Whether it’s something new in the world of sports or fashion, or a kitchen innovation that turns the ordinary into extraordinary, I’m always inspired by not only the innovation itself, but also by what transpires behind-the-scenes.
Everyone loves to hear a brand’s back story, but what isn’t always known is the amount of time and effort – and patience and fortitude – devoted to research to achieve such remarkable success.
I was reminded of this again when I heard Jeff Benedict, who co-authored “Tiger Woods” with Armen Keteyian, speak. This bestselling book about one of the best golfers in the world, took five years of research to write. The authors read more than 20 books about Woods, reviewed the transcripts of more than 320 official press conferences, and conducted more than 400 interviews with over 250 people from Woods’s life. The result is a bestselling 400-page book. Research is an integral part of its story and success.
Research is a collaborative art
Research isn’t something we do alone, and it isn’t done in a vacuum. There are experts and organizations with a wealth of knowledge, and a mass of written material on every subject. There are people with experience and information on every subject all over the world that are worth speaking to and collaborating with. The art of developing insight, discovering gems of knowledge, and then crafting and molding what we learn into success is what transforms research into a collaborative art.
Research is an iterative art
Every best seller – books included – require research. Initial research will spark flames of opportunity and innovation but putting together a blockbuster requires significantly more time and effort. Some of the best books, products, and innovations have resulted from an iterative process that created the blockbuster.
Research is a judgement-free art
Everyone has their own story, and it’s the listening to their story with an open mind that makes research an art. It’s not about your opinion of their story; it’s about asking the right questions to get to the heart of theirs. There is an art to finding the value to what every individual has to say. Jeff Benedict offered insight into why it’s so important to listen to the stories of others and learn what you can: It was stories that became the foundation of Benedict’s and Keteyian’s highly-successful book, and the audience felt connected to the people that influenced the life of Tiger Woods. Everything we create and market is a reflection of listening and learning.
Research takes time
Not only does research take time, but it often needs to cover the passage of time to understand where we are today and how we got here. Everyone and everything has a past and knowing that past is how we can better understand how and why things currently are. Benedict and Keteyian may have started in the present, but their entire book addresses how Tiger Woods got to where he is today.
Research is at the heart of everything
Research informs and inspires everything we do – it is at the heart of success. Whether personally or in business, our best decisions are backed by research.
Like a bestselling book, market success comes from great research. And like great research, brilliance is a group effort.