On the topic of accuracy
Updated: Dec 17, 2018
When something new is automatically feared.
The topic of accuracy comes up a lot in conversation, especially when first introducing our company and technology to someone. After hundreds of conversations where my team's asked about the accuracy of our technology and its ability to truly decode the hidden meanings in culture, I decided it was time to write on the issue.
Accuracy is really a philosophical question
This is especially so in the world of research where positivist approaches are well understood and well established. The result of which is a social convention that states that quantitative methods are a more accurate assessment of motivation (despite the fact that modern neuroscience has proven otherwise). So, really, when people ask us about the accuracy of our ethnographic approach, what they're really saying is I'm unfamiliar with "this" so I'm taught to doubt it and even dismiss it.
In the early days (after launching MotivBase), we used to spend a lot of time defending our methodology and educating our buyer about the science behind our technology. Yet, it would rarely improve their odds of working with us. This used to perplex our sales team until we reflected on our experiences and realized what was really at the heart of people's fear when considering new research approaches and technologies.
Accuracy is really about familiarity
It's a chicken and an egg scenario. In order to create familiarity, more people have to adopt the technology and approach. And of course, until then, the lack of familiarity itself poses a barrier to adoption. There's no silver bullet in a scenario such as this, especially for a three-year-old startup like ours. We don't have the resources to buy billboards on Times Square or webinars on HBR. Nor can we afford to sit around and wait while the rest of the industry catches up to us.
So what does one do?
Reflexivity is often an underutilized strategy. In a scenario such as this, it offers an important way to show to our clients, the inherent biases that exist in their own minds as a result of established social conventions and rules of engagement. The more we discuss the idea of accuracy as a philosophical question rather than an empirical one, the more open our clients and prospects become to exploring and learning about our approach (and other alternative approaches) and the value it can add to their business.