Researchers, your brains are not enough

Editor’s note: Dan Womack, senior manager of insights at Columbus, Ga.-based Aflac, writes a personal blog called Womack Insight. The opinions expressed there are his alone. This is an edited version of a post that originally appeared under the title “The question for 2012: What will we work to become?”

Last year at this time, I had a little fun with all the predictions about important marketing research tools coming in 2011 and posted my own prediction. In case you don’t want to read that post (or read it again), I’ll tell you that I suggested brains are the most important tools for the future of the marketing research and insights world.

I’m not backing down on that prediction. I still believe the greatest tools we have at our disposal are our brains. I will, however, add one twist to this for 2012: the addition of effort to the equation. That is, brains plus effort equals the most important tool for the future.

I’ve been reading some interesting work on the role mind-set plays in performance and achievement. It is an oversimplification, but much of the research indicates praising effort (with employees or students, for example) instead of or along with praising ability is key to continued success and greater achievement. Here is a good introduction that includes a quote I love: “We are what we work to become.”

So, what mind-sets stand in your way? Our profession is full of very capable, intelligent people – there are lots of good brains out there and I am going to assume you own one – but what kinds of thinking limit your effort? How does your mind-set limit your employees, your colleagues, your suppliers?

Technology, economic conditions and turbulent business environments add up to some interesting challenges for marketing research and insights pros – now and for the foreseeable future. But with all this change and turbulence come many opportunities. What will we make of them?

What will we work to become in 2012 and beyond?

This entry was posted in Marketing Best Practices, State of the Research Industry, The Business of Research. Bookmark the permalink.

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