Do You Need a Data Scientist?

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Do You Need a Data Scientist?

Data Science is all the rage. Career interest has surged, programs are offered at more and more universities, and every company is talking about needing it. But do you? How do you know, and when would you hire one? These are questions that get glossed over in the race to be smarter.

April Bell Research Group

Data Science is a powerful tool  - it can unlock understanding in data, which leads to new insights no one considered. However, often the most practical insights arrive as a result of Data Mining and posing the right questions.

At the latest MSMR conference at UT Arlington, the keynote presentation “Behind the Corporate Curtain” by Simon Chadwick talked about where corporate research spending was headed in the next five years. The top two items of incremental focus, above CX and Digital, was Data Analytics and Data Mining, plus integrating multiple data streams.

 

 

First, let me break down what is meant by these three “Data” terms we’ve mentioned – Analytics, Mining, and Science:

  1. Data Analytics – working with the business to describe, predict and improve business performance through data. Broad subject that includes many tools and techniques.
  2. Data Mining – examining large data sets to generate new information or insights. A tool of analytics used to dig in, clean up, and see what nuggets there are in the data.
  3. Data Science – applying statistical methods to data to generate new information or insights. A tool of analytics used to apply a specific technique to generate a specific result.
April Bell Research Group

Remember that finding that got Target all the press a few years back, where they could predict when a girl was pregnant before her father knew? That was heralded as a slick data science discovery, but it wasn’t, it was just good ‘ole fashioned data mining. Finding that right pebble on the beach.

Target had conducted a study to understand what major life events force a break in normal shopping routines, opportunities to capture new customers. One of the more interesting ones was getting pregnant. Around the same time, they were pulling all their shopper and sales data into one spot to allow them to track purchases by customer.

April Bell Research Group

 

Then, someone asked the following: “what products does someone, who we eventually realize is pregnant, purchase in the early stages of pregnancy?” If Target could get them in the door early, they would likely stick with the store for all their later needs. After just identifying those customers and walking backwards through their shopping data to look for patterns, the answer was not baby gear, it was  unscented lotions.

A client that I was working with told me recently, “I can bring in a statistician, but I think I’d also have to hire someone to accompany them to talk to the business user. They know the mechanics, but wouldn’t be able have a meaningful segmentation discussion.” These are wise words from a leader who is trying to bring advanced capability to an organization. A more inexperienced leader would hire a small army of statisticians and hope the “build it and they will come” strategy pays off. It typically doesn’t.

Capital One is a company that jumps to mind often as a leader in data science. They employ an army of statisticians, and consider how they analyze data to be a completive advantage. There is a famous Harvard Business School case study on them that explains this, but also more importantly, describes a business process that they followed early on, which allowed them to gain share quickly before their competition could react: testing and innovation

They were relentless in conducting market testing for different offers and products, targeted to groups of people that they thought might respond.  Yes, there was data science behind the segmentation and prediction that helped shape the hypothesis, but the sheer volume of testing, measuring and validating was what set them apart. They were throwing a hundred pieces of spaghetti on the wall and seeing which 5 would stick, then aggressively going after those ideas before their competition could react. They used data science as a methodology, but their business model described in that moment of their history was to outsprint, not outsmart.

April Bell Research Group

The statistical analysis of Data Science is a powerful tool, and well deserves its place in the toolbox of any company doing advanced analytics. But advanced comes after intermediate, and when an intermediate company tries to follow a “me-too” advanced strategy, it is ignoring the value of what intermediate data mining can bring. All too often this wastes valuable time for a company, trying to be something they aren’t…yet. Data science is part of a mature progression of data capability, formed from having as a clear sense of how it can successfully integrate into a business process before the first study is conducted.

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Road Stories on how Married Couples go into Business Together Lesson #3

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Road Stories on how Married Couples go into Business Together Lesson #3

Working for my wife has its challenges. In my last blog I talked about how it’s particularly fun when you quickly discover that your new role involves knowing the subtleties of what and how your wife likes her coffee. You will be getting a lot of that for her until you figure out how to bring in some bacon.

What’s positive about being married and working together is the flexibility. Although things get crazy at times and the ride is much less predictable, there is more flexibility in scheduling time off. Gone are the days when I had to disappoint her with the response that I can’t take an opportunistic four-day weekend, because I’ve used my corporate accrual allotment of vacation year-to-date. Like a lot of corporate terms, it’s hard to know what that means exactly but it’s safe to say that you’re screwed.   

