Research Services

Innovative Analyses for the Future

The Center recognizes that many smaller organizations (accounting firms, associations, businesses, nonprofits, and vendors) may not have the staffing or resources to do their own research on the assumptions, best practices, frameworks, methodologies, principles, and societal implications that impact their strategy, tactics, operations, and stakeholders. To help empower smaller organizations with better business decisions, we provide collaboratively defined and funded research services.

Research Methodology

Our research is conducted both informally and formally. Most of the informal research that we do is collected via the courses that we facilitate, where the polling or assessment questions that we ask, seek to obtain an understanding of the learner’s:

  • Perceived implications of a topic
  • Perceived risks of a topic
  • Perceived opportunities presented by a topic
  • Intended actions based on the perceived implications, risks, and opportunities

The formal research that we do applies the scientific method to structure a project that provides insight and actionable takeaways into a particular topic. Guided by our agents, advisory boards, and academic research alliances, our formal research usually falls into two categories:

  1. Practices Research: research that seeks to create, identify, define, and/or validate a maturity model, its underlying paradigms and leading practices, its current level of adoption, barriers to adoption and ways to overcome them, and capturing of lessons learned via adoption or on-going operations.
  2. Product Research: research that seeks to understand the current product options in a given area, their differentiating factors, the organizations that provide them (to ensure they are mindful businesses), and the leading practices associated with each product. Products may include: courses, commercialized methodologies, events, programs, service offerings, software, and other technologies.

The outcome of our research is the formalization and validation of the underlying assumptions, best practices, frameworks, methodologies, principles, and societal implications of the missions that our agents undertake. These primarily take the form of whitepapers and toolkits.

Types of Research Projects

Aligned with Our Tenets of Innovation, Know-How, Knowledge, and Kaizen, our research projects seek to formalize and validate the underlying assumptions, best practices, frameworks, methodologies, principles, and societal implications to the missions that our agents undertake. The types of research projects that we conduct are described below.

Definition and Framework Development

These research projects are conducted when there is lack of clarity around what something actually “means.” Through these projects, we create a definition or visualization of a topic and identify a high-level framework that can be used to understand the key components of that area. When possible, we also identify a maturity model that can be used to assess an organization’s or product’s current state, identify a desired future state, and create a roadmap to achieve the future state.

The result of this research is normally a whitepaper that defines the topic, and a framework for understanding the components and maturity of the components in an area. These are intended to help build an understanding of a particular topic so that you can understand “what you’re getting into” when considering an initiative in an area, or to help provide you with the jargon and concepts needed to talk intelligently about a particular area.

Standardized Processes and Leading Practices

Many of the existing process management and best practices frameworks are focused on large organizations with high complexity, lots of people, and lot of resources. Our research in this area uses those as a base and “right-sizes” them to make more sense to a small to mid-sized organization. We also engage our base of transformation agents to evaluate the processes and practices through a real world lens to ensure that we are identifying things that make sense to a practitioner that is actually doing work in the topic area.

The result of this research is normally an Intraprise Blueprint® that describes the standardized  processes and workflow, software categories and data sources, and information flows for a particular area. These templates can be used to assess the current state of an area, identify improvement opportunities, identify integration or customization needs, and visualize the future state of the area.

Vendor Comparisions

Deeper than our “Vendor Options” research, this research involves creating a vendor selection matrix with mid-level detail of functionality and identification of key differentiators and factors that may impact suitability of a vendor for particular situations.

The result of this research is normally a mid-depth vendor comparison that includes definitions of key features, identifications of differentiators and limitations that may impact more complex needs, and additional evaluation of a vendor’s financial, organizational, and governance structures. These are intended to support vendor selection and due diligence processes.

Vendor Options

These projects seek to identify the software or service providers in the market that are the best for implementing the processes and practices associated with a particular area. This research is normally conducted by first identifying what vendors are already in use by a target market, and what they like or don’t like about those vendors. This allows us to identify key high-level features that are normally desired, which vendors provide those features, and each vendor’s pricing model.

The result of this research is normally a simple vendor comparison. This is intended to help you by reducing the amount of time you have to spend to identify vendor options and pricing within a given area. This is useful for identifying the amount to budget for a particular initiative, but is not usually deep enough for actual vendor selection (see Vendor Comparisons above).

>> Learn more about our active, pending and completed research projects. 

Requesting Research Services

We accept research support requests from academia, associations (professional or trade), business owners, practitioners, and vendors. Requests are ranked by importance (opportunity or risk), immediacy (priority or timeliness), investment (cost and resource requirements), and impact (return or outcome alignment with Our Tenets). We also use a crowd-funding model for our research. Research projects may be funded by a single client, multiple clients, single agent, multiple agents, single vendor, or multiple vendors.

If you have any questions about our research, please contact us at insights@improvetheworld.net.

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