Although we can agree sympathetically with Einstein’s thought about the primacy afforded to reason, the truth is actually different. As Kahneman points out, 95% of what we do, say, think is actually generated pretty much automatically – out of an amalgam of sensory experience, past experience, affect (emotion) and intention. Kahneman calls this System 1 thinking – automatic, instantaneous and everyday. It has little capacity to weigh up evidence or to balance alternatives. Thus automatic responses, driven by affect, do rule the day – and hence it is extremely difficult to reason anybody out of an opinion or decision that they did not arrive at by reason in the first place.
“The word is not the route to the psyche. In the beginning was not the word, but the act.”
Jacob Moreno is the founder of Psychodrama, the use of theatrical performance and staging to re-enact events and circumstances from life. Trained as a doctor in Vienna 1912-1917, he rejected Freudian theory while still at medical school. In his autobiography, he writes that he told Freud after a lecture that he gave: “I start where you leave off. You meet people in the artificial setting of your office. I meet them on the street and in their home, in their natural surroundings. You analyse their dreams. I give them the courage to dream again. You analyse them and tear them apart. I let them act out their conflicting roles and help them to put the parts back together again.”
Starting in 1921 he began experimenting with drama as a way of treating psychiatric patients in groups. He founded The Spontaneity Theatre which used improvisational drama as a means of treatment.
In the 1920’s he also developed a set of ideas which he termed Sociometry – a research method for looking at the social structure of groups which involved Sociograms illustrating these structures. Moreno moved to the USA in 1925 and held position at Columbia University. These ideas are very useful in group work.
- Humans are not just biologically determined (as Freud thought) but have a spiritual side and are influenced by their social context. “He did not believe in Freud’s model … Freud came from biology, Moreno was inspired by the great religions of this world. Freud was atheistic. Moreno was not.”
- He emphasises the importance of creativity and spontaneityin human life. Children have a lot of these things but they get squashed. Life produces constraints, society demands conformity, and therefore people get mired in habitual ways of responding where their spontaneity is stifled. He believed that therapeutic intervention should have the aim of enabling people to reconnect with their spontaneity and thus allow them to:
- be more integrated as people
- be able to respond more flexibly and creatively to new situations, and in the way they lead their lives
- Psychodrama as an intervention is designed to bring these aims about. He developed a range of techniques within Psychodrama such as role reversal and empty chair (before Fritz Perls).
In Zerka Moreno’s words (in an interview with Victor Yalom Ph.D. on psychotherapy.net)
“The easiest way to think about [Psychodrama] is ‘the mind in action’. Instead of talking about your concerns we say ‘Don’t tell me. Show me! Showing means to act it out … it helps you to express yourself in a new way .. a way that life doesn’t usually permit [in order to] make you more integrated.”
“We’re all broken and need to become more cohesive, more integrated from within. Through the catharsis of integration, we become balanced, within and without.”
You can find a download of this summary here: Psychology on a Page 11: Psychodrama
By far the best thing if you want to experience this style of work is to do one of our Action Techniques Days.
If you have done a lot of focus groups you will have developed your own style or way of working. What was once a frightening procedure – being expected to contact and direct a group of strangers in a productive inquiry – may have become so commonplace that you have created and adopted a style that is as easy to slip on as a well-worn jacket.
To do this, the psychological mechanisms of adaptation (getting familiar with) and trial-and-error mapping will have been your allies. Put simply, you try stuff out, expand what works and contract what doesn’t.
Expressed in a diagram it looks like this:
You can click and drag this diagram if you find it useful, it is developed from work by Chris Agyris, at Harvard. Chris is a thought leader in the area of learning organisations.
Like many mechanical analogies & process diagrams it’s very comforting; a bit like the Tube Map. In this map stuff happens, it either matches (the inner path) or mismatches (the outer path) your expectations and you adjust accordingly. “Simples!”
But of course, with our appreciation of the idea of both Foreground and Background (see Top Tips for Researchers 8: Tapping the Unconscious where I introduce these ideas) that are always present in communication we can ask: ‘is it really like that?’ Let’s explore the Background for a moment. I will offer some experiences from my own Background voices to get us started. Whether I liked it or not, these were the kind of thoughts and concerns that were always with me:
- “It’s a long journey to this venue. I haven’t left quite enough time…am I going to make it?”
- “I have spent all day working on Project X – and now suddenly find myself off to do groups in Project Y. I am out of touch with the topic – and tired.”
- “This group seem subdued. I wonder is there something the matter with them – or is it me?”
- “I don’t like that bloke’s tone of voice. He seems very aggressive. I wonder if I’m going to have trouble with him.”
- “I didn’t get a look at who is in the viewing room. It seems noisy in there. What’s going on?”
- “There’s a silent chap with arms folded in the corner. How am I gonna draw him in?”
- “They’re paying a lot more attention to the sandwiches and wine than they are to the topic.”
- “I was late and it looks like they already got acquainted. There’s a group going on already. What’s it about?”
- “…the lady there reminds me of my ex!”
To be honest I had absolutely no difficulty in generating the above flow of ‘Background voices’ from my memories of focus groups. I could have continued to write down many more. The important thing is to notice that these are all Projections – mental states that arise from a sense that: ‘there is danger here, what shall I do about it?’ Some of them are anticipatory Projections – being stimulated by guilt or anxiety that you’re not up-to-date or engaged with the project sufficiently. Others seem to arise more directly as Projections based on interpretations of who is there and what is happening in the room. Notice and describe your own versions.
They are, what’s more, perfectly natural thoughts. You are being paid to do this, you have made promises or commitments to your sponsor, you may be observed by hidden viewers who have their own Background agenda, the topic may seem slight or technical or dull, the recruiting may be faulty or unrepresentative. Any or all of these things might be deemed your fault. If some members of your audience are against doing the project they will be projecting problems and faults onto the situation anyway. You may be easier to ‘kill’ than their favourite copy-lines!
From the outside you may look calm, relaxed, confident, cool and collected but I guarantee you that these Background voices will be present. If you don’t even notice them, then they are running the show unconsciously. Make no mistake about it, this is a stressful situation – and one in which you must not show that you are stressed. You have to act grown up and as if you know what you’re doing!
Notice how you’re feeling reading this if you are a moderator. Don’t you wish all that ‘negative ***t would just go away?
So what can you do???
Golden Rule One:
“Before you can moderate anybody else – you need to moderate yourself!”
How do you do this?
Start by noticing your background voice. Notice what it is saying/feeling. What tone of voice does it speak in? What associations do you have with that tone?
