Advice from a Researcher on How to Make Research Your Business’s Superpower
By: Kirsten Lee Hill, PHD.
When I talk to people about research, the first thing I notice is that almost everyone is doing research–they just don’t call it that.
Put simply, research is creating an intentional plan to answer a question you have, and then putting it into action. As a business owner, I’m willing to bet that you have questions you would like answered. Questions like:
How are people experiencing my products/services?
Does my product/service work?
How can I improve my product/service?
On a daily basis as you continue to run your business and make decisions about growing or pivoting, you are using information to answer these types of questions. Every time you ask a customer for feedback, send out a poll, or look at records to make decisions about products or services–that’s research!
The quality of the information you get is only as good as the quality of the questions you ask. The key to good research is asking good questions, and crafting good questions is both an art and a science.
To create a good question, you have to get specific about what it is you want to know.
Have you ever asked a client or customer if they are “satisfied?” Or, has anyone ever asked you if you are “satisfied” with their product or service?
Personally, it is my least favorite question, and one that I never ask.
Here’s the thing–I never ask if someone is satisfied because I don’t care. Not asking is strategic. To me, that question is a waste of space (and my clients’ goodwill), and I want to use space and goodwill on important questions that matter to me. Big, vague words like “satisfaction” are not helpful in evaluating my work or making decisions.
What does it even mean to be satisfied?
In some sense it means that I generally did a good job or a bad job. But, I don’t make decisions based on ambiguous terms. I want specific insights to drive my business.
Specific insights come from specific questions.
So, instead of asking if someone is “satisfied” for if they “liked” your product/service, choose an area(s) of feedback that would provide meaningful information. Perhaps you want to know if your product was useful, made something easier, or fun. If you’re selling a new shirt and people say they hate it, that’s not helpful. Instead, ask specific questions about the color, fit, and fabric so that you can take action on the feedback.
Questions are powerful tools that can provide you with information to make important decisions. Don’t waste them.
“Entering ACJ Infinito means exploring a place of wonders, where each element, space, and color are hand-stitched around the needs and requirements of the client, transforming them into emotion and inspiration”.
ACJ319neo Infinito is an ultra-luxurious jet born from the shared passion of Airbus Corporate Jets (ACJ) and Pagani Automobili, which decided, in 2016, to combine their artisanal skills and pioneering vision in order to create something absolutely unique.
The Infinito cabin represents the quintessence of the Pagani philosophy in a state-of-the-art aircraft: a distinctive style, seamlessly combined with unrivalled material technology. Infinite, just like man’s gaze towards the horizon and beyond.
After tireless work and profound study of the physical and sensorial aspects of air travel, the two companies now present new values and ideas of travel aboard an aircraft, which, from a mere means of transport thus becomes a place of emotion and inspiration, without sacrificing important engineering achievements. ACJ Infinito is, in fact, a made-to-measure work of art entirely designed around the sensations and the emotions of the client.
All Airbus corporate jets come from the most modern family of aircraft on the market and offer the highest world standards of care in corporate aviation. ACJ customers are always part of a dedicated and exclusive community, they are provided with a dedicated service wherever they choose to fly in the world. They purchase much more than a product: they invest in their future, for a unique flying experience.
For the first time, two different worlds, two centres of excellences come together to give birth to a unique project: an aircraft that mirrors Leonardo Da Vinci’s principle of Art and Science: the harmony of beauty and engineering, both in the outcome and in the way of working. Pagani has always been a creator of tailored clothes and high-performance hypercars, whose technical content also exudes passion, technology and research into unique designs. Every object is unique, every creation is an art object that inspires and thrills with its lines and forms. The ideal of beauty is taken to a whole new level with the Infinito cabin, conveying the same emotions as a work of art, nurturing the mind and the senses, as well as relaxing the body during travel.
Detail, spaces, colors. “Each sensation conveyed by Infinito has to be the same as that conveyed by a work of art. These are the emotions we live for and we simply can’t live without,”tells Horacio Pagani, Chief Designer and Founder of Pagani Automobili, about the project, its main inspiration and the collaboration with ACJ.
“We were emotionally involved from the beginning. The project seemed challenging, to say the least.” The Modenese Atelier of hypercars has deployed its extensive experience in composite material and provided Class A tailored carbon fiber components, despite the high investments and production costs. “We have the technology, knowledge and skill for this project,” emphasises Horacio Pagani on the challenges that emerged in the process, “and we do want to invest in this direction.” Pagani’s expertise and advanced composite materials are used in the interiors of an airplane for the very first time, including carbon fiber and carbo-titanium, saving about a tonne compared with other similar projects, thus improving both range and take-off performance.
The interiors are designed around the client’s flight experience, with thorough attention to physical sensations and feelings. “We started with the client, around him we created a relaxing and comfortable environment, not only for the shapes and the design, but also for the visual sensation, for which we followed some chromotherapy principles. Even the smallest detail was given the maximum attention, so as to dynamically assist the client’s sensations across different time zones.” Infinito’s sky ceiling, entirely lined with digital displays, offers a play of light and images, for example, by projecting a sunset or a starry sky, minimising the physical and mental effects of jet lag.
