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Articles Posted in the Adianta School for Leadership and Innovation


Market Research Tips for Beginners/ Startup Founders

January 6th, 2016 by Gaurav Chauhan

What is the code for a successful startup or an idea and which is the most effective and foremost activity which serves the base for all information base, innovations and decisions in an organization? Answer is not that difficult, Its Market research; actually Market research is the only source for gathering all the latest external information at large which in return gives the purpose to all the activities going around in the present and coming in the future. No manager or an entrepreneur could ever took any key decision with the guesswork, obviously there is some calculations involved in the market potential and forecasts reports otherwise nobody would risks the money involved (P.S. Everyone loves money). Still some ideas don’t get the success or very weak response after being investing much time and money on the research. Market research matters, when done correctly, you gain decision-making power. If done incorrectly, it could end up costing your company millions.

For an entrepreneur or a business it’s the tool for spotting trends, validator of ideas and the base for innovation. I also as a budding entrepreneur had chance to do market research for an idea for which I and other partners have tried different tools, techniques and sources for that. So, I think I can share our experiences with you to get some advantage when you do it for yours. Though we are not experts, here are our learnings from our market research efforts.

  • The objective of the market research study or the thesis should be clearly defined and precisely mention the main and sub points to fulfill the purpose in the exact manner. The target group/ audience must be defined at this stage so as to design the questions and the direction of the research to be done.

  • Test your questionnaire before finalizing it by practicing it with your friends and peers, use their feedback to make changes in. Respondents recruitment sheet and criteria must be prepared according to the target group chosen.

  • Choose the tool as online and offline media to conduct the research which suits best to the target audience. Try to use both if it satisfies the conditions and criteria, It will give wide and deep understanding of the market.

  • Make respondents feel relaxed and comfortable during the interview. The questions must be open ended and asked in the logical order. Don’t assume anything, ask questions for it.

  • Always keep the notebook handy and record responses and notes you are observing, note down small details relevant to your project. Take pictures of the people and objects to make reference afterwards (ask for permission before taking pictures).

  • Put all the data in one place and try to categorize the similar points in one header; try to correlate if the data is highly scattered. Come with clearly defined, grouped sub heads which are proper structured and organized to make it easy to share and understand to other team members.

  • Use visual representation techniques such as charts, bar graphs and pie charts to show the relation between key variables and make it more of the data in tabular form. Bring out the emerging trends from the data and brainstorm to gain the different perspectives on the data.

  • Using these techniques and tools we did our research for a travel platform. Though our target audience was very specific (22 to 30 years) we did our research offline in various places in Delhi. These are the certain tips to follow for your market research study, you can tweak and adopt the process as you feel comfortable to go, you will learn during the process. This is it for now, I ll bring more learnings from our journey to make our idea work, stay tuned. You can reach out to me at or follow me on _gurugaurav twitter.

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    Design as a “Way of Thinking”

    October 10th, 2015 by Pawan Gupta

    Design and creativity are considered the two most important skills for an individual to succeed. But both get often related with only certain professions like artists, graphic designer and architects as people weigh them on the scale of visual beauty and do not consider them in problem solving. Fortunately, Steve Jobs’ statement, “Design is not just how it looks like or feels like, but how it works”, gives other professions, involved in the value creating chain, equal credit for design & creativity as the designers. The definition of design and creativity has evolved from being identified as important individual skills to the powerful social tools that can be utilized for solving complex business, social and cultural problems. There is a new way of thinking developed which employs these tools to understand a problem and solve it through a process that designers applied unknowingly. The process is called Design Thinking. The notion of design as a “way of thinking” in sciences can be traced to Herbert A. Simon in his book The Sciences of Artifical, and in engineering to Robert Mckim’s 1973 book Experiences in Visual Thinking. Today, Tim Brown and David M. Kelly, the founders of IDEO, are expanding the design thinking philosophy.

    So, What is Design Thinking?

