Our case studies
Case: involving >1000 customers in co-creation
How an Italian multi-partner loyalty program involved its customers in co-creating new initiatives with the biggest ever virtual focus group."Synthetron has proved to be extremely effective in listening to our customers and in getting feedback and new ideas from them. I would have never imagined collecting so many insights in real time, directly from our customers in just 60 minutes!" -- Head of Marketing & CRM
SituationThe Marketing team of an Italian multi-partner loyalty Program with > 10 million consumers and 80+ partners wanted to identify new insights for new initiatives and to improve the user experience. They were looking for a way to actively involve their customers in this.
ApproachThe team learned about Synthetron online dialogues and decided to use this innovative form of virtual focus group to actively involve their customers, listen to the ideas and suggestions and co-create with them new initiatives. The Synthetron Italy team organized one session with 1300 customers - the biggest (virtual) focus group ever! - and carried out an in-depth analysis of the results.
- The discussion enabled the Marketing team to validate quantitatively some of the actions already in their pipeline and to identify other new initiatives to put in place.
- The discussion also confirmed the relationship and the expectations clients have towards the Program – not just from a rationale / features point of view, but also from a more insightful perspective.
- And, last but not least, consumers really appreciated the Program's willingness to listen to their thoughts:
- "I appreciated the possibility of giving advice to improve the program."
- "I enjoyed to be able to express my ideas and see what others think about it."
- "I like being an important part of business decisions."
Case: testing a new concept efficiently
How a retailer used Synthetron Proposition Lab to test a new concept."We have used Synthetron Proposition Lab to test new concepts for specific target audiences. This was done much quicker than with traditional research, with a better geographical spread, cheaper and in a multitasking environment." --Frans Melenhorst (Manager Customer Marketing at Wehkamp, The Netherlands)
SituationAs part of the multi-channel sales strategy, a large, online department store in the Netherlands was looking for a way to test a new concept for a specific target audience in a predefined age group. Synthetron Proposition Lab provided a fast, efficient and cost-effective solution.
ApproachApproximately 20 consumers in the targeted customer segment were invited to join the one-hour Proposition Lab to review the developed concept. The Proposition Lab is a real-time Synthetron discussion that functions as a virtual workshop. Participants are asked questions about new concepts and discuss their views on it. They select the good, and bad parts of the new concept. By voting on each others statements the participants filter out the most important ideas.
ResultsThe Proposition Lab gave useful insights into how to develop the concept further. This was done in a quick, and efficient way. Another benefit of the online discussion was that the participants could enter the discussion, no matter where they were. This resulted in a better geographical spread. For more information on the Synthetron proposition lab, press this button:
Case: customer Mindset Profile
How a financial institution used Synthetron's Customer Mindset Profile method to understand more about the customers' mindset and adapt its language.
SituationThe financial world has been through a very rough ride in the last 5 years. Many financial service companies have gone under. Others have been re-organized or taken over. Some only survived thanks to state interventions. In this context, a leading European financial service company wanted to regain customer confidence by aiming for a respectful, meaningful and honest relationship with all their customers. They sought a truly customer-focused approach with behavior linked to the core values of the company. The management team wanted to go one step beyond the usual insights on customer needs and wanted to understand more about the customers' mindset and their relationship with financial service companies.
ApproachWe set up two Synthetron on-line dialogues. One dialogue was with a group of front-line financial advisors (employees) in daily contact with the customers. The other dialogue was with a representative group of customers. The topics for the discussions were carefully selected to enable the groups to have free-flowing and rich dialogues with an appropriate level of interaction between the participants in each on-line session. This balanced setup also allows for a gap analysis on the language used by the two groups.
ResultsThe linguistic analysis revealed some interesting insights. The customer mindset is very much focused on the avoidance of any financial risk. This has clear implications for the communication strategy of the financial service company:
- more focus on the security and stability of the company and less on innovation or being different;
- more focus on what the customer wishes to avoid (instead of what they want),
- more personal, less business-like communication,
- more new financial service opportunities proactively pitched to customers.
Case: collecting in-depth feedback from customers
How the General Communications Regulator for Ireland collected in-depth feedback about the impact of the postal market liberalization on customers.
SituationComreg is the general Communications regulator for Ireland, covering almost all possible types of communications. In this capacity, it acts as the National Regulatory Authority for the Postal Sector in Ireland. John Hearn, Comreg’s Manager for Postal Liberalisation initially conducted a series of “physical” conferences to collect feedback about the impact of the postal market liberalization. However, he wanted to collect additional insights to fully understand what benefits might be expected for all types of customers of postal services in Ireland. These additional insights were to be collected after the full opening of the Irish postal market due by the end of 2010.
ApproachSynthetron provided an innovative solution by engaging both the service providers and the representatives of customers in a single online discussion. The script for the online dialogue on “Understanding and ensuring the benefits to all consumers from a competitive postal market” was developed by Paul R. Kleindorfer, Distinguished Research Professor at INSEAD, an expert in the field of postal deregulation. Prof. Kleindorfer also facilitated the debate among the conference participants and wrote the report documenting the outcome of the Synthetron session.
ResultsBy using Synthetron, the feedback was collected in an efficient way. Traditional meetings are time consuming both for Comreg and the participants. The need to spend at least half a day at such symposium, plus the travelling time inevitably restricts the participation of many stakeholders; especially those who live some distance from the venue. The online dialogues ensured that every participant got the opportunity to make their point, from the comfort of their own laptop and a place of their own choosing.
Case: engaging experts at EU level
How the EU's Research & Innovation DG used Synthetron online dialogues to consult and engage experts across Europe in the development of a EU policy framework on biodiversity.
SituationTo inform the EU policy framework on biodiversity, the European Union’s Research and Innovation DG, in cooperation with the European Platform for Biodiversity Research Strategy (EPBRS) wished to mobilize key stakeholders. Among the participants were: knowledge holders and providers, policy makers, performers and market players, users, and society in general on the local, regional, national, European and global level. The DG needed a way to efficiently engage these stakeholders. They had to take geographical location and busy agenda's into account.
ApproachThe crowdsourcing sessions were specifically prepared by Synthetron consultants. They made sure that the time and date suited as many experts as possible. After which, they developed a script with questions. In the next step they moderated each session to make sure that the process was smooth. Four Synthetron online crowdsourcing sessions were held in total. Experts in Biodiversity were engaged throughout Europe on the following topics: "improved risk management and resilience", "restoration of degraded ecosystems", "climate change adaptation and mitigation", and "sustainable urbanization“.
ResultsSynthetron consultants analysed the outcomes of the session by coding the qualitative data and restructuring it. Within a short period the Synthetron consultants were able to report on the most important conclusions. The outcome of the Synthetron sessions contributed to the development of a comprehensive EU policy framework on biodiversity for research and innovation to solutions.
Case: learning about the perception of Germany’s foreign policy
How the German Foreign Ministry used Synthetron to learn about the perception of Germany's foreign policy in a new and modern way."Within the IT-architecture of the Foreign Office, the crowdsourcing approach offered a new, modern approach from which we learned a lot." -- Dr. Thomas Bagger, former head of Planning Staff, German Foreign Office
SituationIn November 2013, the German Foreign Minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, launched a “What goes wrong?” reflection on Germany’s foreign policy. As part of the 2014 review process, the aim was to consider what aspects of the foreign policy needed to be changed.
ApproachSynthetron came into play in order to complement external expertise with the internal knowledge of the central staff in Berlin and their colleagues in embassies around the world. Starting in November 2014, we ran four 75-minute discussions, each spotlighting different aspects of cultural and procedural issues. Three concentrated on culture, creativity and organisation. One focused especially on how to handle European policy in the light of the newly established European External Action Service. Around 350 participants exchanged nearly 3,250 ideas. The analytical work was done in four steps:
- An immediate response converting significant raw data from each discussion into a readable layout
- An in-depth analysis for each the 3 discussions focusing on culture, creativity and organisation
- An additional analysis on European Policy issues
- An analysis of attitudes shown via language patterns.
ResultsWe reported back on the following:
- What participants expect as an appropriate internal culture and how they would react to it (shown as well in segments differing between central and embassy staff)
- Top actions required to achieve the desired culture
- Which parameters need to be reflected in the course of achieving progress
- What suitable communication could help to bridge gaps in a consistent way.
"The Synthetron online debates were an important integrative element amongst the various formats of people involvement in the “Review2014” Process. It was only with the assistance of this methodology that we could offer the chance to take part in the process to colleagues from all over the world in a very short time. The technical potential of your product as well as the manifold options for evaluating the data were a big gain for us. We were also impressed by the quick analysis of the underlying patterns of the participants on the basis of the structure of the language they used. I realised that an efficient cooperation between your specialists and my team is indispensable in order to coordinate the Synthetron expertise with the knowledge of the processes and specials of the Foreign Office and to make use of them in a most efficient way. This was a success.” -- Dr. Thomas Bagger, former head of Planning Staff (now Director of Foreign Policy for the office of the German President)Read the article about this project in the Economist Or download the full case by clicking "download file" below.