I’m learning to be more grateful for the times that we can sneak away.

So, in this post I wanted to simply make that point, and share some photos I took of our trip we took to Cancun for her “birthday week”. Thank you, Marriott reward points!

Enjoy!

Boy that water is a pretty blue.

Boy that water is a pretty blue.

And the sunsets are stunning above the sea

And the sunsets are stunning above the sea

April was pretty darn relaxed

April was pretty darn relaxed

And able to spend quality time with Autumn

And able to spend quality time with Autumn

My daughter thinks she is Moana

My daughter thinks she is Moana

And did her happy dance every day of the trip

And did her happy dance every day of the trip

April’s perspective:

When can I go back?

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How to Love Spring Cleaning

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How to Love Spring Cleaning

It’s that time of year again. There’s something primitive in the sense we get come springtime. Maybe we’re just wired this way. Spring brings with it a desire to clean house, to get rid of the stuff. The stuff that has magically survived the selection process and found what seems to be a permanent home in our garage, closet or pantry. We used it before, a long time ago, and it would really come in handy if that time ever came again. Yet it hasn’t, so it just sits and waits another day.

Here at ABRG, there are two things that describe us well: we love research, and we love learning about how to be more efficient (try running a thriving boutique research firm with four people and you’ll understand why). Recently, we had the opportunity to do both. While in an ideation workshop with a client, we conducted a practice brainstorming exercise on the topic of spring cleaning. To get people geared up and in the mode of ideation, we typically have them practice on an off-topic, non-business subject that’s ripe for multiple ideas.

The topic of spring cleaning fits well, so we asked them to come up with as many ideas they could on “what’s a creative way you could attack a spring cleaning exercise”? To set the stage we give them some guidance on how to keep coming up with ideas:

Lightbulb
  1. Land on something, and think of other solutions
  2. Wish list it – what could I do if….
  3. If you feel that you can’t relate, think of who you could ask
  4. Work individually first, then as a group
  5. When you’re stuck, move around or talk to someone

The answers were creative, practical, and fun!

A good ideation generates multiple ideas without judging them on whether they are good or bad, because sometimes the crazy ideas lead to break-throughs of innovation.

  • Live in a hotel.
  • Open a bottle of wine.
  • Make the kids do it.
  • Buy stock in cleaning companies.
  • Ask Alexa.

Some responses had themes of minimalism, which ironically asserts that happiness is achieved in life by having less, not more. The less stuff we fill our space and lives with, the more we are open to things that really matter – time with family, focused effort on our passions, appreciation of our surroundings. One blog we follow at ABRG is Becoming Minimalist. If you follow the thread of minimalism you’ll recognize these suggestions to overcome decluttering:

  1. If you haven’t used it in three months/one year, throw it out.
  2. Does it bring you joy?
  3. Don’t start reminiscing.
  4. Would it be that hard to replace?
  5. Have I worn it in 2 months?

Some ideas had efficiency in mind, how to get through the emotionally tough nature of the process in a way that works. At ABRG, we follow Asian Efficiency and have gotten a ton of great advice through their resources over the past few years. There were some good ideas on how to best go about it:

  • Go room by room.
  • Clean as you go.
  • Hire people and give them each a room.
  • Go through the out-of-site, out-of-mind places.
  • Make someone else go through your stuff and throw out anything that doesn’t look good.
  • Buy storage bins with labels – prioritize what you store, and once the bin is full throw out the rest.

This year, we’re going to make this painful process more fun and efficient by tossing in a few of these ideas. We hope you pick up a few tips that help you, too!

 

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Art of Data Simplicity

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Art of Data Simplicity

I recently made the leap from the corporate side. After 15 years of helping people understand and solve problems with their data, I decided that my profession would be more enjoyable as a consultant, where I would be able to see a wider variety of challenging work. That’s certainly been the case!

Photographer

Like a lot of people, I’m amazed at how the data world has grown. The amount of data and the tools available are impressive. I wish that I had some of these tools available to me when I started my journey, but then again, I wonder how much of that would have mattered. Like a photographer who gets better through the process of just shooting more pictures, a data person gets better by just analyzing data – whether it’s on a spreadsheet or a sophisticated analytical platform.

Which brings to another theme I’ve seen in my 15 years, and has recently gotten worse: people forget the power of simple data. It’s a syndrome that’s common and has blown up with the increase in data and tools. Many organizations rush to gather as much as they can and purchase tools to understand it - afraid they will not be competitive without it.  What’s more likely than not, though, is that they wind up with mismatched pieces or tools that don’t play well with each other.

