Agile Dev Methods

Crowd DNA's insight and innovation director, Chris Haydon, revisits 78 high energy hours in Hamburg, in which we explored the strengths of an immersive, sprint-based approach to creative testing...

The team here are just back from running an intensive week in Germany. We were looking to deepen our understanding of the German consumer’s use of social media – to develop a sensible ‘jumping off’ point for creative development.

We approached the project with a strong sense of what it means to be German in 2015. We planned for influence factors ranging from the structure of formal education (a system which encourages each argument to be viewed from both sides), through the closeness with which the media links US ‘spying’ on Chancellor Merkel with US social media to the broad disregard people have for anything trivial or ‘me me me’.

We went armed with lots of ideas, questions and stimulus. Much more importantly we went as a multi-discipline team – researchers, client brand owners, designers, planners, copywriters from four counties – each with their own objectives but with a common plan, to learn ⇒ test ⇒ refine ⇒ learn … as much as we could over three-and-a-half days.

As researchers we want to feel we’re enabling people (participants/consumers) to understand and reflect their true selves; to stick as close to what they ‘mean’ as they can. Creatively, the team want to understand why people respond to stimulus the way they do. Execution-level responses can be useful but what they really want are clear creative guidelines (which allow them to do what they’re good at – crafting a compelling narrative). From a client’s perspective, it’s the need to see (and believe) all of this within the bigger business/product/market picture that’s key.

We each committed the week to this project. We aimed to only think about the questions at hand and the people/country/culture/context we were immersed in. We ate, drank and lived it through eight consumer workshops glued together with instant debriefs and live stimulus development. A broad schedule with a commitment to flex anything that we thought would push us forward.

It sounds like a big commitment of time but when you see the value that this level of immersion brings to ideas and understanding – and getting from a standing start to a set of creative guidelines, fully agreed on by all parties, in 78 hours – it’s pretty amazing.