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  • Dr. Sharon Livingston

Be Creative! to Discover In-Depth Insights


While they are often the people who get credit for it, it’s not just the ad agency “creatives” who have imagination, intuition and suggest interesting possibilities in marketing and research. Receptivity to ingenuity and open mindedness is a way of being that can be evoked and released in everyone.


Nevertheless, there are also market researchers who are likely to earn the title of “Creative.” Research on creativity suggests the following.

CREATIVES ARE … Passionate about their work. They draw energy from the process and feel fed by the work. Instead of being drained, they are excited and revitalized. In fact, one sign of a less than wonderful project might be a sense of fatigue or exhaustion. When creativity is alive and well in an endeavor, the moderator is often brightened by the process as well as being experienced at inspiring the group members.


CREATIVES ARE … Risk takers who think on their feet. These are people who understand the goal of the work and add excursions and techniques which expand the scope of the discussion guide as it unfolds. Rather than being limited by the questions written on paper, they use the document as it’s intended, a guide to get to the results, NOT a word for word questionnaire.


CREATIVES ARE … Technical experts at their craft. This is a very important element. We need to know what we know about our core businesses before venturing into creative flourishes. Imaginative interventions without knowledge of our industry or the problem at hand may not be useful or relevant.


CREATIVES ARE … Comfortable with failures. They are more likely to turn mistakes into learning opportunities; bounce back to try again and know how to get the job done despite setbacks. When a creative intervention doesn’t work, they drop it and try something else which is more fruitful. They also assume some things will work better than others. So they avoid blame or negative recriminations when an exercise bombs, chalking it up to learning.


CREATIVES ARE … Free to be different, even a little unusual or quirky and like it. These are people who cherish their own unique traits and recognize and respect differences in others. The result is a richer sharing of varied perceptions and personal experiences in the research.

If that sounds like you, you already know that you are often creative.


If not, it’s ok. In the next article I’ll be sharing a number of ways to inspire creativity in the front room and back room during focus groups and one on ones.


Be creative and have fun at work.

Dr. Sharon Livingston