I’m reminded of the book Data Smart, that walks the reader through the basics of data science through follow-along exercises in Excel. By doing that, you understand the data at it’s lowest level, and get what the statistical method is doing far better than if you had used a sophisticated drag-and-drop software. Great read.

Another great read on that topic is Data Science for Business, which does an excellent job of explaining the “so what” and “why does it matter” behind different statistical methodologies. What you method you choose to follow shapes whether or not you’re going to get a result that means anything.

In thinking back on it, my whole data career has been around getting people past this, creating things that are simple and actionable and move them forward quickly. It’s not just a technical exercise. Like qualitative marketing research, the approach that’s used makes all the difference. “Garbage in, garbage out” is often what got people to that place to start with, so empathizing and getting to the right question is a necessary first step.

 

 

Ladybug in Hand

 

Take customer experience for example. There are a lot of great tools out there, from Qualtrics to Medallia, and more and more companies have staff dedicated to CX. However, what most of them can’t answer is “what effect will this campaign have’, or “what is the value of converting a passive to a promoter’? They are not getting at the “so what” behind the data, because they are relying on the system-fed metrics that their platform provides.

Getting past that involves the right mix of business and technical know-how. One without the other produces limited results. 

Would you like to know more about what ABRG can do to help? Read this paper on our capabilities and case studies.

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No Nonsense Essential Oils

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No Nonsense Essential Oils

wellness

Over the years, we’ve learned the hard way how important it is to take care of ourselves, especially when we need to travel for a project and during seasons of long research days. April introduced us to using health-promoting botanicals in the form of essential oils as a more natural approach to enhancing our general wellness by:

  • Inspiring a positive emotional state
  • Enhancing physical wellness
  • Enhancing spiritual awareness
  • Purifying the air

 

 

Since then, we’ve read more about how we can better use essential oils at work. In our continuous quest to lead a healthy life and create better moods during projects with clients, we’ve listed our favorite oils/blends brands and their uses:

essential oils
  • Peppermint by doTerra – to remove headaches, revive energy, freshens breath
  • InTune by doTerra – to enhance the senses and sustain focus
  • Digestzen by doTerra – for indigestion
  • Stress Away by Young Living – to combat stress
  • Thieves by Young Living – to purify
  • Lavender by doTerra – for relaxation (and sleep)
  • Lemon by doTerra – to cleanse
  • Frankincense by doTerra – helps boost immunity
  • Melaleuca by doTerra – fights bacteria and fungus
  • Oregano by doTerra – helps treat common cold or flu

We keep a stash of these oils in the office and our travel bag together with a diffuser so we can diffuse away (e.g. Peppermint during intense research days) or apply topically (e.g. Stress Away during concept work sessions) when we most need them.

Recently, April shared with us an article that talks about becoming aware of our basic tendencies so we can make better choices to support the harmony in body and mind.  And this article which tells the story about how choosing nourishing smells will awaken the mind’s innate healing powers and experience a natural vitality and wholeness based on our dosha. What is dosha, you ask?  Dosha is a person’s “mind-body” type and there are 3 primary types: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Are you curious what your dosha is?  Well, you can take a quiz here to find out! Briefly, these are what the doshas mean:

dosha
  • Vata: Movement and Change
    • Tends to be always on the go with an energetic and creative mind
  • Pitta: Transformation and Metabolism
    • Enjoy a strong appetite and ability to digest food, information, and experiences
  • Kapha:  Structure and Fluidity
    • Solid, reliable, contented souls

Based on your mind-body type (dosha), there are certain aromas (essential oils) that can help evoke states of well-being:

  • Vata: floral, fruity, warm, sweet, and sour smells
    • Basil, Orange, Geranium, Clove, Vanilla, Patchouli
  • Pitta: cooling and sweet smells
    • Sandalwood, Mint, Rose, Jasmine, Ylang-Ylang, Lavender
  • Kapha: stimulating and spicy smells
    • Eucalyptus, Camphor, Juniper, Clove, Marjoram, Rosemary

We’re looking forward to taking the dosha quiz to understand which essential oils can support our goal of leading healthier lives!

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Are you KIDding me: Designing a Kids Sensory Project

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Are you KIDding me: Designing a Kids Sensory Project

Last summer, one of our favorite clients commissioned us for a project where they needed reactions from both kids AND parents!

