Human to Human: Perspectives from Our People Part 1

In our Human to Human blog series, we dive into the human side of Sparks Grove to learn more about our people behind the business. Today, we are speaking with Brett Patterson, who is one of our Senior Insights & Strategy Managers. She has the curiosity of a kindergartener, enthusiasm beyond her caffeine levels and the most colorful wardrobe in our office.

Q: What are the biggest challenge(s) of research in today’s world? (internally and externally)

A: Our challenges are twofold. Both internally and externally, it is in how we define ourselves and the value we bring. We are insights, not just research. Yes, we do both qualitative and quantitative research, but the extraction and application of the insights is just as much a part of what our team delivers. So, while a representative number of interviews or a statistically significant sample size may give a certain degree of comfort, a consistent customer lens from start to finish and the ability to always answer “Why?” should add even more confidence. Lastly, speed is always a challenge. It can take time to plan, collect, and synthesize insights, but our team is constantly innovating our approach to deliver meaningful insights quickly and iteratively that are actionable for our clients’ businesses.

Q: Within the insights practice context, how do you see human experience being delivered to customers?

A: Nothing seems more human to me than sitting down with a human at their house and talking to them about their experiences. One of the key skills with these types of interviews is empathy. Being able to put yourself in their shoes not only establishes a sense of comfort that allows them to be more transparent, but it also puts you in the mindset to ask questions to reveal deeper insights around needs, goals, motivations, and behaviors. Understanding these human needs not only allows us to be adaptive in our response and subsequent designs, but it also sets a foundation of deeper cognitive understanding.

Q: Designing for human experiences is about making an impact and changing lives, if you could change the world what would you do?

A: This is a very intriguing question and this is why I’m really glad I am not some type of world leader or God for that matter. Having that type of power makes me think I need to go big (or at least answer like a Miss America contestant) to solve world peace or hunger. While those options would be nice, I think I would be more drawn to a mission of contentment or the elimination of worry. That could manifest itself in someone not having to worry about their safety or where their next meal will come from, but it could also impact those weighed down by general anxiety. I think that kind of change would feel like a bigger accomplishment in my book.

Q: What do you hope to see in the future for your area of practice?

It is a very exciting time to be part of the insights team. My team is a group of talented individuals with diverse backgrounds that allows us to tackle clients’ challenges from multiple perspectives. As more internal teams and clients start to see the power that truly meaningful insights work can have on anything from improving their customer/employee experiences to driving innovation and marketing strategy, I hope we will continue to further integrate into larger project teams across industries so that we improve our approach and contribute to those markets.

Q: Since you’re typically interviewing others, what’s it like to be the interviewee?

A: I like to think that I would be an excellent interviewee because I have spent so much time interviewing individuals and groups in numerous settings, but in all likelihood I am sure that is quite false. Having an insights brain in this scenario may lend itself to making sure answers aren’t vague, but I also find myself analyzing my own answers as they come out of my mouth – never a good thing for eliminating bias or self-consciousness.