What’s working in Research like?

Dr. Florian Sametinger, Marlene Arabjan, Francesco Isgrò, and Alicia Carpousis | Hands & Minds

KISKA Researchers are empowering clients and designers to make products that are desirable, socially responsible, and sustainable.

What do KISKA Researchers do?

FLORIAN: Our job is understanding markets, users, future opportunities, products in-context, and sustainability topics. We transform these into insights that inform clients and creative teams.

FRANCESCO: To do this, first we figure out the right questions. With them, we can look for the answers. 

MARLENE: The answers help us steer creative processes, usually in the form of briefings that guide the work of designers. With the briefings, we bring objectivity to market perspectives and clarity to the complex challenges presented by users’ pain points, needs, and motivations.

ALICIA: We also actively advocate for Research as a service – not just for clients, but within KISKA – by building cross-functional relationships with other teams.

Describe your day-to-day work.

FLORIAN: As Lead, I spend my days developing research strategies with the team and empowering them to find their own ways to put these strategies into practice for each unique project.

I also communicate about Research as a service, in-house, and to the outside world at conferences and events.

MARLENE: There’s also plenty of stuff happening behind-the-scenes that enriches the work. Like collaborating in an international environment with people of different cultures, skills, and mindsets.

FRANCESCO: My day usually consists of primary and secondary research tasks, like quantitative surveys, data analysis, trend research, market scans, and more. Whatever the method, the next job is collecting and understanding insights, and connecting the dots to help clients understand what I’ve discovered.

ALICIA: Each of us also spends time gathering info about project stakeholders and aligning with them to boost our own understanding of project scope.

How would you describe your team dynamic and how you work with KISKA clients?

MARLENE: We’re a mixed team, with a broad variety of skills and backgrounds. Like Design, UX, Data Science, and Brand Strategy.

ALICIA: The complementary skills allow for rich collaborations that let us research each topic from several angles.

FLORIAN: We’re a relatively fresh team, so we’re bringing a forward-thinking vibe to Research, and not just for clients. We try to inspire others in KISKA. It’s been cool seeing our team create its own vision of how research is done at KISKA, then putting it to work.

FRANCESCO: We just blend well. We support one another and involve ourselves in each other’s projects. We value – and seek out – each other’s opinions. Most importantly, we have a good time doing it.

On the client side, it’s all about empowering them with concrete, condensed, and prioritised insights.

ALICIA: That requires maintaining a productive dialogue with them, because Research is successful only when we really understand the client’s needs.

MARLENE: Of course, we’d never see ourselves as the absolute experts on our clients’ worlds, but these positive relationships ensure we can provide maximum clarity on their future potential. 

What’s the best thing about your job? And, the most challenging?

FLORIAN: I’m proud of my team. They collaboratively created Research standards and are committed to getting the word out.

FRANCESCO: I like the project variety because I can swap between different methodologies. I’ll go from data analysis to future scenarios to sustainability quick-scans in a day.

ALICIA: I enjoy researching about industries that I’d never have an opportunity to engage in otherwise. Like motorcycles, truck-mounted forklifts, and medical devices. That level of diversity presents the biggest challenge, however: I’m always getting up to speed on new topics and there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. 

MARLENE: For me, the best part is helping clients be more customer centric by embedding user voices into all strategies. With market clarity they can reach their full potential.

The biggest challenge is ensuring people understand that Research isn’t a “bonus task”. It’s integral to producing more human, more socially responsible products.

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