The problem we’ve found in the past is that kid’s reactions are somewhat biased by their parents (and sometimes, although not always), some parents want to influence their child’s reactions.  However, we needed to have parents’ perspective to get a holistic view.

Our goal is to design research as “efficiently” as possible so we worked side by side with our client partner to create research that would allow reactions from BOTH parents & children separately in the same group.

So we designed a process that will ensure the project will be a success: 

  • The Problem: How do you design a kid’s research where you are able to get uninfluenced responses from both the kids AND their parents? Did I forget to mention that apart from talking to kids, we also wanted to get their parents’ reactions and inputs?
  • The Solution: Create an environment where both the kids and parents would feel comfortable being separated in some parts of the research. Trust me, it’s not a logistical nightmare!
    • Set-up a movie room for kids
    • Explain logistics and timing to parents
    • Coordinate amongst ourselves when kids would be in and out of the focus group discussion

As soon as we figured out the rhythm to the process after the first group, everything was smooth sailing and we were able to implement our research design:

  • Get kids’ taste preference while parents watched in the back room.
  • Get parents’ interpretation of their kids’ food ratings.
  • Understand how both the parent and kid come to an agreement and decide what to order.
  • How to effectively get learnings/reactions/inputs with just 8 focus groups.

In the end, we were able to successfully conduct the research. And the bonus was we all had fun with the kids!

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What do Teenagers and the QRCA Conference have in Common?

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What do Teenagers and the QRCA Conference have in Common?

 I recently had the opportunity to attend my first Qualitative Researcher Consultants Association (QRCA) annual conference. I don’t typically consider myself the conference type but I thought this would be a great opportunity to meet people in our industry and learn about the hottest trends. In these situations I usually find myself being overly skeptical thinking I won’t learn as much as I hope to or make connections that will be beneficial to our business. The fact that my boss (April) was also attending made me feel slightly better about sitting in a room full of strangers that I would soon need to be friends with. 

The primary purpose of me attending the conference was to assist April as she gave a presentation to her peers; however, I ended up walking away feeling like I got much more value out of the experience than I expected. April’s presentation (A Framework That Works: Design Thinking + Montessori Principles to Elevate Your Practice) went off without a hitch – which immediately made months of hard work seem like one of the most rewarding tasks we completed last year. You never know how people will react to new material and the moment you see the excitement and passion in the faces, it makes it worth every revision we made.

Design Thinking Exercise

What surprised me most about April’s presentation was how engaged the participants were. When you’ve been reviewing the content for 5+ months leading up to the conference, it’s easy to forget that this content is new for most viewers. During the presentation, she conducted a Design Thinking exercise that required participants to partner up and “build” a prototype of their idea. I was amazed at how serious some took this exercise but loved their willingness to engage with a stranger as they learned about the Design Thinking process. I think it made the awkward “eh, I have to work with someone I don’t know” situation fun and entertaining for most.  

Teen Press

Another highlight of the conference was the Keynote Presentation – Teen Press: A Wild and Precious Perspective – given by John Boettner & Friends. This was an unforgettable experience that brought a unique perspective to the work we do and the world we live in. John, the Chief Enchantment Officer of Teen Press, discussed how he turned a middle school communications class into a group of teenagers interviewing some of the hottest celebrities on red carpets. Not only did they engage with celebrities (Jennifer Lawrence, Oprah, Clint Eastwood to name a few) but they also interviewed some of the most interesting living Americans (for example, the commander of the Osama Bin Laden mission, a woman who held President Obama’s hand across the bridge in Selma, and a young Rwandan who lost his hands to genocide). 

Teen Press teaches kids how to listen to peoples’ stories and ask honest questions – although they’re sometimes difficult to ask and answer. By pushing the kids to conduct pre-interview research, they entered their interviews with a sense of confidence that many times shocked the respondent and made them more likely to engage. This program inspires kids to think: “if I can talk to the CEO of Patagonia, I can do anything”. John’s presentation was such a welcomed breath of fresh air in the world we’re currently living in. These kids don’t care who voted red or blue, they just want to know about people and what makes them different. The kids weren’t there to judge the interviewee, and the interviewee wasn’t there to judge the kids. They were both there to learn. These kids are so admirable for their dedication and openness to learning about others. Something I strive to do myself – in and out of research. Who knew you could learn so much from kids?

Here is a short clip on Teen Press, but if you have some extra time I highly recommend watching the full Teen Press video (~30 minutes) to get the full experience of how great these kids and this program is. 