Don’t try to stop your Voice. Listen to it, I guarantee that it will run out of steam after a while! It’s natural to be nervous when you face uncertainty.
If it persists tell your story of this project to yourself. How did you come into it? What are the events and feelings that lead up to today? Then, notice that your story seems to suggest certain inevitable consequences – you’ll mess up the group, nothing important will come out, you’ll get stuck in the analysis, the recruiting will be all wrong, the videos won’t work, all of the above. These thoughts are absolutely no different from the kind of concerns that anyone about to embark on a high level of performance has. But they are just catastrophic fantasies. If you weren’t nervous, you wouldn’t be alive to the project.
Own your projections – see reality. Do this in the group by noticing your assessments and judgments of the people present, your voices about any folk who might be ‘viewing’, your judgments of the flow of topics and conversation. Be alive to all of these being an integral part of your moderating experience.
Share the voices or biases that persist with a colleague or client or someone you can trust, even if you have to edit the tale a bit not to seem too paralysed or neurotic! The point is that anything you resist persists and you need to get it out into the open where it can’t undermine you from within. There will be particularly frequent and troubling Background thoughts and beliefs that pop up. They will be based more on your childhood experiences in groups (at home, at school, with mates etc.) than on what is happening here and now.
Notice what your ‘Governing Variables’ in the Background are. What do you believe about yourself in terms of the impact you have on others, or the manner that you conduct yourself in public semi-structured situations
Golden Rule Two:
“You cannot be unbiased! What you can do is know your biases. Know thyself as the Greek bloke said.”
Please don’t waste time trying to make yourself a ‘blank sheet’. If you make yourself flat, it will almost certainly have the effect of flattening your groups. If you create too much silent presence people will become inhibited by your lack of affect and acknowledgment. You are the leader of the room; people will copy you whether they admit to it or not.
Golden Rule Three:
“Create space within yourself to allow others to make an impact and to be known by you!”
You can begin to see how in the presence of your own Background voice and all the details you need to attend to in the process, finding the space to let others in might not be as straightforward as it seems. Just because you are sitting there quietly, it doesn’t mean that you are allowing others in. You might be simply in the thrall of your demons!
You need to create this space and we do this by what we call ‘Accurate Empathy’. This process is one of those taught in the Facilitation module of our Advanced Practitioner’s Course, but in essence it means conducting a go-round in the opening of the group where people are invited to introduce themselves in terms of something that is important to them at the moment. Once they have spoken, it is your job as moderator to summarise and reflect back to them as clearly and non-judgmentally as you can what you heard them say. You will find your own form of words but you might try:
“Thank you, I heard you say that…(make a summary of what you heard).”
“Thank you, if I can summarise what I heard….is that right?”
“Welcome to the group, if I can recap on what I heard you say, it’s…”
If you do this, in spite of the Background voice and all the pressure to get on with the Brief, your people will arrive and so will you. You will be a big step further in making contact and creating an atmosphere of authentic, genuine value in speaking and listening
My model is derived from years of experience in working with people on perceptions, thoughts, feelings and behaviour – and the relationships between them.
From that work I have noticed a set of interlocking motivational drivers that persist in daily life. These drivers are made more or less potent by current events, fashions and culture.
The first driver is the need to self-actualise that I have called the Progressive Tendency. The second and opposing force is the need to Regress, to fall back on tried and tested routines, brands and behaviours. All of us experience some tension between these forces in our daily lives.
A third and integrating driver I call Reparation and it describes the need to make amends, to fix the broken or do the undone. The reparative tendency swings into play either when we have done too little (been too regressive) or gone too far (been too progressive).
The picture above illustrates this Creative Tension. Take a moment to find it in yourself – and in that way you can validate this model through your own experience.
Can you see in your life, a tendency to one or other of these extremes? Do you typically do too little or too much? Our explorations have revealed that most of us have some arenas in which we constantly do too little, while in others we do too much. That kind of imbalance in daily life leads both to the need to compensate but also to the occurrence of breakthroughs from time to time because of our persistence!
The recession has made it difficult for most people to anticipate progress in the near future. This is frustrating in an individualistic culture and, I believe drives the prominence of internet brands with their feeling of progressiveness together with those brands that practice innovation as a core competence (Apple, Amazon, Groupon). There’s also an illusion with these brands that you’re at the forefront, merely because you click on this or that.
The regressive component in brands is found among those most familiar to us and where they get their service right, allow us to relax and experience a feeling of being ‘held’ and safe. Well known names are prominent here, like W H Smith, Greggs and the NHS – at its best.
Within this blog I cannot calculate what your brand – or your favourite brand if you are a customer – stands for in terms of these drivers, but by using my diagnostic discovery techniques in empirical studies I can help you work out where you stand and what your customers want you to focus on. This is crucial information because whatever your current style through which you have attracted and satisfied your customers’ motives, it may be time either to reinforce that position or to incorporate another part of the motivational palette. The X Factor is a classic example of a ‘product’ that blends Progressive, Regressive and Reparative elements!
We have used Reframing as a tool many times over the years and I remain interested in new examples that I hear about which strike me as useful. Today I heard from my wife about a Community Psychology Group in Newcastle. One of its members, Joel Yoelli, has come up with a fascinating reframe using the idea of Accidents.
In brief, there is a growing tendency for vehicle accident victims to receive some form of psychological therapy as part of their recovery. We know that CBT and EDMR and other therapies can be effective at lessening the grip of trauma from car crashes and the like.
Joel has neatly extended this ‘accident’ metaphor from accidents with vehicles to accidents with people. The idea is that people are traumatised by accidents with people just as they may be by physical collisions. I think its really helpful.
The best early film we made summarising the methods and aims of our co-creation process, called Big Talk. Big Talks were done during the 1990′s by British Airways (6), BUPA (2), Singapore Airlines (3), Holiday Inn (3), Guinness (2), Gallaher (1), Visa (1) among others.
In this film you can see both the methods of co-creation at work and hear from the Marketing team what they were hoping to achieve.
Self Consciousness – and why it matters to insight seekers
We are very different when gripped by emotion from times when reason dominates.
Most of us go to considerable lengths to present a reasonable – and reasoning – self to others. Special circumstances for allowing emotion and unreason to dominate are available but carefully boundaried – sports fans in all their regalia, music concerts, services and rituals which mark transitions or passing on.
The tool we use to govern and monitor this presentation of ourselves in everyday life is self-awareness.
