Fostering the evolution of insight generation

Market research at Microsoft is a gear in the helm of one of the largest, most influential ships on the planet. The expanse of sea around us is ever-changing - new markets emerge, competitors arrive and disperse and perceptions rise and fall in reaction to a changing landscape. In order to influence the most important business decisions at Microsoft, market research at Microsoft became a tightly organised group of researchers constantly challenged to work at speed, and with deep acumen across a complex matrix of customer types, evolving business models and competitive environments. We had a way of working and it was very effective; then the weather changed.

Two years ago, two weather systems collided and made it clear we had to evolve not only how we generated insights, but fundamentally how the team approached business questions. We needed new tools, new data types and we needed the team to think differently. This paper explores how Microsoft motivated and enabled our team to work differently than ever before.