Research Resources

White Paper: Bringing Research to Life through Collaborative, Engaging, and Inspiring Workshops

Typical market research reports and presentations often fail to connect with internal clients or inspire executives to take action.  According to cognitive learning theory, this disconnect occurs because people learn through “synthesis and evaluation” — internalizing the insights by using them — not through merely reading reports.  Sharing research findings via hands-on workshops is a solution to better engage clients and help them to internalize the research findings.  Whether conducted at the very beginning of a study (when the business objectives are being translated into research objectives), after data collection (as a springboard for framing the analysis), or after the report is finished (as a means to evangelize the findings within the client organization), workshops can vastly improve the actionability of the research results.  This paper includes background and case studies on research workshops, and is meant to be paired with D.I.Y. Insights Workshop Cards, also available as a free download.

D.I.Y. Insights Workshop Cards

Workshops are an effective way to bring life to research through hands-on learning and collaborative ideation. At Vital Findings, we know that sometimes the hardest part about holding a workshop is simply getting started. With this in mind, we created the D.I.Y Insights Workshop Cards to provide step-by-step instructions for conducting 5 different types of workshops, each tailored to a desired outcome.   


Immersion Workshop

“Walking in the customer’s shoes” 

1. Give team members a common consumer objective to accomplish (e.g., shop for a product, sign up for a service, etc.). 

2. Ask team members to document their experience ‘as a customer’ with pictures, screenshots, notes, etc. and print the images.

3. In a conference room, have everyone presents his/her experience, taping up images while speaking. As each person presents, ask others to write “key successes” (blue post-its) and “pain points” (red post-its). 

4. After each presenter shares, ask team members add their post-its and explain their reasoning.

5. Encourage team members to discuss common themes and record them on a whiteboard. Organize and prioritize themes into research hypotheses, forming the framework for a questionnaire or discussion guide outline.


Co-creation Workshop

“Develop products with your target consumer”

1. Recruit 5 target consumers and 5 internal researchers/marketers/product developers for a 4 hour workshop. 

2. Have consumers create a collage beforehand and present it to the client team, explaining their needs and desired benefits within the category. Categorize these needs and benefits into themes.

3. Lay out “creation stations” with evocative, metaphor-rich materials (e.g., mood cards, product images from ancillary categories, drawing materials, foam core shapes, etc.).

4. Assign consumer/client teams and give each team a theme to create a metaphorical “product” around.  Teams will visit each creation station to add features and “look and feel” to their prototypes.  When finished, each team presents their creation.

5. Dismiss consumers and have the internal team revisit each “product” and the original need/benefit themes, and discuss how to use the “product” insight to address consumer desires. 


Concept Development Workshop

“Create the ideal product experience”

1. Identify user experience champions within the organization and recruit them for a half-day workshop. Send the research report beforehand, requesting that each participant reply with their 5 key takeaways.

2. Begin the workshop with a short (20 min.) refresher of the research, followed by a discussion of key takeaways.

3. Split the group into teams of 3-4 people to quickly ideate and sketch new experience ideas (e.g. new apps, site tools, etc.).  Provide product concept or UX storyboard templates.

4. Ask each group to create 20-40 ideas, presenting the top 10 to the full team.  Provide post-its so participants can build on each others’ ideas. 

5. After everyone is finished, give each participant stickers to use for voting.  Allocate time for everyone to review the concepts and vote for their favorites.  Ask the teams to take the two top concepts and sketch out a use case scenario for each.

Persona Workshop

“Personify your target segment or consumer”

1. Create “day in the life” stories, either abstracted from or (ideally) personified by real consumers. 

2. Ask participants to split into teams, each with a different “day in the life” story printed out.  Provide the teams with photos, video, posters, or “experience stations” to get to know their consumer better.

3. Ask teams to review their story, underlining pain points and circling desired benefits.  Teams should then condense the pain points/benefits into a list and prioritize them. 

4. Using a concept form (a form with room for a headline/product name, a sketch, and a list of features), have the teams brainstorm ideas for addressing the key pain points. 

5. Have each team present their consumer persona, pain points, and top ideas for solutions.  Each concept form should be pinned to a board and clustered with similar ideas.  At the end, team members will use stickers to vote for the top ideas to move to concept testing or refinement.

Prioritization Workshop

“Distill, cluster, and prioritize insights”

1. Copy findings from an existing research report into a Word document.  Edit for overlap/clarity until you have a list of 20 or fewer one-line insights from the research.

2. Print each insight on a separate index card.  Walk through the insight list as a group, and then hand each participant a stack of insight cards.

3. Have participants independently organize the cards according to importance to the business, from most to least important.

4. Have each person present his/her top 5 findings, voicing his/her reasoning while pinning each card to the board (grouping with similar cards that may already be on the board).

5. When finished, identify common themes and prioritize them as a group, discussing the business implications of each and assigning teams to take action.