Rather than show up at a respondent’s home with an Excel spreadsheet and fingers crossed the participant is good, mindswarms has been used to recruit in advance for ethnographies. Not only does it help identify cream-of-the-crop candidates, but it also informs the research process early on, and can be used to sharpen discussion guides.
What we have often done is a wave of mindswarms in advance doing any kind of field work (focus groups, IDIs, in-homes). A lot of clients are anxious to get projects moving quickly, and instead of waiting two weeks to begin traditional qual research, mindswarms can gather insight within days from a very broad geography to begin to inform the project.
mindswarms has been used as a way to bounce ideas off consumers after the traditional qualitative field work has been completed. So, for example, on a project with product designers, sketches of ideas inspired on the road were bounced off mindswarms respondents after the initial wave of research had been completed to help validate a direction.
In most countries, the tendency is to conduct traditional qualitative research in major markets because that’s where the lion’s share of volume comes from. But mindswarms has been used a remarkably quick way to access consumers in every level of market to help balance out a more urban skew to the recruitment. So, for example, in the US, rather than hit the usual NY/LA/Chicago markets, sprinkling in a nationally representative wave of mindswarms helps provide a more representative picture of consumers nationally.
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