There is a uniquely human form of self-awareness called self-consciousness. This is the basis of our capacity both to fit in with others and cultural norms, but also to transcend the immediate situation and live in terms of the possible.
This in turn constitutes the basis of psychological freedom. It means that the future is not the past, but a place of possibility.
Self-consciousness arises as we start to distinguish ourselves from others in infancy and is increased when we acquire ‘theory of mind’ – the knowledge that other people are conscious too and that their worlds might be similar to ours in some respects but different in others. As we grow in years self-consciousness is moderated by cultural norms and lessons we are taught by experience and education.
By the time we are adults we have a veritable dictionary of modes or practices that we use to moderate the self we display. We continually update this dictionary if we are smart, but may choose to become ‘fixed in our ways’ either as a conscious strategy or as an unconscious defence against disappointment.
You will have your own opinion of how you are seen by others. The way you are perceived may also vary between the different groups you find yourself in. You might be the life and soul of the party at home, yet very quiet among strangers. You might make your workmates laugh ‘til they cry, or be someone who pursues their work quietly. You may have all these characteristics yet play them differently from time to time.
The important point is that self-consciousness is the filter through which everything you do, say and feel is passed and moderated. There is hardly a moment, except when securely alone in the most intimate parts of our homes, that we are free from this filter: ‘what will they think of me if I do or say that?’
For the insight seeker, this applies to all meetings and encounters where you are in search of insight. Everyone has their filters in place – especially among a group of relative strangers, where you do not know your status or have control of the agenda. This is a recipe for caution and carefulness.
It is this fact, that we are all already moderated by self-consciousness that has led us to create micro-cultures where the standard norms do not apply when we want to gain insights. It has also made us quite suspicious of attempts to standardize, stereotype or assign traits to people. People are deciding their comportment based on norms, culture and minimizing risk or maximizing effectiveness. It may not reflect their true desires or intentions at all! We are all actors.
This text is downloadable as a pdf here: Self-Consciousness
Whatever you think of Tony Blair, in terms of technique the work we did for him in 2005 was a unique piece of insight work. So much so in fact that this work with its innovations in understanding the use of personality in political markets has made its way into the American Annals of Political Science and – even in the UK where Blair has been demonised – the paper was nominated for Best Paper at the MRS Conference, 2006.
People have short memories and have forgotten that 54% of us supported military action in Iraq in 2003. There is a very British tradition of gung-ho militarism that tends to fade as the real life-and-death consequences of war play out on our screens and papers. We are still not averse to the odd bit of Johnny Foreigner bashing provided we can convince ourselves that right is on our side.
My purpose in making this paper available here is not to condone or castigate Blair and his administration. It is to make the insight work that helped him recover his standing in the run-up to the 2005 election available to students of qualitative technique – particularly Two-Chair work which, under Nicky’s direction – was fundamental to this project. As far as I know it has never been used on a national issue, before or since.
Download the Paper here: Reconnecting the Prime Minister, 2005
Treat yourself to a book by this eloquent and deeply human man! His contribution was primarily as a thinker - drawing together political (Marx), psychoanalytic (Freud), theological and sociological ideas. Has an interest in the economic and cultural roots of personality – not just the biological and personal (c.f. Freud). Very close to being an ‘existentialist’. Respectful yet critical of Freud, whose thinking he regarded as contradictory and limiting. I am indebted to Nicky Forsythe for her brilliant summary of this complex thinker, below:
Fromm’s key ideas are:
the importance of freedom of will and independent action:
- using our own reason to establish values rather than adhering mindlessly to received values
- he believes we are hugely influenced by our class, culture, biology and personal history BUT we have the capacity to transcend these influences. Did not believe in determinism, which sets him apart from both instinctivists like Freud and positivists like the behaviourists
with freedom comes uncertainty, isolation, alienation and bewilderment. We are inclined to avoid these through one of three means:
- authoritarianism – doing what we are told by a person/system
- automaton conformity – merging with the prevailing mores of our society; adopting conventions – e.g. being a ‘fashion victim’ which is a horizontal counterpart to authoritarianism
- destructiveness – attempting to eliminate others – or yourself
The kind of tactic we use depends on our family culture. He talks about three kinds of families:
symbiotic families where some members of the family are ‘swallowed up’ by other members – typically this takes the form of children becoming the reflection of their parents’ wishes. This happens a lot with girls in traditional societies
- leads to the authoritarian escape
withdrawing families – Type 1 a more recent type which has evolved in Northern Europe over last 200 years. These families are prevalent wherever merchants became an important layer of society – essentially they are the bourgeousie
- parents very demanding of children
- perfectionism – living by the rules – is encouraged
- children expected to succeed & meet high standards
- leads to destructive escape – this is internalised until circumstances like war permit its release. We saw an outburst of children’s reaction to these pressures in the outburst of destructiveness in the recent London riots. It is clear that many of those taking part could not live according to these pressures & ideals
withdrawing families – Type 2 the modern family where children are considered the ‘equals’ of parents; parents want to be their kids’ buddies; children turn to peers for their values. The ‘modern, shallow, TV family’
- leads to automaton conformity
Fromm believes in what he calls the ‘social unconscious’ – unwritten rules dictated by class and culture which affect the way we think and behave. We aren’t even aware of these influences and may think we’re acting according to our free will when we aren’t. He identifies 5 orientations within this social unconscious:
- Receptive orientation. People who expect to receive what they need and are passive in their orientation. People with this orientation are found at the bottom of any society: slaves, serfs, welfare families. We might call this ‘benefits culture’. On the positive side they are accepting and optimistic; on the negative they are submissive and wishful.
- Exploitative orientation. People who expect to take what they need through coercion. Prevalent in upper classes – aristocracy, colonial powers. On the positive side, assertive, proactive. On the negative side, aggressive, seductive, coercive.
- Hoarding orientation. The emphasis here is on accumulating and keeping. This orientation is prevalent amongst the bourgeousie/middle classes and is exemplified by the Protestant Work Ethic. On the positive side, these people are economical, prudent and practical. On the negative side they are stingy and unimaginative.
- Marketing orientation. This is the orientation of modern society. The emphasis is on selling. A big emphasis on packaging and advertising. Preoccupation with things looking good – my family, job, education. On the positive side, this encourages sociability, purposefulness, being enterprising. On the negative side it gives rise to shallow, amoral, childish thinking and behaviour.
- Productive orientation. This is the ‘healthy’ one! These people do not shirk from freedom and responsibility. They value being rather than (as in all the other orientations) having. In the productive orientation you are defined by your actions not by what you have, you prefer reason to rules and freedom to conformity.
