Clear Field of View for the New Year

Post by Jeff Henn

Senior Research Manager, Baltimore Research

New year, new view.  New view…isn’t that what really keeps our spirits alive?  Whether it’s a new vista or just a new way of seeing the old, it sure gets my creative juices flowing.  Call it what you will: freshness, newness, or greenness; it’s clear that having a different perspective is vital to reaching our next level business goals and objectives.  Often times it helps to have outside counsel.  Sometimes it helps to cross pollinate with vastly different industries.  Other times it makes most sense to exchange with industry peers.

Take “clear field” for what it’s worth.  At first I thought crisp and unobstructed view of the landscape or terrain ahead.  But then I started thinking it also means empty, as in a blank canvas.  Not barren, but something waiting to be filled.  What do you want to put in your field of view?

When traveling for work I often get much fulfillment from the experience because it’s different from my normal routine. I get to see new places, and most of all I get new ideas from other people.  As of late, I’ve tried to harness this locally too.  Getting to know people nearby on new and different levels yields almost the same energy and enthusiasm I get from traveling (sans any new vistas).

It just so happens that my anniversary date at Baltimore Research is close to January 1st.  In the 11 plus years that I’ve been in marketing research, I’ve come to appreciate the value of outside counsel and objective 3rd party viewpoints.  I promote it both to clients and research participants, but also benefit from it as a consultant.  Over the years I’ve had the good fortune of working with some amazingly bright clients in healthcare, financial services, education, print and digital media, and architecture and design to name a few.  With each new study I gain so much in terms of a new way of seeing things.  Sure there’s the knowledge gained from the research findings; but the perspectives from new and rekindled client relationships are worth more than gold.

As I was writing this, I kept thinking about a quote that continues to resonate with me since I first encountered it years ago.  French author Marcel Proust is credited with saying: “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”  How true!  Granted, traveling for work or pleasure will usually lead to both new landscapes and [hopefully] having “new eyes,” but the real beauty and power is that having new eyes is something we can cultivate within our daily lives and routines.  We can all do this in more ways by mixing things up in our own stomping grounds.  Regardless of your industry or role at work, make it a point in 2014 to be a more active participant in your industry.  This could take the form of hosting a business mixer after hours, joining your local or regional trade association, or attending a symposium or conference that is not directly related to your core industry.

Have a thought on how to better mix things up?  If so, please email me at jeff@baltimoreresearch.com to help me mix it up in 2014 and see things differently.

About Jeff Henn:

Jeff has spent the last 11 years working as a qualitative research consultant for Stewart Marketing & Associates / Baltimore Research.  He most enjoys running focus groups, in-depth-interviews and ethnographic research.  Recent research categories include: education, healthcare, financial services, and print and online media.  When asked what he does, he often responds with – “we help companies figure out what their customers want, need and are willing to buy.  Knowing that I’ve provided insight for my client’s marketing strategies gives me the most fulfillment.”

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