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Modcloth: Bringing Research to the Entire Organization

Bespoke Research Workshop

The Challenge

Our client had a challenge that most people would envy: The internal research team was doing great work, which had proven its value time and time again, and excited people across the organization. In a bold move, the team also wanted to support growing demand for research by extending the whole organizations’ capabilities rather than staunch and control the demand (tempting, when you consider how scary it might be to have your team’s core competency spread out across everyone and anyone who’s interested). The challenge, then: How could the company level-up research skills for all who were interested, from Developers to Product Managers, from those that had conducted research to those that had never even seen it before? As well as, how could the research team also build their own confidence that the research being done was dependable and contributing to a body of knowledge that they could leverage across products?

Our Answer

It was clear that we couldn’t give a standard “Research 101” workshop, nor would a deep dive of less-common advanced research methodologies make sense. Matching to our core studio values, we remained committed to meeting our clients’ goals no matter the situation, and worked with them to put together a workshop that:

  • focused on two common types of research
  • put the research methods in context of a broader picture to extend the understanding and interest of more experienced participants
  • provided a “short list” of must-dos that were easy to remember but included common mistakes that everyone could work on improving
  • gave everyone a chance to practice
  • leveraged the skills of people with more experience
  • provided experienced participants with feedback so they could also find area to improve
  • extended the credibility of the internal research team
  • addressed particular organizational quirks that were helped by having an outside practitioner weigh in on

(We have more details in what exactly we covered in our blog post.)

The Outcome

We like to get feedback wherever we can, and were thrilled to hear from 100% of participants in a survey where what they learned would change the way they do their job, at least a little. More importantly, Modcloth tells us that they’ve seen a 30-50% increase of the number of research sessions being conducted, that product and design teams are getting the information and insights they need faster, and that the internal research team has been freed up to concentrate on the more complex and deeper-dive research. They tell us that, “It has improved the quality of research, and we think it also increased interest in research, and earned the research team additional respect. Overall, it was definitely a win for us.” Ultimately they’re learning more, applying it more quickly, and making their customers happier as a result. And we couldn’t be happier to have had the opportunity to help!

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