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Paul Hudson
Paul Hudson CEO of Intersperience
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Examining Collaboration

At Intersperience we are always on the hunt for new and innovative ideas and striving to find new ways of reaching the truths behind human behaviour. In 2013, we are more excited than ever about collaborating with consumers to gain fresh insights. Our online tools and moderating skills are honed and we are continuously learning.

I favour a collaborative approach to gaining insights because this allows customers to feel more empowered to voice their opinions, to be creative and helps them open up about the brand. There are many ways of encouraging collaboration, but the first one to get right is your approach to communication.

Communicating in a collaborative way

·         It goes without saying that you need to be clear about what you are looking to discover on behalf of your client, but please, please, please don’t think clarity comes from a four page introduction! This introduction can very easily be likened to the terms and conditions that we all flit past and ignore on websites: it makes your participants feel like naughty school kids. Tell them the digested version and give them the option to read a long description somewhere else instead of forcing them to (it won’t make them any more compliant).

 

·         The second rule of collaborative communication is being prompt – responding to comments in a timely manner has a profound effect on how valuable your participants feel. It does take a little bit of planning and foresight (such as attending to email reminders at the start, not the end of the day so you are available to answer queries) but reaps rewards when it comes to idea-sharing and facilitation of activities.

 

·         Lastly, an essential part of collaboration is the feeling that everyone’s contribution is equal – in the same level you want your customers to share you need to lead by example. This can be difficult to do without creating a bias, so ensure you communicate a negative example with a positive, or use a playful analogy to help demonstrate to your participants the depth of engagement and discussion you need.

 

Research transparency and direct communication helps build trust and advances ideas quickly, because the diverse knowledge of corporate, research and consumer level participators is swiftly integrated.

Behind this approach is a sensitive framing and belief that the customer is an equal partner in success: being customer-centric scoops up a much wider pool of ideas that are relevant to your business and brings attention to the nitty-gritty details which can de-mystify a problem.

There are though, many ways of encouraging co-creation, of which I will pick up on again soon. Until then I would love to know your thoughts and ideas too.

 

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