You can download a pdf of this summary here: Psychology on a Page 10: Fromm
With the previous two posts on Gestalt and Rogers I have started to focus in on the psychologists who have most influence on my contemporary thinking and practice. Another such is Otto Rank, the first non-medical practitioner of psycho-analysis.
Like many of Freud’s followers, Rank’s perspective on our nature and the developmental steps that shaped it differed from Freud’s – and on a topic that was central to Freud, the importance of the Oedipal Conflict in shaping our personality.
Rank believed that the influence of early experience made its impact long before the Oedipal period (usually said to last from 3 to 6 years). Rank cited the Birth Trauma as the experience that did most to shape our character. The essential effect of birth was, to Rank’s mind, the creation of something he called separation anxiety, the shadow of which followed us throughout life:
“Life in itself is a mere succession of separations. Beginning with birth, going through several weaning periods and the development of the individual personality, and finally culminating in death – which represents the final separation.”
We are then, to suffer ‘separation anxiety’ from birth against which we struggle by seeking to merge with or relate to others. This anxiety takes shape as a creative tension throughout life around whether to seek new untried paths or to follow tried and tested routes (e.g. products we’ve bought before) or simply to mimic others.
To summarise, we can reach a sense in Rank’s early thoughts of human life lived between the competing desires, on the one hand to separate, to individuate, while on the other to merge and surrender to the whole, to fall into the arms of another or our community. The point is that both these desires are present in the moment. This also translates to an orientation to time and process:
‘…the fear of both going forward and of going backward”
(Rank, 1929–31, p. 124).
When we translate this thinking into work and everyday life we can sense this intra-personal dilemma for ourselves, almost without exception in any moment of doubt or anxiety. Shall I go forward or backwards here – adopt a progressive approach or rely on ideas I have used before? Shall I go it alone or band together with others for support? At any moment then, in any choice, the creative tension between merging (or repeating known patterns) and individuating (striking out on a new path) must be a core influence on personal, professional and consumer decisions. For me it is vital that we encourage participants to explore the role of goods, services and brands in negotiating these issues – and arrive at a considered appraisal of where the community stands in weighing the ‘individuating’ or separating, versus ‘merging’ or joining properties of any brand now and in future.
I have visualized this tension here, which will appear if you click on this link: Creative Tension, after Rank
You can download a pdf of this summary here: Psychology on a Page 9: Rank
The core idea of Gestalt psychology is that a whole or ‘gestalt’ is perceptually primary rather than a secondary quality that emerges from its parts. This ‘whole’ seems to represent the innate way in which we experience things. Related to our Course and to our approach to psychology generally is the idea that phenomena or objects are perceived as ‘figure’ and ‘ground’. Hence the classic illustration above:
Which do you see first, the vase or the faces?
This is a similar principle to that of Foreground & Background that we use to illuminate the overt and covert parts of everyday consciousness in our practice and Courses. The important thing for us is that Background and Foreground do not exist independently of each other. They are in constant relationship and together form what the Gestaltists called a ‘Weltanschauung’ or world-view. This ‘Weltanschauung’ forms the blueprint for our actions. As Carl Rogers neatly puts it: “Behaviour is basically the goal-directed attempt of the organism to satisfy its needs as experienced, in the field as perceived.”
You can see immediately that any inquiry hoping to lead to an understanding or prediction of our actions – if it fails to account for the existence of Foreground and Background – and their interplay – is likely to be inaccurate and unreliable, simply because it fails to apprehend the reality of the way we experience the world.
So, creating an inquiry process that allows the emergence of Foreground & Background is crucial. Next, we need to check the prominence of aspects of these two parts – we need to ask which is critical in driving behaviour in any given circumsatnces? This notion of prominence bears relation to the Behavioural Economists’ idea of Choice Architecture: the similarity is the idea of a way in which perceptions are arranged that leads to preferences.
The ‘Gestalt’ is not an easy thing to explain: everyone experiences the beauty of a summer evening, or the wonder of winter snow. But these things are not easy to report or take notes on. Somehow, ‘white flakes falling’ doesn’t do it justice – even though it is accurate in a sense.
The rush to generalisation is common across many fields of inquiry: it simplifies the world and gives an impression that you know the facts. An illustration is a famous joke made in earlier days by psychoanalysts about their clients: it goes: “If they are early, they’re anxious; if on time, they’re obsessional; and if they’re late, they’re hostile.”
It is easy to sneer at these kinds of statements and claim not to be party to them, but most of our attempts to explain or understand run the risk of making too simplistic generalisations about things that are related in a complex manner. Starting with the whole rather than the parts often leads to a more realistic solution.
Here is a pdf: Psychology on a Page: Gestalt
Rogers’ theory of the self is humanistic and phenomenological. However, in spite of a ‘New Age’ fascination with Rogers, his work is neither ephemeral nor lacking empirical foundations. He always stood for embracing and evaluating evidence from the phenomena and experiences of the people he met and the meanings that they made of their lives.
His theory was based on 19 propositions that I have reduced to the 12 most important for our Course and practice:
- All individuals (organisms) exist in a continually changing world of experience of which they are the centre.
- The organism reacts to the field as it is experienced and perceived. This perceptual field is “reality” for the individual.
- A portion of the total perceptual field gradually becomes differentiated as the self. [This is my favourite: a wonderful description of how we emerge from our background in a way that allows never-ending re-evaluation and renewal!]
- As a result of interaction with the environment, and particularly as a result of interaction with others, the structure of the self is formed – an organized, fluid but consistent conceptual pattern of perceptions of characteristics and relationships of the “I” or the “me”, together with values attached to these concepts.
- The organism has a basic tendency and striving – to actualize, maintain and enhance the organism. On occasions this can lead to maladaptive behaviour.
- The best vantage point for understanding behaviour is from the internal frame of reference of the individual.
- Behaviour is basically the goal-directed attempt of the organism to satisfy its needs as experienced, in the field as perceived.
- Emotion accompanies, and in general facilitates, such goal directed behaviour, the kind of emotion being related to the perceived significance of the behaviour for the maintenance and enhancement of the organism.
- Most of the ways of behaving that are adopted by the organism are those that are consistent with the concept of self.
- In some instances, behaviour may be brought about by organic experiences and needs which have not been symbolized. Such behaviour may be inconsistent with the structure of the self but in such instances the behaviour is not “owned” by the individual.
