Lessons from the Playground


Playground pic


A social experiment was conducted years ago. The lessons demonstrate the value of constraints in thinking creatively.

Two groups of children were studied. This first group was directed to a playground without a fence. The second group directed to a playground enclosed by a fence.

Researchers discovered that children in the first group (without the fence), explored less territory of the playground area than those in the second group (with the fence).

This presents an interesting concept for us “adults,” and another way to view the constraints that we are given- by our employer, our industry, our society, and so on.

Without constraint, we are tempted to keep too closely to our comfort zone. Leaning on what we know. It’s more difficult to push our own thinking, because we don’t know where and when it becomes too risky. Constraints such as budget, time, competition, etc. can actually provide a construct for thinking more creatively.

Another way to think about it is through the lens of a successful startup. They start their business, then at some point the organization is challenged and goes through a time of adversity (funding, scale, changing industry, consumer trends, etc.). These constraints create an environment in which the team is forced to think differently. They are forced to push the boundaries, but to also respect them for what they are. Those who are bold enough to put in the effort win the battle.


Will Krieger

Defining Creativity

will blog


There is a lot of talk about creativity these days, and rightfully so. It’s critical in today’s competitive environment. But, as with any popular topic, there are many offering advice, and it can be difficult to determine what point-of-view to believe. I’m an advocate for creating your own definitions first, not relying solely on Google and others.

In graduate school, I took a course taught by Drew Boyd on Systematic Inventive Thinking, a process for ideation and invention. He started the course with an assignment asking us to define innovation. Not to regurgitate the definition from Webster or Wikipedia, but for us to define it on our own.

This process unlocked and opened mental doors for me. As a millennial, I admit that I rely on Google too often. This exercise showed me how to expand my own thinking on a subject without relying on others to do it for me.

We must develop our individual creativity and voice in a world full of conformity.

Words such as Innovation and Creativity can be elusive and often ambiguous in their meaning. This process allows me to grow more in my understanding, giving a single word much more dimension and depth.

I’d like to do the same thing here with creativity. First, a look at the dictionary’s definition, where you’ll see the limitation of its meaning.

Cre-a-tiv-i-ty: noun (though the process is a verb) – The use of the imagination or original ideas, especially in the production of an artistic work.

Next, I’m using a few questions to arrive at a new, deeper definition that I can carry with me.

Creativity is play with constraints. It’s about getting out there, talking with (and LISTENING to) people, getting new perspectives and insights. But it’s also about taking breaks from work and enjoying life, allowing compartments of your mind to open up to new ideas; to subconsciously digest and synthesis all the data and dialogue you’ve had around a problem you’re trying to solve.

Lack of process, fear, and culture. Many think creative ideas come from the sky. It’s simply not true. Good, regular creativity requires discipline and process, starting with something as simple as an idea journal all the way to a standardize organizational process for creative problem solving.  Fear and culture: both can keep people from sharing their ideas and going after them.

True creativity requires you to take risk. Sometimes the biggest risk is felt when you need to externalize your ideas, make them real, and hear what others have to say. Learning is risk taking. Success is risk taking. It’s a risk to be average, to be safe, and it’s a risk to not take risks these days.

Tell me, where do you agree and disagree? Please share in the comments. The dialogue is where growth comes from.


Will Krieger

Quick List Tuesday April 19th, 2016

What we’re talking about this week — 
What would you miss if you weren’t doing research anymore? One of our team members left the field for ten years and shared what she missed most in our latest blog. If you’re a true researcher, you will love #4…

What we’re listening to–  
Podcasts. In all shapes, sizes, and topics. Can’t get enough. Basically anytime I would have been listening to music or idly watching TV, I find myself turning on a podcast to fill the space. Some of my favorites are TedTalks, The Tim Ferris Show, Serial, and Stuff You Missed in History Class. Here’s one we think you’ll like. What are some of your favorite podcasts?

