Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Live from #TMRE14: How Adobe Streamlines Research for Disruptive Innovation

Dr. Sam Lindsey
Adobe’s Dr. Sam Lindsey, Research Manager, Market Insights, gave us an in-depth tour of how research at Adobe is being adapted and made scalable to suit the demands of the innovation process. 

Specifically, Lindsey works on disruptive—as opposed to incremental—innovation.

Lindsey noted that innovation leaders tend to view research like a luxury cruise ship—slow, cumbersome, extravagant—a vessel decidedly ill-suited for the sort of highly uncertain terrain germane to the disruptive innovation process.

He’s been working to change that perception with a speedboat variation that dramatically cuts costs and reduces the average research window from 3-5 months down to 1-2 weeks. It entails:

-          Narrow, hypothesis-based studies

-          New samples (crowdsourced panels)

-          New tools (ex.

Adobe is training non-research employees to conduct their own research.

Among the more controversial elements of the presentation, Lindsey discussed how Adobe is equipping its non-research employees to conduct their own research, themselves.

This includes a host of educational resources—best practices, sample scripts, how-to’s, guides and tips—imparting the essentials from drafting a recruit email to interviewing.

Lindsey and Adobe’s other research jocks advise on method, sample, design and confidence in findings as needed.

“The demand for this sort of research is too high for [our researchers] to meet,” said Lindsey, who anticipated some audience members might question the wisdom of building an internal DIY army. 

“They’re going to do research, either way, so why not help them do it reasonably well?”

Marc Dresner is IIR USA’s sr. editor and special communication project lead. He is the former executive editor of Research Business Report, a confidential newsletter for the marketing research and consumer insights industry. He may be reached at Follow him @mdrezz.

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