Editor’s note: John Bird is the executive vice president, client development, at research firm Infotools, North America. 

If home improvement TV shows are any indication, everyone should be able to do almost anything on their own. There’s a whole network devoted to the cause. This is part of an overarching cultural shift toward doing it yourself – possibly a response to the need for control and transparency. It is also a manifestation of technology’s ever-increasing role in our daily lives, allowing us to eliminate the middleman. 

In the market research space, DIY has generally looked like this: researchers turning to technology companies for the tools and platforms that provide the control they desire. Aside from control, DIY promises fast, low-cost solutions, such as self-service data collection platforms and visualization tools. Challenges have included poor design and lack of knowledge and/or support to run the solutions. This is changing with smart technology applications, better user interfaces and quality support, resulting in the dissipation of the “do-it-cheap-and-wrong” cloud that has hung over DIY in the past. In short, DIY may finally be reaching adulthood in market research. 

Market researchers believe in the power of new technology. Innovations that are predicted to transform – or at the very least be vital to – the industry include artificial intelligence, automation, AR/VR and blockchain. Technologies like these can be applied to create DIY solutions that give people the change they seek. But this level of control comes with the responsibility for researchers to seek out the right solution. 

By taking an active role in selection and evaluation, researchers can start to uncover the DIY solutions that will help fill the demands of today’s marketplace for speed, cost savings and control. There are a number of questions that anyone implementing a new solution should ask, some of wh...