What we’re thinking about — 
Speaking of podcasts, we can’t stop talking about an episode of Polling Matters that I listened to earlier this week. Frank Newport, Gallup Editor-in-Chief, focused his Polling Matters podcast on age. Age and politics, to be specific. Quite fascinating that most of Bernie Sanders (age 74) supporters are 22 years old. Frank also talks about the relationship between age and marital status, retirement, and how age affects what we do.

Quote we’re pondering —
People may hear your words, but they feel your attitude.
– Napolean Hill

Did you enjoy this Quick List? If so, please forward this email to a friend or follow us on Twitter @REPASSinc.

Thanks for reading! Have a wonderful week.
To Your Success,

Will Krieger
Vice President, Insights


Will Krieger

What I Missed Most When I Left Market Research

Market Reseach Word Cloud


I have a confession to make. When I left the market research field, I was a bit burned out and did not think I would ever come back. I’d worked on the supplier side as well as the client side. I was employed by both big companies and small companies. And I thought I was all done. I left to spend more time with my small children, and ended up with a career detour into sales and sales management, working from home. Then, my small children were big children, and the idea of a more regular work week with weekends off sounded very attractive. I found the market research world is indeed a small world, re-connected with colleagues, and found myself back on “planet MR” in short order.

Many things had changed over a decade, but I was surprised by what I discovered that I missed during my ten years away.

1. The rush of excitement and anticipation when you receive a new set of data tables. Fresh, new data tables. One banner, maybe even two if you are lucky. All the new insights to be uncovered, the hypotheses to be proved (or disproved.) I must sound like a data nerd when I say I just can’t wait to read them, highlighter and sticky notes in hand.

2. The language of market research. You, yourself. Unaided and aided awareness. Derived importance. Ending a question with “or not.” I did not use these phrases for more than ten years!

3. That frisson of fear when you start a focus group. You have a well thought-out discussion guide. You have clients with big expectations in the back room. And you have ten strangers with whom you want to quickly build trust and rapport. Sometimes it is a little scary, but it’s a good kind of scary.

4. Eating M&Ms in the dark. Speaking of focus groups, seriously, what is more fun than observing consumers while you eat unlimited snacks and Chinese take-out and lose all sense of time? Yes, you do get to eat M&Ms in the dark at the movies, but focus groups are more like live theater. You never know what you will hear or see next, and you are allowed to talk to your neighbor and use your cell phone.

5. That happy, “sunbeam breaking through the clouds” feeling when you realize you’ve helped a client learn something really new. I’d forgotten how great it feels when you watch a product progress from a concept to a market reality, in part because of your research contributions. Having a Vice President of Marketing muse, “we never thought about it that way before” – it’s an amazing feeling of accomplishment.

What would you miss if you left our field?


Katie Klopfenstein Blog Bio

Quick List Tuesday April, 5 2016

Our newest issue of the Quick List, a bi-monthly summary of what’s happening in marketing research and new happenings at REPASS.

What we’re talking about this week —

Have you had a chance to check out, My Favorite Questions, the latest blog post? Would you believe we wrote it all in questions?

What we’re reading– 

We came across a blog from the Market Research Society that featured their interview with Adam Phillips, a research consultant and Managing Director of Real Research in the UK. Great post and talked about the importance of always, always asking questions. Asking questions is the backbone of market research.

What we’re thinking about —

The power of your mindset has a serious impact on every aspect of your life. Check out this article from @HarvardBiz to see why they agree, Why the future belongs to Tough-Minded Optimists. As the article puts it, “Not wide-eyed optimism, an unthinking faith in the inevitability of success, but what the leadership scholar John Gardner famously called “tough-minded optimism,” a blend of original ideas, deep convictions, and resilience in the face of change.”

Quote we’re pondering —

Our only limitations are those we set up in our own mind.” – Napolean Hill


Did you enjoy this Quick List? If so, please forward share this post with a friend or follow us on Twitter @REPASSinc.

Thanks for reading! Have a wonderful week.

To Your Success,

Will Krieger