It’s time to chase the truth: seizing the passive observation opportunity with both hands

Facing the truth can be difficult. Especially when it makes you question your past decisions. And this is about to happen in research.

Meet passive observation, the new research methodology that’s bringing insight professionals face to face with the (sometimes uncomfortable) truth. Passive observation projects have been a core part of our offer here at Decidedly. And the results have been nothing short of mind-blowing.

Sure, passive observation will provide you with some welcome relief that many of the things you’ve heard in focus groups do play out behind closed doors. But the most exciting thing about passive observation is that it unveils a whole host of insights that, up until now, have gone undiscovered.

What is passive observation?

Passive observation uncovers real consumer behaviours in real environments.

An upgrade on ethnography, it uses technology to observe people in home and see how they really live. As you might guess from the name, this all happens passively – without the need for an ethnographer in the room.

So why all the excitement about passive observation?

It’s when you remove the ethnographer, and go passive, that things get exciting. Set up properly, with no one but themselves in the room, people forget they’re being observed and behave as usual. Cue midnight biscuit binges in their PJs, unusual eating habits, Netflix marathons, family arguments. No one’s overthinking what they’re doing or modifying their behaviour because there’s someone else there. For the first time, you see real behaviour in real time.

You see the habits that people would never admit to in focus groups or diary tasks. The things they’d forget to mention in a survey. The subconscious behaviours they don’t even know they do and could never tell you about – even if you asked.

And for the first time, you get to the truth. And the truth might just blow your previous research out of the water.

How to harness the passive observation opportunity

From understanding leisure time to observing snacking behaviour, the use cases for passive observation are vast! It’s a great methodology when you’re looking to understand influences on behaviour as you don’t just see what one person is doing – you can see the context too. It’s also a winner if you’re looking to uncover the unmet needs that people can’t articulate. But it’s not an easy methodology to get right. From set up to analysis, you need experts on board. Interested in seeing how passive observation could get you face to face with the truth? Get in touch or find out more.