So while I still don’t consider myself the conference type, I’m so glad I attended. I walked away with a perspective I wasn’t expecting – if you go into these “uncomfortable” situations with an open mind, you are much more likely to learn more than you initially thought and meet some really interesting people. I guess sitting with strangers isn’t so bad after all. 

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Road Stories on how Married Couples go into Business Together Lesson #2

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Road Stories on how Married Couples go into Business Together Lesson #2

When I was in my corporate job, April and I had always joked about how dangerous working together would be. We enjoyed talking about the similarities between our jobs, particularly in how we were both helping people understand what makes their customers and business tick, but also felt good about being able to go back to our own worlds the next day. Partners, but masters of our own spheres.

Then working together finally started to make too much sense to ignore. I had already made the transition out of a corporate role and to the consultant side, and why have two competing consulting careers when you can join forces and make it even greater?

I read the blogs out there and listened to other couples that worked together. It was good to know I was not alone – here are a couple of articles that talk about this condition, which could be listed in the DSM-5.

I’m going with this advice, though:  “Get used to the fact that whoever is joining the other person’s company is initially lower on the totem pole. However, once you get to the other side it’s better than what you were doing before and you would never go back. Once you find your stride and each has their own role and authority, it’s great!”

What they don’t tell you as much is what it’s like for a man to go to work for his wife. I now believe this is God’s sense of humor as payback to men for not having to bear children.  

I responded to a question from my wife-boss the other night. Right after I joined the company, her logistics expert was scheduled to go on a three-week absence to the Philippines. So guess who needed to learn her role pronto, to patch us through an upcoming project, which fell during that timeframe. After another long day of absorbing a massive amount of details and then getting bombarded with ten more items on my to-do list (that I really don’t know when will get done, but they are captured, by golly), I was less than passionate and a bit numb.

She asked, “are you feeling resentful about something?” I said, “no, I just feel a little emasculated, is all.”

All those ideas of grandeur about my involvement in the business had been reduced to a reality of me being her administrative support. Can I get you some coffee? Yes, all your research materials will be printed out and put in piles and be ready for you. Yes, I will ensure that there is a bag of markers and post-its with at least four different colors of each in your car tomorrow morning. These are all important tasks, don’t get me wrong. April’s clients are spoiled by the level of detail that she brings to projects. It’s just that they weren’t what I had in mind when I signed on…

There are great things in store for us, and I know it will evolve into separate management roles to do these new and exciting things. The transition period, though, is a bitch.

April’s perspective: Trust me - there’s nothing I want more than for Lloyd to start leading the business! But… we have competing priorities: he has to learn how we do the business, AND yes, we have to strategically craft the right role for him, but most importantly, we have stuff to get done! What better way to learn than by doing? Get on it, stop complaining, we have a business to run!

Lesson #2: Bring an apron, guys, if you want to join your wife’s business. Hide your man card in a safe spot in the garage.

 

 

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Road Stories on how Married People go into Business Together

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Road Stories on how Married People go into Business Together

After telling some of our close friends over the holidays about our plan for Lloyd to join the business, and seeing their wide-eyed worried expressions, we decided we should probably talk about how we might work together…and stay married! 

Success Is

April’s perspective: I approached our “vision of how we will work together” in the same way I plan any other work project. Thinking about: “What do we want to accomplish?”  “What are the tools we could use to help the discussion flow?”  “What does success look like?”  “What is the agenda?”

We packed ourselves up and headed to a location away from home with all of our materials – flip charts, post-its, magazines and markers.  Our objective was to create a shared vision for the company and what our roles would be. 

Over the years, I’ve discovered several sources to help with vision/strategy planning; all of them are great in different ways. The first exercise was to review each and come back together to align on the best approach. Some of the sources we had available were:

  1. 90 Day Year by Todd Herman

  2. Lara Casey’s Powersheets

  3. Self-Authoring  

  4. Marie Forleo

  5. Lululemon’s Vision Worksheet

I was excited and optimistic when we got back together. Books and materials were all over the table, and I could tell this was going to be a good conversation. Lloyd started first.  He said “so what I’ve discovered is that our word for the year should be ‘intentionality’ and I’ve identified two main areas that we need to focus on to be more productive.” All the air went out of my sails, and I sat there for several long seconds trying to grasp at how I would respond, because he clearly did not stick to the plan of aligning on the best approach but instead, jumped to a conclusion!

intentionality

We had to stray from the agenda for about 10 minutes to work through this style difference, but we made it to the other side.

