Here’s a common scenario: your superior tasks you with finding the right way to capture the hearts and minds of your target audience to succeed in whatever endeavor you are tasked with. You and your team go to work, gathering data and drawing conclusions based on research that inspire a rush of activity and creative work with produce the perfect result. Sometimes this works, but often the expectations far exceed the results. What causes the breakdown between getting back solid data and producing something that reaches the intended goal?
Mind Genomics: A New Science for a Data Driven World
Whether you are a senior marketer for a large corporation, a professor at a university or administrator at a hospital understanding how to transform information into actionable steps that will lead to your intended results across a population presents an unsolved challenge. Often we “wing it” assuming that “you win some and lose some” and that you can never really know what people are thinking so success will be serendipitous at best.
Mind Genomics disagrees. You can know what people are thinking about your proposed endeavors before you ever commit to an approach by knowing what is important to the people you are trying to influence. Mind Genomics identifies what aspects of a general topic are important to your audience, how different people in your audience will respond to different aspects of that topic and how to pinpoint the viewpoints of different audience segments to each aspects of the topic. In short, Mind Genomics plays a matching game with your potential audience and various ways you can present your products and ideas resulting in a systematic approach to influencing others, backed by real data.
Think of Mind Genomics Like a Yelp for the Way People Think
Imagine putting a number on the “value of ideas”, numbers which came from people and represented a true value, perhaps in dollars or even interest level, which could then be archived and turned over to another team or generation to work with. Mind Genomics is like a Yelp of the mind – ratings for the way people think and how different ideas resonate with them in ways they may not even be aware. In this way, we can play with ideas, see patterns imposed by the mind and create a new, inductive, applied science of the mind, measuring the world using the mind of man as our yardstick.
Our working idea for Mind Genomics centered around the possibility of putting this number or rating to the way people think about different topics based on experimentation rather than simply what they thought about subject. During the preceding decades, psychometricians and consumer researchers had developed all manner of tests to rate everything from products to political ideas, but disregarded many responses as irrelevant that didn’t fit their statistical model.
Mind Genomics uses the statistical framework of experimental design, focusing on the mixtures of ideas, so-called conjoint measurement, to understand the mind through responses to cognitively-relevant ideas. In other words, understand people’s thought processes by testing meaningful, relevant ideas in mixtures, rather than starting with an assumption and attempting to validate it through certain responses.
The objectives of Mind Genomics are:
- To understand reality from the ‘ground up’, topic by topic, from the point of view of the target persons’ actual experience.
- To quantify what is important for each person within an audience segment so that general rules about each topic as it relates to their everyday life may emerge from empirical study.
- To generate a science around each topic, founded in human experience and perception that can be repurposed across campaigns, products and businesses.
Research has traditionally been limited the need to shoehorn subjects into relevant segments that fit the narrow confines of your messages or assumptions. Mind Genomics takes the old template and turns it up-side-down by looking at what people actually do within a potential group, and connecting relevant aspects of that to your offering. Rather than drawing conclusions based on assumptions and validated by narrow data inquiry, Mind Genomics presents the universe of possibility, filtered down to what’s really important based on objective data-driven inquiry.
Objective and Actionable Data to Reach Your Objectives
This simple research strategy, really a method, allows you to hit all manner of target before you, like a miniature Roman phalanx. Mind Genomics has allowed us to explore the human reaction to topics as varied as foods, lifestyles, movies, education, government, aesthetics, the law, the medical experience, horticulture, emotions, economics, and so forth. Feel free to contact me to discuss any of the ideas in this post, and in the next post, we will talk a little about the tools of Mind Genomics and what some of our results look like.