The Human Element in a Tech Forward World

7/6/2023   By: Cara Embree

Cara Embree, one of our Senior Research Managers, recently attended Greenbook’s Insights Innovation Exchange (IIEX) North American conference in sunny Austin, TX. Below, in her own words, she summarizes some of the learnings she brought home from the lone-star state.

Making Research More Human-Centric

With AI as an ever-trending topic, it is important to keep in mind that the whole purpose of market research is to connect with human beings – your customers, members, employees and prospects. Here are a few ways to bring human-centricity to the forefront of your research:

  • Creating space for empathy. Research participants are humans – and humans are complicated. By putting ourselves in the shoes of others, we can better understand who they are (and therefore their purchase and usage habits). Allow for open ended spaces in the questions we ask.
  • Thinking in communities. Most people are a part of a community that connects them to others with similar interests – think of all the Facebook groups you’ve seen over the years (e.g., Mommy clothing swaps, fans of that popular tv show, etc.). Instead of defining your target audience by their demographics or shopping habits, try thinking about the communities they may belong to.
  • Remembering that decision making is complicated. Decision making can be broadly broken down into three levels: the neuroscience level (automatic reactions), the cognition level (the point of thinking), and the behavioural science level (the action). What do you want to elicit at each stage of decision making – those are the questions we want to ask!

AI’s Role in Research

I said AI was trending, didn’t I? As expected, AI was a large part of the conference. However, it went beyond the fads and current fixations to talk about the bigger picture – what are the long-term implications for the insights world? Some of the ways experts are foreseeing the use of AI in research includes;

  • Generating drafts. AI can deliver a fairly solid first draft of a research instrument, be that a screener, discussion guide, or questionnaire. However, a human mind is needed to apply the ever-important context of business and project objectives. Also, AI doesn’t particularly care about the respondent experience, which we all know is critical for engagement and quality!
  • Creating artificial survey responses. Generative AI can be used to replicate human responses to a set of questions. While this can be done quickly and for much less investment, it is really only a proxy for how humans may respond. Good in a bind, but less than ideal.
  • Getting more out of your open-ends. Conversational AI can be used to encourage deeper responses. With an interface akin to a chat-bot, respondents can be probed and asked follow-ups to add more detail to their written responses. We utilize some form of this in our surveys already, ask us how!

The Importance of Democratizing Insights

Delivering solid, actionable insights is always the goal, but what good is it if it can’t be used? Making market research accessible for everybody should be an unwritten objective for every project. Some key elements to help with data democratization include:

  • Using non-researcher lingo. Not only do reports and executive summaries need to be written with those less familiar with research in mind, you should also consider the internal language being used to talk about the research. We, at Lux, pride ourselves in communicating in the language of your business and translating that into the language of your respondents.
  • Having a single location for all things insights. By keeping insights in one, central location, everybody can access them as they need. For example, this could be in a shared online folder or on a secure company server.
  • Setting expectations for insights. To avoid the old adage, “you can lead a horse to water, but can’t make it drink,” it is important for organizations to set clear expectations regarding the familiarity and usage of insights. Providing accessibility may not be enough for full-organization adoption. Create a culture of revisiting insights and setting up workshopping sessions to strategize on tactics that are rooted in research. We love workshopping sessions, ask us about our process!

If you’re interested in learning more about the above, please reach out to Cara at, or anyone else on the team.