphy has built a business around helping people challenge their own paradigms about how to develop ideas into viable products and services for the market. She is implementing ideas like Minimum Viable Product (MVP) from books such as The Lean Startup in large corporations. She walked us through the rapid research process people are using to test underlying assumptions around an idea before making large investments. She was sharing practical application of the same speed and agility ideas Shawn impressed upon us in the morning.
4. Innovation starts with alignment and setting up rapid learning processes
Doug Hall from Eureka Ranch is a systems thinker that opened us up to understanding that we could implement these changes and innovate ourselves. It starts with alignment. Getting everyone in your organization working towards common goals. The second step is to purposefully set up rapid learning processes. We need to challenge ourselves to create our own systems for our organization to learn quickly and therefore continuously improve. He closed with a convincing argument that the greatest assets for any type of business are patents.
As researchers, our role is evolving ever more into drivers of innovation and change within our businesses and those of our customers. That requires we learn about innovation from the people doing it and start making it happen. It's absolutely necessary that we take those lessons and adjust our approach to business to match current market demands.
After this conference, I immediately challenged myself about how to improve what we are doing to make our business better. I had new ways to think about innovation and stories of how other people are doing it. That is a great outcome for a conference.
As a first time attendee, there is no doubt that I will be planning on attending this same event in 2016.