Frontier technologies come in all shapes of sizes. It could look like a virtual reality headset, which our founder first wore in 1995 when Nintendo launched one and learned some rough early lessons. Or it could look like summer camp database software, which our other founder spent years scaling across states to assure no child was left behind. Whatever the new thing is, we find better ways to make it work for the people using it.
We love asking people questions, especially when we don’t assume we have the answers. Academic research is fundamentally important to us, but we also understand its sampling and design limitations. Our richest findings often come when we turn over agency to those involved in the research process.
That’s why we developed our own Community-Inclusive Research Model. It puts people at ease with frontier technologies and draws actionable human insights throughout each of the following stages:
First, we dumpster dive for the truth. That means doing contextual background research for every community or platform we serve. It involves honest conversations with stakeholders to limit biases and understand barriers. We also make efforts to observe systems in the spatial context that they are used. There’s no use bringing people to a lab if it’s not how they naturally interact with something.
Anything can be measured with enough creative wizardry. We’re just as fluent in the areas of qualitative survey design and interviews as we are in the languages of data science and statistical modeling software. But we’re also able to generate new forms of metrics, ones that involve in a bit of deeper thinking about the variables involved. We pilot test, we pilot scale, and we always seek data-backed takeaways.
Brené Brown said it best, stories are just data with a soul. If we’re not able to properly communicate the findings from our strategy and evaluation stages, there’s no point. This is where academic research can get mucky, in clearly articulating the bigger picture. We use our mastery of storytelling through decks to present clear actionable findings for frontier technologies, making them more intuitive for all.