- Any experience which is inconsistent with the organization of the structure of the self may be perceived as a threat, and the more of these perceptions there are, the more rigidly the self structure is organized to maintain itself.
- Under certain conditions, involving primarily complete absence of threat to the self structure, experiences which are inconsistent with it may be perceived and examined, and the structure of self revised to assimilate and include such experiences.
Additionally, Rogers is known for practicing “unconditional positive regard,” which we have adapted for our Course and practice as a ‘culture of acknowledgment’. You will find many more examples of the influence of Roger’s on my thinking and practice here, published in the IJMR (International Journal of Market Research, May 2012): Paper Website Version
Here is a pdf of this page for your records: Psychology on a Page: Carl Rogers
In the second video on Action Techniques we show the ‘Blindfold Game’. This is another example of the techniques we will be teaching people how to design and use on our Advanced Qualitative Course.
The point is that in the information age it’s possible to be just as in the dark as at other times. People are so dependent on the Internet & call centres for information that it can be difficult to find out what other user’s experiences are really like. It’s easy to forget that websites and call centres are biased in the sellers interest, and that in high-cost services like insurance, healthcare or education, processes are not just complicated, they are complex because they rely on so many individual elements coming together over time. Thus predictability and reliability are hard to ensure – they can only be guaranteed by putting yourself in customer’s shoes to notice the effects that different circumstances have on customers. Then you can build services to allow or compensate for them. This is particularly important in services that deal with misfortune, like insurance and healthcare. In education you can witness each year the massive ‘clean-up’ operation – known as Clearing – that swings into action due to misfortune in students A level performance.
Action Techniques like the Blindfold Game help to train staff to grasp the bigger picture of customer experiences and what it takes to serve them.
In our second look at the unconscious mind for insight workers we think about a human being, full of vulnerabilities – as well as potentials – and ask ourselves what role would make sense for an unconscious mind in such a creature?
Above all, you would want to preserve its life, its existence. This must be a primary process for without this life there can be no person. This simple fact shapes an unconscious mind that, whatever else it might come up with, must be conservative, attracted to reliable solutions, routes and routines. Thus the unconscious favours things it has ‘seen’ before, it favours the usual route to work, the brand of biscuits you’ve already tried, the people you know and the tried and tested idea. This explains how you can do familiar things like driving home without thinking.
It was under the influence of Jung (see here: Psychology on a Page 2: Jung) that our notion of the unconscious took a turn towards the mystical, ephemeral & unknowable, while at the same time the Behaviourists (see here: Psychology on a Page 4: Behaviourism) proposed an unconscious that was animalistic, instinctive and unknowable in a different way. I believe both of these ideas are inaccurate to a considerable degree (though contain ‘grains of truth’ that we will explore further) and have created a popular idea of the unconscious an unreachable, impenetrable place – when in reality it is in view at every moment.
My own view is that the unconscious is made up of symbols, all of which are represented in language (for language is after all the structure of thinking as well as of communication). Its building blocks are words and its structure is grammatical. As we shall see over the next posts, these words are not simply sounds, but each one is attached to an image, a set of associations – and the uncomfortable examples of these are repressed or hidden from the view of others and ourselves.
The results of the experiments described in the link below are unsurprising if you’re following these posts about how the unconscious mind operates.
The next time your great idea at work elicits silence or eye rolls, it might pay to think about this reaction. This research indicates that people don’t know what a creative idea looks like and that creativity, hailed as a positive change agent, actually makes people squirm. We found this out very early on in our co-creation work and from this generated an orientation approach that would help participants overcome their unconscious rejection of novelty. You must model and adapt such a process if you don’t want the ideas you are evaluating or generating to be automatically rejected!
Many of us have formed the impression that the unconscious is deep below the surface, invisible, unknowable, out-of-reach – a bit like the huge mass beneath the water in the picture.
This is simply untrue. It is present with us, intruding, dancing in and out of sight every moment of the day (and night!)
It is visible in body language, gestures, tone of voice – as we all know from trying to figure out what others mean/intend towards us. But it is also present in language, all of the time in virtually every sentence or phrase we speak.
The relationship between the conscious and unconscious is much more like that of two voices, a foreground voice (consciousness) and a background (unconscious). This is clearly illustrated in the moebius strip you will find here: Foreground and Background in communication
So how do we get in touch with it in an active way that engages the group?
You can do this early in a session like a meeting or focus group by speaking about the idea of foreground and background voices – where the background is both the little voice ‘speaking’ in our heads and the significance that we attach to ordinary statements without realising it – while the foreground is what actually gets said.
So let’s say you ask your group members to go around telling each other their names and one fact about themselves. Let’s imagine two responses you might get:
“Hello, my name’s Ian…and I love walking!”
“Hi, I’m Marie and I’m into fashion, big time!”
These are terribly short and apparently small pieces of information. However, they are much more potentially revealing of unconscious processes than at first meets the eye. This is because before choosing the topic of walking or fashion, Ian & Marie will have momentarily rehearsed a whole set of other things they might have said: e.g. ‘I love home-cooking’, or ‘I have more colds than anyone I know’ and so on. The key point is that they chose the things they did – out of all the things they could have said – in order to present something about themselves that they wanted others to be conscious of. To do this not only have they deleted some things they might say, but they are hoping to evoke certain associations and popular meanings by their choices. However, they may hardly be conscious of what they’re doing themselves, but the group will ‘hear’ both the words and some aspect of the unconscious intention.
So, to touch or tap the unconscious, the interesting follow up remark is not: “Tell us what you like about walking/fashion.” BUT: “of all the things you might have said to this group of people, what made you choose walking/fashion?”
Allow that it might not have been a deep reason, or even if it was it may be too early to reveal it in an introduction, but what you have done by asking this is to bring into the foreground the presence of the background – and show how it shapes and determines what we say in line with our motivations and wishes. It is also possible that Ian & Marie may have chosen this information in order to avoid other, less comfortable, less normal tit-bits. So, after checking in with Ian & Marie with “of all the things etc.” ask the next two group members, “I’d be really interested to hear one of the selections that came up in your mind that you chose not to say to the group.”
Be sure to normalize and praise every piece of information yielded and to enforce safety and acceptance in the group so that no-one is shamed or sneered at, and then go on to ask the next two members: “We’ve gone this far, it’d be interesting to ask you to share one of the things you would have been more reluctant to put out into the group. Are you willing to have a go at that?”
