There has been a sea change in elementary through graduate school education. No longer is the “Sage on the Stage” model the only way to teach or learn. In-person classes led by a single instructor at the front of the class have been replaced or augmented by the “Guide on the Side.” This philosophy has students prepare for class by watching online videos at home, doing homework, and using classroom time to solve questions with their teacher. While “Guide on the Side” is not necessarily the best approach when students learn basic skills and facts, it is very effective for work that requires problem solving and critical thinking skills. Numerous studies in the field of education have found that these kinds of collaborative learning activities are more effective than the traditional approach.
While education in the classroom has been transformed by these new approaches, we find it surprising that the trend has not really caught on in the business world. Most business findings and insights are still shared by one person presenting to a group, while that group sits quietly and takes in information. If there is time, the presenter may ask if there are any questions or if clarification is needed, but rarely is much else done to ensure that attendees really understand and can act on what has been presented.
At Bovitz, we believe it is time for a change. We present research and strategy findings in a way that enables our clients to build empathy with consumers. Rather than being passive audience members learning about someone else’s findings, we have introduced Discovery Sessions® to bring data, project finding and consumer insights to life. We help each audience member uncover the most interesting, relevant and impactful findings of the research and translate these findings into actionable tools and techniques. As one of our retail clients reinforced: “Discovery Sessions® make sure that people are engaged with the content and are not just passive recipients of a presentation.”
Learning theory tells us that there are seven different ways people process information: logical/mathematical, verbal/linguistic, musical, visual/spatial, bodily kinesthetic, interpersonal and intrapersonal. Yet most presentations use only the first two. Discovery Sessions® create interactive, engaging learning modules that cater to different learning styles. As meeting participants engage in interactive activities and dialogue about their findings, they are more likely to understand, internalize and act on the information.
Bovitz’s clients have seen the short and long term impact of this more engaging, informative and impactful approach to sharing insights. One retail client remarked that “Discovery Sessions® are more effective in terms of getting buy-in and action from the meeting audience. By enabling the audience to do the thinking and learning on their own, through self-directed learning stations, rather than being force-fed information, our meeting attendees are more able to gain empathy for the customer and act accordingly.”
There are eight core tenets that drive our Discovery Sessions®:
- Collect Multiple Types of Data to Engage All Stakeholders
- Collaborate During Data Analysis to Help Address Stakeholder Issues
- Focus Stakeholders Around Sub-Questions Laddering-Up to the Essential Question
- Reduce Presentation Data Into Easy-to-Read Data Pools™
- Create Learning Activities that Tap Into Multiple Intelligences
- Use Props and Images to Visualize Future Products/Services
- Have Stakeholders Apply Insights through a Final Processing Assignment
We aim to make the insights come alive for cross-functional teams. As our retail client shared, “After the Discovery Session®, it seemed like everyone spoke the same language. We all figured out together what we needed to be doing and how we could do it. It really instilled a sense of urgency within the organization.” As part of the Final Processing Assignment, participants work on the initial phases of a retail or marketing strategy. As a result, they walk away with clear expectations of next steps and a productive output.
A Discovery Session® may be right for your next project if...
1. Your Team Has More Than Just Tactical Questions
Some market research projects just need a simple answer, whereas others are asking a deeper question that may change the strategic direction of the business. While Bovitz can help answer both kinds of questions, Discovery Sessions® are best for more strategic questions that require understanding and buy-in from different teams across the organization.
2. You Have Key Stakeholders With Different Learning Styles
While charts and graphs may be engaging to one team member, they are most likely not engaging to all. By presenting project findings and outcomes using videos, data, photography, digital tools and other mediums, Discovery Sessions® are more likely to engage and intrigue all types of team members.
3. You Want the Project Findings to Be Implemented Quickly
The exercises in a Discovery Session® kick start the process of taking action on the insights. The concluding activities of a typical session require participants to begin using the learnings right on the spot. They may be asked to develop new marketing plan elements, targeting opportunities, early-stage product ideas, packaging mock-ups, etc. that tie back to the findings. Before you know it, the stakeholders are off and running—the learning is now a part of them and it can immediately impact their work.