Simon Cowell: "I Can't Bear Research"

No doubt about it, Simon Cowell has been successful. “American Idol,” “Pop Idol” and “The X Factor” have been phenomenal. Yet, ContactMusic.com quotes the madman of Idol as saying, “I can’t bear research. Research just kills creativity because people lie in research or they say things they think the person wants to hear, or they overthink it.”

Unfortunately, Simon misplaced the blame for poor research.  He blames the consumer for poor research.  This is simply wrong.  The fault for research that kills creativity and/or suppresses divergent thinking lies squarely at the feet of the researcher. 

As researchers, we have the responsibility to delve into the minds of the consumer and help them to overcome their desire to lie or say things they think the person wants to hear. A good researcher recognizes these deathtraps and is constantly on guard to prevent such behavior.

Too often, researchers themselves fall prey to groupthink or to designing research to verify pre-conceived notions or to pure risk reduction. Allowing these forces to dominate our research process leads to jaded research users who recognize the research limitation, even if they don’t recognize the cause. There are too many Simon Cowells in the world who disparage research because of the researchers, not because of the promise of the research art itself.

What do you think? Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

7 Comments
  1. I agree Jim – a poorly designed study will yield poor results every time. Design, execution and analysis is the sole responsibility of the researcher.

  2. I wholeheartedly disagree with Mr. Cowell, I have just completed a research study and my comments were straight from the heart, whether it is something the study did not want to hear. My answers to the questions were 60 years of experiences and first hand knowledge.

    Thank you.

  3. I would go a step further. The responsibility for the type of research Mr. Cowell complains about is the responsibility of the client. All too often the client tries to rig research to deliver the results they seek. They consciously select resources (i.e., researchers) that will deliver the expected and desired answer. Everybody who agrees please raise your hand.

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