In this way, even in the first 10 minutes of our session we are working with background unconscious material and bringing it to light in an interesting and innocuous fashion. I guarantee that your group will be fascinated by this style of working, and that you have already created permission to delve into the unconscious intentions of the group at any time along the way – providing that you update the group’s permission and deal sensitively with the material.
Have you got a couple of seconds? Have a look at the pictures above. They are all designed to capture or hook your attention.
I hope one of those grabbed you. By the way, it does not matter if they turned you on or off – what I’m trying to do is stimulate your fast archaic loop for processing that bypasses the cortex (which you must have returned to if you’re still reading!) and engages the autonomic nervous system – the one that controls heart-rate, pulse, feelings…more instinctive, automatic processes if you like.
The point here is that by engaging this by-pass we put your emotions more in control of your responses. Your feelings are now plugged directly into the stimulus – and will be influential in generating a response. That’s why sex sells. As does the power of ‘free’ (see Dan Ariely’s, Predictably Irrational). Nowadays there are more and more books that speak about the huge role of the unconscious in driving decisions, choices and behaviour. Here are links to just two of them:
In an era of shorter attention spans, where unconscious process are often in the driving seat, the hook becomes an all-important mechanism. The hook is the means by which you attract attention it is also the gateway to sustaining attention. In the images above the third ‘hook’ – the falling man picture – is designed to create an element of surprise and wonder – what will happen to the falling man? It also creates a dilemma and the mind does not like unresolved dilemmas, so is tempted to follow them through to resolution – and does this through active fantasy, “I wonder what happened to that guy?”
So in a world that is increasingly full of information, capturing attention is critical. It is inevitable that as the amount of information grows what will decline is the amount of attention given to any particular piece – so you need to know what captures people’s attention and why.
The hook is the most powerful device used in television programming and advertising to gain and sustain the viewer’s attention. In the hands of a master like Jimmy McGovern (who writes ‘gritty’, realistic British drama), there is a clear formula – which in condensed form also applies to television advertising and online content. This formula is not expressed anywhere as a theorem, but in reviewing the most successful TV dramas and commercials of the last twenty years I have noticed that the ‘hook’ must be employed within five minutes of starting the programme – within seconds if it is a commercial.
There are several types of hook and they vary between the sensory hooks that seize our attention because they are outside of normal experience, and the underlying deeper motive or part of us that the lure attempts to hook. We will deal with three stimulus variants first:
1. The shock – this is usually some quite spectacular or unexpected event, like the world falling asleep in FastForward, the battle on the beaches in the first minutes of Saving Private Ryan or a killing in a crime show. The engaging nature of the shock results from the adrenalin rush or excitement that it causes. In commercials, shocks are less serious, more bizarre or unreal, like the city-wide roller-coaster in the Barclaycard Contactless commercial or the flash mobs in airports or stations in the T-mobile campaign. The shock both hooks you and stimulates your adrenalin which in turn focuses your attention.
2. The puzzle. It is usual for the shock to give rise to the puzzle – and for the puzzle to be the means by which attention is sustained. Puzzles leave the watcher wondering – what, why, who, how – questions that demand resolution. It is the success of these elements in holding our attention – the shock leading into the puzzle, that make crime shows the world’s most popular entertainment.
Two interesting forms of puzzle that have contemporary value are
- The technological puzzle – a conundrum that can only be resolved using scientific and technological procedures of the highest order – many of us are endlessly tinkering with these as we try to improve our skills in surfing, streaming, downloading etc. This type of puzzle is the basis of the CSI television series.
- The paradox – here the essential hook lies in the contradiction between truth and falsity – an obvious delight for the participant, providing the paradox is ultimately resolved. What is the answer? Which are legitimate clues, which red-herrings?
3. The Competition. Who will win? Who will be best? How would I do facing these tests? Could I beat these people? Nowadays, the reality TV shows – like X Factor – in which people start out as beginners and are rapidly transformed into ‘stars’ draw the highest audiences of any TV show in the land. As you will notice as you read below, the competition plays straight into both regressive (Play) and progressive (Power) motives.
Now coming onto the deeper motivations, there are four main areas where things hook us:
1. Seduction – something is so attractive and desirable that you are magnetised and held in its sway. This can be a person, a product or an idea. It’s easiest when its straightforward sexual attraction, but you will notice that many other things are either associated with sex or presented in such style that they seem sensual. Lighting and camerawork can make a car look sleek, cool and sexy.
2. Power – the most progressive hooking mechanism is the suggestion that you will be in some way increased should you buy the product or service. It will enhance your image, your speed, your appearance, your prestige or status. Since so much of our society is preoccupied with status and standing, having more power – even if only by association – is no mean thing.
3. Comfort – more regressive in approach, these hooks usually rely upon memory or familiarity, prior knowledge or interest. Sentimentality is often a key ingredient. We all have our favourites, things we are drawn to automatically – because we are fans, because we have invested in earlier episodes or versions, because there is a lot of hype/media interest, because we know that all our friends are also using or watching the same things. One of the wonderful things about the comfort hook is that it involves minimum effort!
4. Play – again, appealing to the regressive, more childlike part of us are the appeals to play. Often these involve a large component of active fantasy as we can see in commercials for video games or new programmes/movies.
We all inhabit a world where people are increasingly setting out to hook or engage our attention. The consequence of this fight for our minds is that we have engineered increasingly sophisticated defences. The most direct of these is Studied Inattention. Its partner is rebuttal.
Contemporary opinion suggests that marketing and advertising has less power because of the diversification of channels and platforms. My own view is that this is often an excuse for work that has a low or inaccurate appreciation of hooks and/or motivations.
What do people do when they put aside their professional roles? What do you and your mates do on the way home from a match or a party? What level of debate do you usually reach when watching the X Factor? What sells newspapers and magazines?
The answer to all of these is one word: gossip.
We love to chat with no holds barred about the things that piss us off, excite us, amuse us and just intrigue us. Much of this chat is superficially critical – a kind of offloading of judgments, assessments, opinions. But its real role is more profound, it generates a kind of creative commons where everyone’s input is welcome and irreverence rather than compliance rules the roost.
We have, of course in our wisdom, largely banished gossip from focus groups and qualitative research. It threatens to be too irreverent, critical and judgmental and we are worried that members of the public will pour cold water on anything given the chance. Just as you and I do!
Yet in gossip, what we really notice and pay attention to is revealed. Our envy, desire, status anxiety, drivers – both to fight and flee – are all apparent in five minutes gossip and you don’t have to ‘probe’. You only ever really have to probe if people are scared or indifferent – more often the latter than the former in market research.
