It is not square!
Several readers have pointed out that I seem negative on Focus groups. They are correct and there are two primary reasons:
- In a former role we were innovating with the help of customer input. We hired a consultant. Using an expert moderator and focus groups with our users the consultants managed to bring useful input and innovation to a halt.
- 40 years of academic research (e.g. VOC) shows that group innovation efforts such as focus groups and brainstorming kill ideas and totally eliminate the most creative ones.
However in the name of fairness, I must share this video that shows the power of an expert focus group moderator:
Here’s a three-year-old article about firms who have benefited by eliminating focus groups and the moderator-charlatans.