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MRX Lab Podcast

Exploring new & novel conversations from the fringes of the insights industry.

Episode #7 - Evaluating Art & Advertising as Reporting Techniques

In this episode of the MRX Lab podcast from FlexMR, we investigate the research to action divide and look to whether creative reporting techniques can provide a path to closing it. We hone in on advertising and art as two key fields from which to draw inspiration and examine the techniques used to motivate audiences and inspire action.

The podcast opens by identifying the challenges that exist with traditional research reporting formats, as well as the role that inspiration and motivation play. To illustrate this, we use a relatable metaphor. The difference between an engaging reporting format and one which doesn’t inspire action draws parallels between attending a high quality and low quality industry conference. From one, you may leave inspired to make changes and armed with the knowledge to do so. The other occupies barely a small corner of the mind once the event is over.

Before we get into the specifics of exactly how creative visuals can bring research data to life and provide the necessary motivation for stakeholders to drive change; we take a quick look at the scale of engagement. This scale helps us categorise and better understand the different types of interaction that stakeholders have with various methods.

In the second half of the podcast, we discuss the experiments that the FlexMR team have been running to gauge the effectiveness of abstract, artistic interpretations of research as a reporting method. Over the course of more than thirty artworks, our team has learnt some important lessons about what does and does not work.

First and foremost, we learnt that even if the artwork tells a complete story – it is still reliant on the interpretation of the viewer to piece that story together. Without a guide, it is easy for the real story to become lost in subjective interpretation. It’s important therefore, that any purely visual piece used to bolster and stimulate stakeholder engagement is accompanied by a written or verbal explanation that guides a viewer’s interpretation. Together, these two elements tell a powerful story. But alone, they each struggle to be effective.

And if you’d like to start building creative reporting methods into your repertoire, we end the podcast with some helpful advice on what to focus on. We look at how to capture audience attention, why novelty is an important factor and – most importantly – the huge role that emotion has to play in the process.


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