So, how can you use the Power of Gossip to illuminate your work?
Here’s how. Set up a Gossip Game in the group. Here’s an outline of how I might do it.
“Let’s start with a well-known figure who polarizes opinion. Someone who has both fans and foes. Let’s take Bono of U2. Who is willing to represent him as fans, who as foes? Let’s have a couple of minutes each way. We’ll let the foes go first!”
“OK, we’re talking about salad dressings. I’d like to divide the group into two, four of you to discuss salad dressings as fans for a couple of minutes. The other four to listen and be ready to express your criticism of salad dressings in response to the praise of the fans. Don’t worry fans, you’ll get a chance to get your own back on the critics once they’ve done their bit.”
Here’s another method. Print off Mastheads from newspapers like the News of the World or the Sun and invite members of the group working as pairs to write headlines or stories about the product or service as they might appear in the Sun/NOW. They can search Google for images to go with their story. We only need the headline and the first couple of sentences of the story.
The point here is that this is emotional material, there is a freedom to express emotional positions without fear of looking bad or stupid.
The fact is that these may not be committed opinions, but they are social & cultural tropes – and so say a lot about the underlying opinions and judgments we hold. In a way, these games with gossip allow a group to reverse the process whereby they are invited to comment on an endorser or presenter associated with a brand. This kind of endorsement is obviously done to sprinkle stardust on a product, but allowing people to gossip about it will show you your product’s strengths and weaknesses quicker than anything.
We often want to maximize the appeal of the brand/person/service we’re working on. Giving people rational measurements like scales or discussions drives satisficing, not maximizing measures. Gossip is, by its very nature a maximizing activity. Everything gets exaggerated, good and bad – and in the exaggerations the true attachments or problems with the brand lie.
The cartoon shows the three Primary Representation Systems from NLP; vision, hearing and feeling.
There was a great deal of excitement about NLP, right from its origins in 1979. It appeared to offer not only some interesting and original ideas, but most of all an access to techniques which anyone, with a little training could use to create ‘magic’.
Magic was a core idea in NLP used to describe the fact that certain therapy practitioners could accomplish more in terms of transformation and change than others. These therapists’ seemed able to do magic, but Richard Bandler and John Grinder argued that their processes could be broken down, modelled and copied and then would work for anyone who applied them appropriately. Expert therapists modeled in the early days of NLP were Fritz Perls, founder of Gestalt Therapy, Virginia Satir, founder of family therapy and the hypnotherapist, Milton Erickson.
Essentially NLP is a set of tools for breaking down, analysing and copying successful processes for change. In addition, it included some ideas about the links between language (including body language) and underlying feelings, values and motives. In particular, NLP challenged three common events in language; distortions, deletions and generalisations. It tackled these by asking the speaker to be specific about how they had come about and thus recovering the deletions, specifying the generalisations and straightening out the distortions. From these interventions, new insights emerged.
Another central idea of NLP is ‘the map is not the territory’ which argues that each of us only ever operates on the basis of our internal representation of the world (our ‘map’) and not the world itself (‘the territory’). This resonates with the idea expressed in ‘Freud on a Page’ (see Blog Archive), that the internal forces always dominate the external representations. We thus limit, distort and impoverish our capabilities by our use of a map that is unable to express the full possibilities and potentialities available – because it is coloured by deletions, generalisations and distortions.
A third core idea of NLP is that of the Primary Representation System. This refers to our major senses and the role each plays in forming our ‘map’ of the world. Each of us builds this ‘map’ using the five senses, visual (V), auditory (A), kinaesthetic (K), the primary three and olfactory (O), and gustatory (G) in secondary place. The idea is that each of us favours a single modality of sensory inputs and thus our ‘maps’ are made of internal pictures (V), sounds/dialogue (A) or feelings (K). These preferences were believed to be reflected in each person’s choice of ‘predicates’ (“I see…” (V), “I hear…”(A), “I feel…”K). NLP theorists believed that eye movements were indicative of which representational system was being used, as shown in the cartoon at the top of the post. Visual representations were signalled by eyes upwards to the left or right, auditory by eyes moving across on the central level, and kinaesthetic by eyes downwards. An interesting simple test is to sustain a downwards look and notice how difficult it is to stop feelings from welling up!
So far so good. So popular and teachable did NLP seem that within a couple of years a whole host of practitioner organisations offering ‘Practitioner’ and ‘Master Practitioner’ courses had sprung up and many people enrolled in these. Business became excited by the potential of NLP to guide and empower change.
However, some serious scientific analysts were finding it hard to establish empirical evidence for the efficacy of NLP. Experimenters have found little evidence of a stable trait in use of predicates and that subjects tended to change their predicates according to the nature of the perceptual tasks they were given. In other experiments they found, that ‘K’ predicates far outweighed all others in groups of subjects. Once again, we must be careful to use what is practical and useful from NLP without seeing it as a miracle application that can do anything.
One memorable and highly useful acronym from NLP has remained with me since the early days when I was a student of Robert Dilts and David Gordon on their first UK visits.
It is Match>Pace>Lead
I still find this technique of matching people, joining them at their pace using their body language and verbal style a brilliant way to lead people towards challenging or unfamiliar tasks. You need to be careful to match, not mock – if you are spotted mimicking people too crudely they can feel you are mocking them!
Too soon I have reached the end of my page – indeed, this one runs to two pages – so I will post more on NLP soon, particularly on the technique of reframing which we have used successfully to revitalise brands, services, corporate and institutional reputations. You will find a pdf of this post here:
My tip today is: don’t probe or pressurize people to provide reasons or justifications. They’ll just make stuff up to satisfy you. This is known as ‘confabulation’. Instead, take the pressure off, open things up, don’t pursue! How would you like to be ‘probed’. Sounds like the dentist!
To get a better sense of the ways in which we deceive ourselves have a look here: http://www.spring.org.uk/2007/11/10-piercing-insights-into-human-nature.php
I am amazed by the amount of poor and unhelpful process in focus groups – and process that flies in the face of our increasing scientific knowledge of how choices are made. Much of it stems from the early ideas of psychodynamic psychologists like Freud and Jung that the psyche is a bit like an iceberg, with only a little showing on the surface while much is hidden beneath. From this the idea of probing surely emerges, what if we could poke about beneath the surface to find out what’s there?
This leaves a lot of researchers busily seeking tools or techniques to dig deeper. The favourite is the question: “Why?” Unfortunately this is usually both unhelpful and leads to false attributions. We know for sure that people don’t want to appear thoughtless or irrational in front of others, so they make up a reason that satisfies the questioner.
