Monday, April 16, 2012

Coca-Cola Research Head Issues Innovation Scorecard and Blueprint

“We’re Approaching Critical Mass!”
By Marc Dresner, IIR USA

In research circles, Coca-Cola VP of Marketing Strategy and Insights Stan Sthanunathan is a perennial favorite, known for his keen insight and candor (and frankly, for being unafraid to state the controversial truth as he sees it).

For example, in a Research Insighter™ interview last September, Sthanunathan made waves when he predicted that survey research would become increasingly irrelevant, supplanted by a new generation of more passive listening tools capable of delivering deeper, more meaningful insights.

More than six months later, Sthanunathan stands firmly behind his remarks.

“Dependence on survey research is going to come down and it’s going to come down quite significantly,” he told the Research Insighter™ in a new interview.

“[We] need new approaches that will help you observe, listen, synthesize and deduce,” said Sthanunathan, who added he’s encouraged by the “exponentially increasing” progress the industry has made on the innovation front.

But the big surprise is that Sthanunathan no longer expects innovation to be driven primarily by start-ups and entrepreneurs from without the research industry; he believes traditional providers will lead the way in collaboration with clients.

“We are beginning to get critical mass in the area of innovation,” he said.

In this exclusive interview with the Research Insighter™ podcast series, Sthanunathan explains:

- Why the next step in the mainstreaming of research innovation will require shaking up entrenched, risk-averse client mindsets

- How benchmarking is handicapping progress

- Coca-Cola Co’s companywide 70/20/10 approach to investing in innovation

- How he’s counting on research suppliers to bring revolutionary research techniques to the table, and much more!

Download an interview transcript!

Editor’s note: If you would like to hear more from Stan Sthanunathan, he will be delivering a keynote titled “Technology...Embrace It or Get Left Behind!” at The Market Research Technology Event April 30-May 2 in Las Vegas.

For information or to register, visit iirusa.com/technology

 As a reader of this blog, when you register to join us, mention code MRTECH12BLOG and save 10% off the standard rate!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR/INTERVIEWER
Marc Dresner is IIR USA's sr. editor and special communication projects lead. He is the former executive editor of Research Business Report, a confidential newsletter for the market research industry. He may be reached at mdresner@iirusa.com. Follow him @mdrezz.

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