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Dan: my first time

Following positive reviews from research friends and having witnessed a client list spanning global research agencies all the way through to award-winning brand and design agencies, I was naturally curious about working with Further and using IdeaStream first-hand!

I certainly wasn’t new to the world of communities. My very first experience arrived at GfK, in 2007, in their early inception as online bulletin boards. Functionality was, of course, limited vs. today’s standards so when the technology developed I was excited at the prospect of engaging participants longitudinally and combining methods of enquiries, having witnessed such rich open, honest and unsolicited feedback, a breath of fresh air vs. the style of feedback received from online panel surveys.

Fast forward several years to my roles at InterQuest a Scandinavian co-creation agency and C Space, I had gained considerable experience of running research communities and community panels of various scales and sizes engaging groups as diverse as Sky TV audiences, to busy Asda mums, to Dentists for Colgate.

Having handled more than 200 project briefs combining quant and qual methods I was confident in my ability to push IdeaStream to its limits when the opportunity arrived to join the Furtherbers.

I was lucky to find that my first full-service project landed shortly after my first proposal, working with an FMCG client to explore perceptions of premium and support a new brand launch. I was two weeks fresh into my role working as Further’s in-house researcher and champion of best online qualitative research practices.

Very much aware that tools and platforms are just part of the formula when it comes to delivering research that adds value to clients, my feelings towards using IdeaStream were essentially as follows:

- Is this going to handle the basics, the discussions and surveys?
- Are features good enough to satisfy clients and help to keep members engaged?
- Will I be able to handle projects efficiently and avoid mind-numbing admin?
- And finally the most important aspect of all - Will this help me to gather the quality of feedback and insights required to share a compelling client growth stories.

Variety is the spice of life when it comes to running an effective community so I was keen to explore the various capabilities - blogs for diaries and journaling to bring customer segments experiences to life, social and private entry discussions, light surveys, a markup tool to assess image and video stimuli, and IdeaStorm to facilitate brainstorming. All of the essentials tools and features required to gather compelling feedback to deliver visually engaging reports and workshops.

Further ‘bells and whistles’ can be great, don’t get me wrong, I’d previously worked with Fortune-500 list clients and offered the ability to deploy >70 community modules to support queries, however, most of these tools remained firmly in the ‘tool-box’ due to restricted client budgets and limited use-case scenarios!

Find your own way - dub, online communities

Keen to put IdeaStream’s reputation for usability to the test, I purposely refused a demo to see if I could grasp the setup process on my own. Unlike previous platforms I was happy to discover this was achievable without the need for research executive and programmer support to co-ordinate email send outs and set-up samples, saving tedious email chains and frustrating end of day QA updates.

The ability to mitigate and control bias, combined with a straightforward survey interface and the ability to set auto-reminders enabled focus on effective client communication, research design and interpretation of the results to really concentrate on adding client value.

I’m happy to say that IdeaStream delivered contributing to a successful project with a very satisfied client willing to advocate Further’s services and support, a case study which proudly features on our company web page. I’d helped senior project stakeholders to connect with customers leaving them blown away by the quantity and quality of media, helping to bring customer segments to life. Combined with further feedback into trends, retail propositions and communication materials, the project played a crucial role in helping to shape the company’s marketing plan.

With each project that followed I continually develop my approach to enquiries building upon my experience and gathering member feedback to enhance project delivery. My work on projective techniques and an approach to engagement which would later form the basis of Further’s psychological hacks for better online qual, now shared with Further clients as part of our training and support services.

As a now experienced user, I can confidently vouch for IdeaStream and confirm that the only limit to its research and engagement potential is your imagination!

If you’d like to learn more about how to make your research more agile and effective contact us by calling +44 (0) 20 3 515 3301 or email

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