Look at the beautiful iceberg. You could say the white bit represents conscious mind and the larger part beneath the surface the unconscious. It’s true that more and more research shows that much of our decision-making happens automatically, within the unconscious, and so it is important to think about how to reach these more hidden areas. But if you think for a second about how Freud and Jung went about it, they created settings that were as pressure free as possible and just asked people to talk about what came to mind. They did not pressure or probe people, they realised that matters of importance would surface if people were free to raise them in the manner and pace that suited them!
So, my favourite ‘probe’:
“Could you please say some more about that?”
My tip this week is this:
If you are to get the most out of an inquiry or study, become immersed in the phenomenon you are investigating. More particularly, see if you can begin to reflect upon & empathise with the significance that it has in everyday lives. Do this particularly if the product or service you are exploring has little attraction or interest for you in your life.
Everything I have ever worked on has had such significance, it’s just a matter of letting yourself be open to experiencing it. It’s best to start this process long before the fieldwork actually begins. Get yourself some experience of buying, using, chatting about, taking the mick out of, finding some friends who love/hate the thing you are about to explore.
Take this on as a ‘way of being,’ not just a mere data collection exercise. Become someone who is embroiled in the laundry and all its related activities. See if you can take the automobile you’re hired to investigate for a test drive. If it’s an insurance product, get a quote and while you’re doing so, ask what the most useful and the most irritating aspects of that experience are.
Many of the products or services that qualitative researchers are asked to explore are ordinary, everyday things. Such things, although you personally may not use them, constitute significant small acts for their users and it is the researcher’s job to get under the skin of these acts in order to appreciate their weight and significance in the lives of others. Their significance will always have some psychological value too – from products that remind them of their mum or dad to those that offer hope for their children. Things as apparently commonplace and dull as washing powder and toothpaste can command this sort of significance.
It is often in the territory of ‘small significance’ that you will find the clues that can best help your client, whether h/she was prompted by strategic or tactical reasons to do the research.
Now we focus in on the heart of breakthrough psychology, the idea of abnorming – born out of my eventual realisation that no theory, no matter how cool, could explain all that we are.
This is the key reason why I’ve bothered to learn about so many of the great ideas in psychology – and to keep them in my back pocket. You never know when they’ll come in handy!
Let me know your thoughts!
This fourth video starts to tackle the conditions needed for creating depth in contact with people. It is in my view an illusion that you create any reliable real contact by venturing straight in to what may be twenty or more questions to strangers about their lives! I think that Relationships are the Source of Results and that at least one third of our time should be spent creating and building them!
It was in the area of structure that we favoured the idea of co-creation and developed the principles and techniques for abnorming. I had long believed that people’s potential was determined more by the circumstances they found themselves in and their pathway towards those circumstances than by their innate creativity or intelligence. I don’t believe that either of these two capabilities, much favoured by experts & elites are fixed qualities that have been doled out in rations between us! There are just too many examples of people accomplishing exceptional things (often in exceptional circumstances) for any other explanation to make sense. Not just exceptional good things either: if you read the coverage about the policeman who ‘truncheoned’ Ian Tomlinson to the ground, you’ll find his creative interpretation of Mr Tomlinson’s ‘aggressive behaviour’ quite imaginative and his mixing of ‘towards’ with ‘away from’ equally inventive. The policeman said under oath that Tomlinson was approaching the police line aggressively, while the video shows him walking away.
I suspect too, that in the Courts of Justice there is an epidemic of everyday lying that illustrates huge resources of creativity and confabulation available to the ordinary man when the chips are down!
I will return to the damning ideas of special talents, elites and ‘gifted’ people again as I discuss our experiences of Breakthrough Zones in future posts.
We must also take up the topic of everyday lying and distortion so well demonstrated by this video and the policeman’s story. What if lying – or at least confabulation (making up explanations/rationalisations on the spur of the moment) – is the standard procedure in ordinary focus groups and interviews? Surely that means that for many clients getting the ‘reportage’ of what was said in the session is the booby prize!
To return to our theme: how could we create the sort of circumstances in which accomplishing the exceptional became the norm?
From years of brainstorming and facilitating new ideas sessions, I had discovered the faults of brainstorming methods: I found myself in agreement with the synopsis given by Keith Sawyer in his excellent, ‘Group Genius’. Here Keith outlines the three reasons why brainstorming groups are less creative than impromptu groups (called Nominal Groups in the classic Osborn study):
- Social Inhibition
- Production Blocking
- Social Loafing
I will return to each of these – and what you can do about them in the Tips section. In summary, you may be starting to gather that I think that many of the conventional ideas about human beings and what happens to them when they get together are simply wrong. To test the validity of any widely promoted idea (like intelligence, talent, expertise) you need to consider who benefits most from these ideas, allow for the experimenter effect and include the value of the ideas in maintaining the status quo. Each of these three ideas appear to limit the potential for the rest of us when compared to the best of us. We can thank reality TV for beginning the process of dismantling these shibboleths.
Have a lovely weekend!
Although I am the storyteller, the story is not mine alone. It is born from the thousands of people who have given me their time, their opinions and their feelings across 29 countries in nearly 40 years – on topics ranging from toothpaste to athlete’s foot, from tax dodging to thoughts of dying.
Without them, I could not have honed my craft, such as it is, and I would not have had the privilege of watching them uncover insight and the impact it had upon them.
From windy wet nights in Northern Cities, to sunny days in Singapore and Sydney I have gigged again and again. I have never missed a group or an interview, although I once was swept off my feet by the power of the wind in a snowstorm in Edinburgh, carrying an art-bag which acted as a sail to lift me into the air. Another time I left the results on the train and cowered for days wondering whether to come clean or hightail it to the badlands. One night in Bristol I listened to a woman tell a rapt group her recipe for roast Badger. I hope you don’t want it; I have forgotten everything except the unusual fact that it contained Flora margarine – the proper subject of the discussion.
This is my first blog and the very first post. Over the coming weeks I will do my best to share with you what I have learned in all those years and hope you will join me in talking about these matters, sharing your own tips or advice and creating a community among those of us who form the frontline of the insight business.
Every week I will post a new video, talking about some of the topics that matter most to me. I will also accompany these with pdfs of the text and slides so that you can use them for study or in projects or contact me about them if you want to. Nearly all of this is original material as far as I know.
Each week will follow a similar structure. I’ll tell you more about that soon. I hope you enjoy the Blog and look forward to hearing from you…