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.