Democratizing Research is Product Management

If you really want to reinvent your organization, you need to drive a culture of learning and a culture of democratizing research.”

Nis Frome, Co-Founder and VP of Product at Alpha, Roddy Knowles, VP of Research at Alpha, and Alexa Szal, Product Manager at Alpha, discuss how Alpha built an organizational strategy around data democratization, and how product teams and insights professionals can co-create the future state of research. 

The world has gone from complicated to complex, resulting in a decision-making gap facing many companies today: a lack of access to actionable data and silos that prevent organizational-wide learning.

Companies, needing to adapt to the rapid pace of change, have adopted new tools and tech to help them scale data and insights gathering. Alpha is one of those tools. Alpha, a rapid consumer feedback platform, gives companies the ability to go from data to insight to intelligence.

The product has evolved significantly since Alpha was founded in 2014. “Five years ago, I remember when we were selling to product and digital teams. The conversation was just selling the concept of experimentation,” says Nis Frome, co-founder and VP of Product at Alpha. “So, interestingly, most of our users were not researchers historically. We didn’t normally interface with consumer insights teams.”

As more and more non-product teams use Alpha to scale agile research, these new insight gathering techniques have affected the research industry, which has historically prioritized statistical rigor, not speed.

“If your product team is agile, which most are, what does it actually mean? It means not trying to find one answer and make a business decision off of it, which can be what market research is. It’s about constant learning, constant testing, and directionality. I think that’s an interesting thing to market research sometimes,” says Roddy Knowles, VP of Research at Alpha. “There is no one right direction. You’re constantly moving and ebbing and flowing. Constant directionality is something that a lot of researchers have to grapple with. Sometimes it can be a bit of a mindset shift when you’re trying to work and collaborate with product teams.”

The answer to the speed vs. rigor debate, according to Roddy, lies in how research and product teams find better ways to collaborate. Insights professionals must figure out which parts of the research process they can make more efficient, without cutting corners. It helps too, he says, for organizations to recognize that the true value of agile will be the increased frequency of learning, not speed.

In fact, Alpha’s product evolution that Nis described can be attributed to agile research and experimentation. As Alexa Szal, Product Manager at Alpha, explained, one example was the launch of research templates which, like other product features that came before it, was informed by a series of iterative experiments, customer feedback, and testing.

In this episode, you’ll learn a lot about data democratization, agile research, collaboration, and insights sharing.

Here are the highlights: 

Nis Frome, Roddy Knowles, and Alexa Szal

Co-Founder and VP of Product, Alpha; VP of Research, Alpha; Product Manager, Alpha

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