    It’s a methodology of solving the complex problems applicable to all walks of life. Problems have patterns and the scientific approach of problem solving employs analysis for identifying those patterns to find a solution i.e. a problem-centric approach. But design thinking approaches the problem in a holistic way and applies the process of synthesis creating the first solution through a defined process and then iterating to find other alternative better solutions. However, Tim & Kelly argue that design thinking incorporates both analysis and synthesis approach towards problem solving as every synthesis is built upon the results of preceding analysis.
    The core stages of solving a problem through design thinking can be divided in different phases:
    – Empathize
    – Define
    – Ideate
    – Prototype
    – Iterate/Test

    Design Thinking diagram

    The 1st stage is to empathize with your customer. The process starts with people rather than problem. Put yourself into their shoes to directly see what’s going on around from a customer’s point of view. Interact with the people, learn from them and find the insights by asking questions. But it is important to be away from judgements as it dilutes the process of questioning. The right way is to approach with curiosity and respect and with a beginner’s eye. Keep asking WHY until you reach the end.

    The 2nd phase is of defining the problem. Find out what is expected, hoped for or needed. It’s time to focus by thinking in a convergent manner. The need should be identified as a Verb and not a Noun. The approach should be solution-focused and not problem focused.

    The 3rd phase is ideating which is mainly brain-storming. The task is to shft to divergent thinking and bringing ideas. Write down each and every idea that comes to you. Don’t judge or weigh your ideas against each other and don’t jump to conclusion. Let the ideas flow; it will require effort but embrace the obstacles by considering each and every thought while not diverting from the topic.

    The next stage is to incorporate the ideas into something tangible. Make prototype by arranging your most relevant thought and integrate the ideas into a solutions. Don’t judge the solution yet.

    The last phase is testing and receiving feedback on your prototype and responding by doing the iterations to find alternative better solutions.

    The process seems very simple but mastering it requires a lot of adaptive practice to choose the right inflection point and appropriate next stage which needs high order intellectual capacity and is learn-able. While learning, What we must avoid is resistance, utopian attitude, fear of failure and playing the devil’s advocate during the ideation & prototyping stage and judgement, heuristics & assumptions during other stages of the process.

    Design thinking is changing the way problems are being solved in 21st century. With a human centred design approach, the problems are being viewed with several perspectives – extreme and balanced. The principles of design thinking are creativity, ambidextrous thinking, user-centricity, team-work, curiosity and optimism. It aims, not directly at the final solution in a linear manner but at creating a better future in a cyclic manner of above mentioned stages. The idea is to convert the problem into a design problem and identify inter-related patterns which can be mathematical, behavioural, scientific, economical, rational, irrational or otherwise and consider all the visible and ambiguous aspects to reach the known and unknown parameters of the problem statement to find a solution, then iterating to reach the best solution. The benefit with this method is that the risk is mitigated at a very early stage and the cost comes down due to iterations at prototyping stage; however, sometimes, success is not met easily and requires a lot of iterations which you can sometimes see on the face of designers in an organization. Yet design thinking is a powerful method to solve even many ill-defined problems using the human centred approach where more analytical approach of science and engineering fail to define the problem within the known technical domain.

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    Digital quotients and growth of an online business

    September 5th, 2015 by Kartik Sharma

    Businesses of late have grown up to deploy digitization for a wide range of functions. To understand and derive insights from growing scale of technology usage, a workshop on Digital Darwinism by Saurabh Arora was quite helpful. (This post is like ages late, the workshop was held on Feb 27, 2015 at Adianta)


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    Building an online persona

    August 26th, 2015 by Vipul Jindal

    Antje Pfahl (Senior Manager Merchant Communication & Business Development PAYTM) was the guest speaker for the Personal Branding workshop for day 3. A workshop where we had to introspect, find out who we really are, and figure out how to effectively brand yourself to the world.

    The first part involved filling up a highly introspective questionnaire. It was about mentioning 5 most dominating attributes about yourself, our strengths, weaknesses etc., which I felt was to set the introspective mode on for everyone.

    During lunch, me and Antje discussed various business ideas I had in mind and her vast experience let to opinions which showed me different angles of feasibility of my ideas from a perspective I could not see otherwise.

    Post lunch was about getting your personal mission statement and elevator pitch on paper. Though it seemed to be very difficult at first, none of us would have done it if we were not a part of this workshop. We also had to write our professional obituary. Then Antje showed us social profiles for famous personalities in different fields, and compared them to ours. We built our personal canvases which are stuck on the ASLI room walls for us to see everyday and introspect.

    Towards the end of the day, in the feedback session, never satisfied as always, I told Antje I found the workshop to be a little bit generic. It was amazing how well she took the criticism and followed up on it. Meeting Antje was a splendid experience and I look forward to a long-term relationship with her.

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