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Reshaping what's possible. The need to bleed. See Cells, Change Lives. Smooth Operator. Graphic: each phrase is in its own colorful section.

Key Elements to a Successful Qualitative Discovery Process


Reshaping what’s possible
The need to bleed
See cells, change lives
Smooth operator


These short phrases may mean nothing to you. But for their intended audiences, they are powerful. They instantly attract, engage and create competitive advantage by changing conversations to drive revenue.

This is always the aim with messaging. But it’s seldom clear how you get there when you’re starting with what can be a daunting quantity of information, opinions and preconceptions. How do you dig out the gold nugget of differentiation from all that raw data? The key is in discovery.

The Introworks discovery process is qualitative research — one-on-one interviews with stakeholders conducted to build a body of knowledge that guides us in shaping a differentiating narrative. While there are other approaches for gaining understanding, and while quantitative research always has an important role to play, we believe this method provides the best way to get to the story that wins.

Let’s dive into what it takes to do this well.


Begin with a Framework and a Frame of Mind

Successful discovery requires both the right framework and the right frame of mind.

A discussion guide serves as the discovery framework. It consists of a question set designed to shed light on specific areas of interest — from high-level market context all the way down to nuanced details around the offering.

The framework is the starting point. However equally, if not more important, is the frame of mind the interviewer brings to the conversation — open, genuinely curious and agile in working through communication challenges.

It Takes a Human

For this process, there is no substitute for person-to-person conversation. Active listening is challenging, human work. The human brain is uniquely capable of using emotional and social intelligence to discern the difference between “that’s interesting” and “that’s interesting.” It’s the emotional intelligence and curiosity of the human mind that responds to nuance, interprets inflections, reads non-verbal cues and uses creative problem solving to reach insights beyond what a survey or data set can deliver.


Discovery is Distillation

Think about discovery as a distillation process. With every conversation, the story takes shape iteratively as insights and themes emerge. Topics get tailored to specific stakeholders. Discussions pivot to probe deeper into specific concepts that pique interest. Conversations test theories and ideas. In the process, the winning story is crafted and refined in real time.

At Introworks, this virtually always brings us to a message that is different from what was assumed at the outset.

The intention here is clear: Whether it’s a product, a service or a brand, to find the story that sets you apart and sets you up for success, follow the path of discovery.


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