When considering how people will react or adopt a new product, service or technology, it is not sufficient to say that new is better. You must reflect how people consider the current product, service or technology. The most effective way to understand attitudes and behaviours is to conduct focus groups.
Focus groups help understand the knowledge, attitudes, and behaviours of others. Focus groups are usually needed to answer how and why questions when an in-depth understanding of human behaviour is needed.
Focus groups help you understand causality - why people behave as they do. Knowing why helps you see how - how to design, redesign, refine your offerings, services, products so they will be culturally appropriate and accepted.
In a focus group, an experienced moderator leads six to twelve individuals through a structured discussion. The discussion starts at a general level and then focuses on the topic of the research. A moderator will use various techniques to stimulate and guide discussion as well as encourage debate among respondents.
A focus group is very useful during the strategy planning stage. It provides insight and depth and generally results in a better understanding of how people think and why they hold the attitudes they do than might be yielded from individual interviews.
What if you don’t have focus groups? You may choose to implement a new product, service or technology that is not adopted by either staff or customers.
Focus groups deliver qualitative insights where the research question calls for exploration and identification of opinions, attitudes, behaviours, and motivations. Focus groups also provide additional non-verbal information (excitement, doubt, stress) that surveys cannot. A good moderator is needed to ensure particular members do not dominate and to avoid ‘group think’.