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Research and Consultancy Work

As managing partner at a global research firm I have been facilitating, and leading on, around 300 research projects in the areas of social change, man/machine interaction, and consumer biographies, with a focus on discourse and stakeholder analysis.

I established a global, multidisciplinary network of around 400 researchers and thought leaders who participate in collaborative research projects tailored to specific challenges, and carried out according to the highest standards of scholarly rigour.

My aim in working for clients across the world is to develop a better understanding of the spaces in which their ambitions can be realised. My clients in past and present projects include most of Germany’s major communications agencies, large corporations in retail, construction, and financial services, as well as public bodies.

I have developed a toolbox of methods called Realist Review, focusing on qualitative approaches.

 

Stakeholder surveys

Never assume that others think like you – especially when they have considerable influence on the impact of your actions. Stakeholder analysis finds out who your opposite numbers are, and what drives them. My strategy has been to combine empirical research into first- and second-level stakeholders, i.e. experts on your stakeholders.

 

Discourse analysis

Any public-facing actor needs a convincing narrative so as not to talk at cross-purposes with their stakeholders.

Discourse analyses provide my clients with a systematic look at how their target group verbalises their preferences. It shows how a particular term is used, as well as the underlying values shaping this interaction. Cross-lingual, quantitative analysis of large, client-centered corpora is usually followed by a qualitative, close-reading analysis of exemplary sources. Based on this analysis and its presentation in clear graphics, my teams develop a set of recommendations for future communications.

 

Cultural research

Any time you enter a new market, you arrive as a guest. Maximising the impact of your strategy will require dialogue with existing stakeholders. Using the right terms and symbols, and drawing on established practices of information exchange is crucial. Cultural research projects combine field research and cross-cultural consultancy, ideally with a workshop element.

 

Research-based change consultancy

Change only happens when existing strengths are recognised and available capacity is used. Research-based models of change suitable to my clients’ organisations, along with implementation strategies that build on current strengths, are developed by experienced, interdisciplinary and, ideally, international project teams. My own workshop model is aimed at making sure no stakeholders are overlooked.

 

Trend research

What are the factors that will impact your business model in the mid- to long-term? Knowing the forces and players driving innovation in your sector is crucial if you want to increase your ability to shape it.

Multidisciplinary, international teams provide my clients with an overview of current research as well as fresh insights from new vantage points. Work carried out by my teams results in a matrix of relevant trends in relation to client’s products and target groups, also identifying risk factors, stakeholders and successful communications campaigns.

 

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Experts

Over 400 expert researchers and thought leaders have worked in my teams. They come from all over the world, speak in total over 65 different languages, and include highly qualified academics, outstanding industry experts and excellent translators.

Amongst them are economists, sociologists, scientists and medical professionals. The social sciences have always been one of my focus areas, enabling my teams to analyse a broad range of economic, social, political, financial and cultural trends.


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Clients

 

 

Methods

My approach to a client’s research needs is called Realist Review. It assumes that the choice of methods to be employed has to be flexible, making sure each discipline involved can play to their strength, while tackling the complex problem at hand.

The advantage of using a variety of qualitative, rather than quantitative, methods is that the premises they are based on are more transparent.

Working in a multidisciplinary team is a lot like a series of mutual semistructured research interviews. Epistemically speaking, the process is open-ended; on a phenomenological level, it mirrors the complexity of most of the problems tackled, thus providing an appropriate setting.

If I had to put it simply I’d say: My teams and I love to think! We enjoy working for a variety of clients, in a process that is constructive, fair, and focused.

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Learn more in a presentation I developed for Nimirum, the research and consultancy firm I led from 2010 to 2018: