Putting creativity back into creative development research

Chris Stride

Creative excellence should flow from creative development research. The creatives should be key clients of such research and should welcome the insight that it can provide. Rarely does this happen.

This is because consumer research is most often used as an evaluative tool rather than a developmental one. Its role increasingly is as a dispassionate tool to weigh up the benefits and risks of adopting a particular course of action. Good ideas can fall by the wayside during this process because, rather than being nurtured and developed in the light of consumer feedback, they can become strangled due to their raw, immature presentation. As Henry Ford famously commented, 'If I had asked consumers what they wanted, they would have said they wanted a faster horse.'

There is, of course, a basic truth in Ford's observation. Critics of market research also make a fair point in that too many researchers try to suggest that what the public says is what government and commerce should actually do.