Why You Should Talk To Strangers


Typically talking to strangers is not behavior I recommend. However in the case of leading innovation it is behavior that not only should be encouraged, but should be systematized.

Last week we collected 100 responses to a survey by talking to strangers at a brewery. That research went great and brought an innovation project one step closer to shipping. Here are 3 reasons why you should get out of the office and talk to strangers about your innovations.

  1. Learn more from people. We created the survey to capture all the needed data for our test, but it can't capture everything. From peopleÕs excitement when seeing something new to their faces when they taste something great or not so great. All of these moments and interactions can spark new ideas that are missed when you outsource the research.
  2. Learn from your mistakes. Last week our survey only had 10 questions and included sampling a product. This was fairly painless by design, because weÕve learned our lesson from trying to test long worded ideas or endless opening questions. When outsourcing research, we tend to add as many questions as possible, so we feel like we get our moneys worth. When we do it ourselves, we stay more focused during the design and test clear ideas, which makes our research better and collecting responses a lot less painful. 
  3. Avoid wasting time and money. There is way more flexibility with the research when you are there in person. With our research system we have the ability to see the results online in real time, so after about a dozen responses I checked in on the report. When IÕm there live and know the results, I can react. For example if scores are extremely high or low after 30 responses, then I stop the test, because we arenÕt going to learn much more from the next 70 people. Instead of continuing the test, we modify the ideas based off our learning and use that time and money we saved to do another test. Having more flexibility and being able to do more tests increases the likely hood of you testing the far out leap ideas too.

I think we all have a little social fear about talking to strangers and doing research, but trust me the benefits and learning are worth it. So get out there, get some valuable feedback, but please avoid offering free candy or rides in your van.

Don't miss the next Innovation Engineering Executive Experience being held at Eureka! Ranch on June 23 & 24, 2016.  Email Corie@EurekaRanch.com for a code to receive a special offer for June, only.