Ideas for Business

The Use of Creative Idea Generation Techniques in Business to Business Research

Mary Bard
NOP World, United Kingdom


It is sometimes suggested that business to business interviews should be conducted in a 'professional' or 'serious' way, and that the kind of creative or projective exercises commonly used with consumers will not work with a business audience: indeed, that such an audience might even refuse to participate in such exercises. This paper will demonstrate that this is not necessarily the case: rather, that the use of particular exercises can involve and interest a business audience just as much as a consumer audience, and can lead to richer and deeper insights for the client.


BT, the UK's major telecommunications company, employs around 100,000 people, and conducts regular research with its employees. In the autumn of 2003, NOP World was commissioned to conduct qualitative research prior to a major quantitative survey of all employees. The objectives of the qualitative research were twofold: