KS&R Blogs


I love Kickstarter.com. I might even be a crowd funding junkie.

As proclaimed on its website, Kickstarter is …"the world's largest funding platform for creative projects". Every week, tens of thousands of people pledge money for everything from technology to gadgets, film, food, clothing, design, games and more.

Since its launch in 2009, more than 4.3 million people have pledged over $662 million on Kickstarter, funding more than 43,000 creative projects.

I am guessing that a large share of these individuals, like me, enjoy feeling like a philanthropist as they help get a new idea off the ground. The quirkiness of a hot sauce made in Vermont (What? No maple syrup?) recently led me to invest $15 in Benito's -- which scored Ryan a bottle of Mango Habanero Sauce (check out his photo).

Kickstarter may also be tugging at my qualitative heart strings. Qualitative research is a critical first step in the development of new products and services, as well as the strategies required to introduce them into the marketplace effectively. And since Kickstarter has launched some infamously flawed products (e.g., "Jellyfish (Death)Tanks") the value of qualitative research in identifying low performing concepts in order to eliminate them should not be overlooked.

A great projective technique for exploring the challenges and issues to be faced when developing new products and services is photo storytelling.

We recently conducted focus group research for a client looking to promote healthy eating among young families through a point-of-purchase nutritional scoring system.

  • Two weeks before the focus groups, we mailed a single use camera to each respondent, along with money to cover the cost of getting the film developed.
  • Respondents were instructed to go grocery shopping (we had previously arranged for the cooperation of the grocery store management) and take photos that "tell the story" of shopping for groceries with their children.
  • They were told to use the entire roll of film in order to illustrate in as much detail as possible what the experience is like for them.
  • Respondents had the film developed, then taped the pictures onto a sheet of paper, writing a caption under each photo -- to tell the story as it unfolds.
  • They were also encouraged to get other household members involved in the project.
  • Respondents shared their stories with the group; drivers and barriers (functional and emotional) were explored, including:
        "What if your child or spouse had told this story? What would be different?"
        "What’s just outside the 'frame' of this story? What happened immediately after?"
        "What do you wish you could change about this story?"

Kickstarter can help raise the funds needed to make a new product or service a reality.

But qualitative research can help make it a success.