Ethnographic shadowing

We’ve always been puzzled by the idea that commissioned research should be conducted behind a veil of secrecy. The fact that we’re hired to provide specialist services is no justification for vanishing into a ‘black box’ during fieldwork – only to re-connect with clients at the debrief.

What we do isn’t a magic trick; it’s a process. And there’s no reason why our clients can’t be part of it throughout.

This includes inviting them into the field with us – not just to view discussion groups, but to shadow our researchers during place or person-based ethnographic research. It allows clients to see for themselves the richness that lies behind our insights – creating a more intimate bond, and giving them experiences they’ll want to share with colleagues.

Of course, we know not all our clients have the time, need or inclination to shadow our team – hence the range of our different Connect products, as well as our willingness to work autonomously when required.

But we think it’s no surprise that many of our most influential projects have been those in which clients have accompanied our researchers into the field. Particularly on projects designed to challenge assumptions, nurture new thinking and change organisational culture, it’s an invitation which we’d always encourage our clients to accept.