“The feel of the materials, the warmth of the leather or the wood, the intelligence and sinuosity of the spaces, each detail has to convey emotions of peace and safety, like when we’re home or in a familiar and inspiring place.” continues Horacio Pagani on the choice of materials and the habitability of the aircraft. “Our idea is of a single, great space which fosters both movement and sensorial perceptions.” The absence of visual barriers, and the sense of infinite vision that surrounds the client, are the objectives of this tailored creation, simple but essential elements to facilitate a journey of several hours. The compartments inside are, in fact, provided with opacifying glass, when privacy is wished, supported by a carbon fiber framework, hand-made by the Modenese artisans, a homage to the first air inventions of the past centuries, and at the same time a highly robust solution.
ACJ319neo’s interior was entirely designed not only for artistic appeal, but also to be functional: after thorough research on internal spaces and volumes, ACJ Infinito’s compartments provide larger capacity while being less intrusive than other interior designs.
The feeling of hospitality in this ultra-luxurious jet continues with the choice of the single spaces within the aircraft. “At the entrance, a cafe. A genuine and heartfelt way to welcome your client is, of course, by providing refreshment!”. The feeling of familiarity, of home, that you can breathe within Infinito sometimes makes us forget about being on an airplane. This is the uniqueness that ACJ and Pagani Automobili have been striving for in the making of this flying artwork. Home is a safe and peaceful place, as well as a place of inspiration and emotions. Infinito aims to project the client into the same atmosphere of absolute relaxation, to stimulate his imagination and inspiration, reshaping the time of the journey into a time of ideas, visions and answers.
Infinito comes to life for art lovers, for those who love beauty and genius, for those who have an extremely refined idea of air travel, a dream to share with somebody. It’s not just a mere exercise in style, it’s a handmade piece of art, created to trigger sincere and genuine emotions in the client’s heart.
“To us, individual tailoring is what boosts and enriches our imagination – and that of our clients. It is pure passion for our work, and for customer care.”
The new era of corporate jets finds Pagani Automobili and ACJ collaborating side by side to create this new, absolutely made-to-measure masterpiece, bringing their infinite artisanal experience to a fast-growing and extremely fascinating market.
Sustainability, innovation and quality of service were the key elements for the Pirelli Supplier Awards 2018, the annual occasion when the Company awards 9 suppliers from its global supply chain of over 10,000. The Supplier Awards reward those suppliers who shine for their ability to make the Pirelli supply chain even more sustainable and enhance qualitative excellence, making Pirelli’s products moreHigh Value, in line with the Group’s strategy.
Today the awards for the suppliers who distinguished themselves over the last year were presented by Chief Purchasing Officer, Matteo Battaini and the Chief Sustainability and Risk Governance Officer, Filippo Bettini, at a ceremony at Pirelli’s headquarters in Milan. The awards were given to nine suppliers in the areas of raw materials, services and machinery.
In the 2018 edition, the most frequently seen factors include innovation, quality of service and sustainability, which had its own specific award. Pirelli’s supply chain has been constructed to guarantee product innovation, process digitalization and long term competitiveness, where respect for the environment and attention to the value of people are considered a primary levers of growth.
Pirelli’s efforts towards a sustainable purchasing strategy were recognized by the confirmation that Pirelli’s supply system was in compliance with the UNI ISO 20400 rule, conferred in February 2018 by SGS Italia S.p.A. –one of the leading companies globally for inspection, verification, analysis and certification services. Pirelli is thus the first company in the automotive industry to have received this confirmation of compliance. The ISO 20400 constitutes the most important international guideline in the matter of supply chain sustainable governance, where the economic, social and environmental responsibility are integrated into the Company’s strategies, organization and purchasing processes.
The winners of the Pirelli Supplier Awards 2018 include:
Glanzstoff Sicrem Spa(Italy), suppliers of textile reinforcements – awarded for the criteria of “Quality” and “Speed”, plus the prestigious Sustainability prize, which the company deserved because it produces rayon using only cellulose from plantations certified for sustainable agro-forestry management;
JSR Corporation(Japan), a supplier of synthetic rubber awarded for the criteria of “Innovation” and “Service Level”;
Thai Eastern Innovation Co., Ltd(Thailandia),PT.Kirana Megatara Tbk(Indonesia) and PT.Prasidha Aneka Niaga Tbk (Indonesia); all suppliers of natural rubber awarded for “Quality” and “Service Level”;
VMI Holland(Holland), a supplier of tire assemblers and machines for semi-processed components for the criteria of “Quality” and “Global Presence”;
MDM(Italy), an integrated marketing and communication agency awarded for the criteria of “Innovation” and “Speed”;
APPIAN(USA),a supplier of the Business Process Management platform and related consultancy services awarded for the criteria of “Innovation” and “Speed”;
Warehouse Service, Inc.(USA), a logistics services supplier awarded for the criteria of “Speed” and “Innovation”.
Matteo Battaini, Chief Purchasing Officer,commented: “Pirelli has built its business model, focused on High Value, on product innovation and process digitalization. To pursue this strategy it is not only necessary to choose suppliers that are leading companies, but also to build with each of them a partner relationship. It is essential that they share values such as innovation, quality, customer care, product and process sustainability and attention to brand value. And, in an ever more dynamic market context, goals must also be shared, such as cost rationalization, speed of adapting to new technology and implementation of best practices in sustainable management. Today Pirelli’s procurement involves the management of around 10,000 suppliers for a total expenditure of 3.2 billion euro in 2017, mainly on raw materials (46%), services (36%), machinery (13%) and consumption materials (3%).”
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