This post from Scott Anthony got me thinking. Especially this piece about the drive to gather data through research before deciding on a course of action.
It's not that the research wouldn't provide insight. It's just that most of these efforts are resource constrained, and it's clear that teams will get more bang for their buck talking to customers, developing prototypes, sharing those prototypes with customers, filling key leadership team gaps and so on, than they will from rigorous data.
"Let's get some feedback from those members," I said. "No promises, but introduce them to the idea and see what they think. How would they design it if they had the chance?"
The next day a draft of a survey appeared in my inbox. Two of my program managers had put their heads together and come up with a list of questions to ask. "Looks good," I replied. "But I doubt any one will take the time to complete it." It was too long. Trying to put myself in the shoes of our typical association member, a realized that a thoughtful response--the kind on which we would like to base our action--would require them to gather information from different parts of their organization and give some thought as to how to compose that information into the format we were seeking.
Confronted with this, the program managers had a great response. "Why don't we just call a few of the members we know would be willing to talk about the idea and see what they think?"
Great idea. Pick up the phone and talk to someone. Especially at the early planning stages of a new program, that can be some of the best research there is.