After getting past my initial reaction, I knew what he said was exactly what was needed for the business - he’s very proficient at coming to solid conclusions quickly, and doesn’t feel the need to review every angle before deciding. This is exactly the skill we need … although it wasn’t what I expected from an exploratory vision exercise.

Lloyd’s perspective: It didn't take long to see that there were similar patterns in these different methodologies, so let’s just cut to the chase here and identify the big levers that are going to move the needle for us most. Boom, done!

Married Couple working together lesson #1: we need to be open-minded toward the other person’s way of thinking. We have different strengths, and our approaches are not the same but can be complimentary when we have patience.

Stay Tuned….more lessons to come…

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4 Montessori Principles to Help Guide Client Work

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4 Montessori Principles to Help Guide Client Work

Autumn

Until a couple of years ago, I knew very little about Montessori schools – something about kids having freedom of choice in the work they do.  But I was a bit skeptical about whether that would be a good environment for my child. I felt if given too much “free reign”, my daughter would be the type to run with it.  (I think she gets that from her Dad! :) But an event in her first preschool left me feeling different.  I walked in one day to pick her up, and the teacher pulled me into the classroom.  With every 4-year old eye on me (including my daughter’s), the teacher pointed up to a wall of kid’s work – all of the letter “u’s”.  My daughter’s work was hanging up – completely blank.  Then, the teacher proceeded to tell me about how my daughter wouldn’t listen in class, showing me the blank piece of paper she had posted up for everyone to see.  My face reddened, and so did my daughter’s.  When we left the class, I began questioning her to understand what was going on, and she broke into tears and said “mommy, I don’t know how to draw a ‘U’ – I don’t know how to do it right.”  And that experience is what led me to rethink putting her in a Montessori classroom - how that environment would be interesting to learn more about…

Fast forward 2+ years, and I am thrilled that we found White Rock Montessori. Not only has our daughter thrived in this environment but we have as well, as parents.  

After seeing the impact Montessori had on her love of learning, I was curious to understand more about “why” this was effective for her, as well as “how” the classroom works.  What I discovered was that some Montessori principles were applicable to the work we conduct with our clients

When conducting marketing research, my teams are very involved in “learning” – learning what people think about products, how consumers react to new ideas, etc.  And my job is not only to learn new insights through my interviews but also keep my clients engaged in the learning.

Here are the Montessori principles that directly link to the work I do -

1.     Pull, Don’t Push - Montessori teachers refer to this as “The Art of Drawing Out.” Instead of pushing information in, they use acknowledgement and questioning to get children to think about what they are doing.  This helps children learn to be accountable for their learning.  Similarly, when in research, questioning the listening team to help “draw out” learnings creates ownership in the learning process. 

Montessori Principles

2. Concrete Before Abstract - The Montessori belief is that students learn best from something they already know, so teachers use physical objects to begin each lesson, and present new concepts through storytelling. This builds connection with students’ emotions and gives them greater interest in the concept. In my practice, especially when conducting ideation sessions, I find this principle helpful to ignite creativity with clients. When brainstorming, it is actually easier to create new ideas by starting with “constrained” stimulus because participants start with something they can visualize, making it easier to alter/change/adapt to new ideas. Learn more about this topic from Chip & Dan Heath’s Myth of the Garage eBook (see “Get Back in the Box” page 31). This helps spark their imagination and allows them to think about “abstract” concepts.

3.     Structure That’s Flexible - The beauty of this principle is that children believe they have freedom of choice but their choices are orchestrated around what the teacher plans for them to learn.  Providing a flexible structure for learning with client teams is just as important because clients appreciate getting to make choices – and it allows them to “own” the process.

4.     Observe Before Acting - Teachers in a Montessori classroom don’t take on the traditional role – you won’t see them in front of the room, chalk in hand, writing out a math problem step-by-step. They see themselves as guides, not teachers. They ask questions, then sit back and let students take their own path to figure out a solution - make their own decisions.  As a facilitator of client’s learning, my role of guide is similar. Sometimes this means facilitating a highly involved team debating a controversial learning.  Other times, creating activities to encourage a distracted team to actively work together is necessary.

Check out this video to see all 4 of these principles in action in a Montessori classroom environment. 

 

I will be speaking more on this subject, specifically how I use these principles alongside a Design Thinking at the 2017 QRCA Annual conference in LA on January 19. Click here for the schedule conference and other presentations. 

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