Case: engaging high level experts
How a large consulting company engaged high level experts using Synthetron online dialogues.
SituationA large private sector management consultancy wanted to develop knowledge and expertise around the treatment for depression. They wanted to involve multiple experts in a constructive dialogue. The experts were dispersed and therefore they had to look for an innovative and efficient way to engage them all together.
ApproachMcKinsey & Company commissioned a synthetron session where a high-level panel of more than twenty academics from Harvard, Yale and Oxford discussed issues around the treatment for depression. Synthetron and the internal pharma project team jointly developed questions about treatment pathways, how to address challenges and how to formulate effective answers to improve care in depression. The questions were put in front of the participants, after which they were able to react and vote on each others statements. Thereby the experts filtered out what they though was important, and what wasn't. Everyone was able to give input.
ResultsEngaging participants for more than an hour, the moderators collected around 500 statements of substance. Nearly 21% of those achieved a collaborative support. From the instant report at the end of the debate participants learned immediately about their level of consensus on major issues. McKinsey partner Dr. Jorge Santos da Silva was quick to congratulate the team – not only for careful preparation but also for the momentum achieved in this highly interactive format. To inform experts around the world about insights from the panel, McKinsey published an in-depth research paper on the topics.
Case: preparing a key global conference
How Synthetron helped the senior management of a multinational corporation to prepare a Top 100 global conference.
“Of course they all understand the strategy. This conference will be about how we implement it” - what our client said before the discussion. "We can't have a conference about strategy implementation now." -- what our client said after the discussion.
SituationSenior management of a multinational corporation wanted to prepare and improve the agenda for a Top 100 global conference focused on the implementation of a new strategy. Management wanted to engage their employees to find what they wanted the conference. In this way, management could prepare in advance and maximize the efficiency of the event.
ApproachWe set up two Synthetron online dialogues to identify priority actions for the conference. All employees were invited and the discussions were segmented by seniority and geography. We developed a script together with the client to make sure that the questions would get to the matter quickly. Then we moderated the sessions to make sure that everything ran smoothly and that the client got the input they were looking for.
ResultsThe analysis of the debates was done by Synthetron consultants. It showed that a significant number of the employees were not aware of the strategy. Of those aware, many did not necessarily support or even understand it. This early warning from the online brainstorms came as a surprise to senior management. However, it helped them realise that the first job was to clarify and communicate the strategy and to build alignment. Only after clear communication and alignment around the strategy could they ask employees to implement it. The conference was postponed and hundreds of thousands of pounds of travel expenses were saved. In addition, management avoided disengagement or an unexpected rebellion against the new strategy. This would not have been possible without the online dialogues.
Case: hybrid mass consultation of citizens
How the first G1000 mass consultation with citizens used Synthetron to increase engagement and extent reach.
SituationIn November 2011 a unique experiment was set up in Belgium: the first G1000. One thousand randomly selected citizens were brought together in Brussels in an effort to bring together people from all regions, social classes and ages to discuss 3 topics previously identified by citizens: Social Security, the Financial Crisis and Immigration. The G1000 was set up using a hybrid format. At a mass event people at tables of 10 first listened to 20 minute expert presentations on each topic discussed under the guidance of facilitators. In parallel discussions took place online (G-home) and off site (G-off). The set up was unique in a way that the whole initiative was entirely crowdfunded, and citizen-driven. Furthermore, it used a unique mass hybrid model of on-site mass interaction plus online (G-home) and offline (G-off).
ApproachOn the day Synthetron ran the online part G-Home. More than 700 citizens joined the debates from their PC at home or work. Via live-streaming they first watched the 20 minute expert presentations and then joined the interactive Synthetron discussion online (60 mins). Eight discussions were organised with Dutch and French sessions set up in parallel on each topic. The discussion scripts were designed to be complementary to the G1000 on site event so that citizens co-created their best insights into what changes and solutions they felt were needed. Participants jointly decided some focus areas. Moderators guided the citizens to share and co-evaluate their ideas, opinions and reflect on ways forward. A quick analysis was done during the day and presented back to the G1000 room an hour later. The discussions were projected live in the G1000 event room for cross fertilisation.
ResultsParticipants had a critical yet very constructive attitude during the debates. In terms of content, results were very much in line with the G1000. Reports were provided to all participants a week after the discussions. These reports together with the outcome of the G1000 were the core input for the next step: the G32 (32 citizens from amongst the G-home and G1000 participants working in more detail on some recommendations). The reports and the full raw data were made available to universities in Belgium for further analyses. Since this first experiment, many G1000 initiatives that followed used the Synthetron platform to increase engagement and extend reach. For more detailed information on this case, click "download file".
Case: inviting citizens to share their views
How citizens were invited by the Dutch Ministry of Environment to share their views on their future environment.
SituationThe VROM (Dutch ministry of Environment) is responsible for the environment in which citizens live, work, and relax. The Netherlands is a densely populated country requiring careful consideration of issues such as living space. VROM decided to set up a vision development project for the 'Randstad' - the urban region including Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague - called 'Randstad 2040'. Citizen participation was key to the vision development and VROM looked for innovative ways to go about this.
ApproachAs part of the 'Randstad 2040' vision development project, 400 citizens were invited to discuss their views of the ideal future for the ‘Randstad’ through Synthetron online discussions. Participants had lively discussions about mobility, environment, living conditions, transportation, housing, urbanisation, etc. They visualised their ideal world, discovered dilemmas and explored the downsides of their choices. Synthetron consultants developed the script alongside representatives of VROM. The questions were specifically made to suit the wishes of VROM. We moderated the sessions, making sure that all participants had a good experience. All voices were heard and the citizens filtered out the most important statements themselves.
ResultsThe raw data, among other things, provided the most supported statements, controversial statements, and non-supported statements. The results of these Synthetron sessions were used as input into meetings where citizens were invited to explore the issues further. Therefore these meetings had a "head start" and could go deeper into the matter from the beginning. This proved more efficient than the traditional focus groups. The findings from the sessions and the meetings were analysed and a comprehensive report was made. The results were presented to the Minister and top policy makers. In the end, the Dutch parliament adopted some of the recommendations resulting from the study.
Case: engaging stakeholders in IT project roll out
How Synthetron helped engage all stakeholders in an IT project roll out process. To facilitate its implementation.
SituationAn multinational oil company needed to launch a major new IT project that required key stakeholders engagement world-wide. They turned to Synthetron to facilitate discussions from pre-launch to post-launch.
ApproachA set of systematic online Synthetron discussions of the new plan were held with different stakeholders. A discussion before the launch and multiple discussions during the implementation process. Before launch a first session was set up with local management to understand what would make them real change agents. Online Synthetron "change readiness"discussions were held in different countries. The purpose was to understand the in going change position in each country. All sessions were moderated using the same change readiness script. We measured the position change of the participants between the beginning and the end of the discussion. We used the classical change curve, from resistant to very enthusiast, in our analysis. During the implementation Synthetron sessions were organized to conduct a series of reviews using different stakeholder segments: management, implementation team, and floor.
ResultsThe client received a concise report one week after every session. This report was based on a content- and mindset analysis. The first round of discussion with local management uncovered that, despite the fact that they all faced the same change and came from the same MO, their in going position was very different. After they understood this the change team was able to engage everyone as change agents with a specific adapted approach. The reviews with different stakeholder segments increased engagement of participants and gave the PMO and change team clear insight in issues and levers on how to improve and accelerate the roll out.
Case: engaging staff during merger process
How Synthetron supported the smooth merger of two banks by engaging valuable staff.
SituationTwo private banks were merging and there were concerns among the management that valuable members of the sales force of one company would be lost. The bank looked for innovative ways to get the right input that would help them manage this situation.
ApproachThe management decided to listen to the sales force, to hear their concerns about the merger. They used Synthetron to engage them in a series of interactive discussions where they could give their opinions. The first step in the process were two different Synthetron discussions to identify the level of alignment to the merger vision among the salesforce. These sessions identified their fears, the potential bottlenecks they saw, their hopes, and their suggestions. The outcome of these two discussions helped management to take difficult decisions and give feedback. A few months later another Synthetron discussion was held. This session focused on re-assessing the level of alignment and engaging participants in identifying key success factors and actions on which to focus.
ResultsWe analysed the results by coding and grouping the qualitative data and combining it with the quantitative data. After which we gave the client a clear and concise report containing all the important findings. The process helped management take difficult decisions and give feedback. Furthermore, it generated valuable insights on the level of support for the decisions taken and the way to manage the implementation successfully.
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