The traditional distinction between academic research and applied research is becoming increasingly irrelevant as the cycles between theory, practice and the implications for renewed theory accelerate. Add to this the fact that the various elements of research are also part of normal business life such as analysis and modelling and we have a need to re-think the role and nature of research in todays business world.
To draw from the research methods of a past, more stable era is again a mistake. While thoroughness, peer review and incremental advancement of ‘knowledge’ are being applied to differentiate academic performance, this approach is out of tune with the speed of information distribution, new publishing cycles and business requirements. We are seeing the emergence of communities of inquiry develop around complex, cross-disciplinary issues which involve business, government and the academics. The need to bring the best of research practice together with the new approaches to knowledge transfer and expertise systems is very apparent.
Embedding some of these features in the work of Emergent Form is an ongoing focus and we bring in experts and academics into real world projects as needed and where they can add real value to the project outcomes. This is seen in:
- Analysis – tailored to the task or project, analysis is critical part of the research phases and linked directly to the design process.
- Modelling – along with prototyping forms a crucial step because more often than not, things become apparent when they can be seen so models help refine both requirements and outcomes.
- Communities of Inquiry – no research happens in isolation and so bringing the right capability to bear at the right time from a broader network is key.
- Research Design – a new approach to research where faster iteration and tuning of the process is necessary in response the the context of the research.