Sunday, November 04, 2012

Applying Research to Life

If we applied Research knowledge to everyday situations

A recent phenomenon in daily newspapers has been the introduction of a  health page. The health page features research studies undertaken on various health issues. It’s a very secular page. All kinds of studies make the column. Just to highlight the range:

“Horror movies burn calories.” – If you’re a big fan of H P Lovecraft and his genre, dig into your buttered popcorn and fried chicken. No fear. Incidentally, "The Shining" was voted the scariest horror flick ever in the UK, based on a sample size of 34 (or something). Now it can be promoted as an entertaining weight-loss programme as well.

“4 most common sleeping positions discovered with related personality attributes”. – that’s right, 7 billion people on this planet sleep in four positions and represent four personality types. What are these marketeers cribbing about when their product launch bombs? Can’t figure out 4 types of personalities after a billion dollars in development – please return your marketing MBA to Harvard. This research was undertaken by a hotel on about a hundred guests.
“Facebook, email more irresistible than sex” – this based on a survey of 205 people. Given a choice between the urge to have sex and check email while you’re on the train going to work, you’ll get on Facebook.

The page makes really interesting reading and is appropriately placed opposite the comic strips in some papers. Research studies like the above, support every phantom menace,  superstition and point of view.  Its truly egalitarian.

Supposing we applied such acceptable, mainstream research studies to everyday conversation, how would our world change? Let’s hypothesize a few everyday situations:

Scenario A

On Flight Landing:
“Ladies and Gentleman, we are delighted to welcome you to xxxxxx International Airport. ………and wish you a pleasant stay on the beautiful winter’s day.” (Flight attendant displaying initiative at the end).

Researcher : Of the 126 people on the flight, 79 are traveling on work – 32 are behind schedule on assignment, 15 have a painful boss or client to meet,  11 are suffering from various health ailments, 3 have to chase payments from errant clients,  14 are applying for a new job, 3 have serious marital problems.  1 person is happy.  Of the remaining 47 – 12 have hearing defects,  4 are visiting a hospital for advanced cancer patients,  17 are dreading meeting their spouse, 8 are dreading the taxi queue.  Research recommends : “We have a complimentary 4 minutes power Yoga and meditation class at the arrival lounge to ensure your sense of calm for the violent day ahead of you”.

Scenario B

“Good Morning, children! How are we today and are we looking forward to class today?”. Teacher to classroom.
Researcher:  Its winter, about 8 degree C outside and drizzling and the teacher has just walked into class carrying the Unit Test question paper in Maths. 38 out of the 40 children hate maths, 28 can’t stand the teacher,  39 are freezing in the cold, the 40th is wearing Arctic inners and is warm. Research recommends “Children it’s a miserable day for your lousiest subject, but I’m going to cheer you up….the LCD flatscreen in the class will be on CARTOON NETWORK while you do your test”.

Scenario C

“As usual, I’m looking forward to the frank discussions to approve the projects submitted for sanction to this Meeting of the Committee of Directors.” _ MD to Committee of Management.

Researcher: Of the 10 other members on the Committee, 6 know that the MD represents 60% shareholding and doesn’t give a shit about their viewpoint,  2 are checking their Android phones to strike latest deals on purchase and sale of shares based on the Meeting decisions,  1 is romancing his secretary via chat on his I-Phone and the 10th is actual paying attention – he’s the MD’s son. Recommendations: “Why don’t you guys just sign here and drift to the lunch room for some wine and food, while I complete this sham meeting and join you?” – might be a more morale boosting way of doing things.

Scenario D:

CEO to company officials at an offsite with specially invited VIP guests – closing remarks:

“….and I’m really happy that we have achieved our record sales for last year due to the strong FAMILY feeling amongst us……”

Researcher:  Of the 35 people present in the room, 24 have “dad” issues, 12 were regularly beaten up by their fathers, 17 have control freak moms,  23 have jealous siblings who sneaked on them to their parents earning them a beating or quite simply downplayed their role in family, 7 have run away from home at least once in their teen years.  1 person is happy about this, he grew up in an orphanage and is now a successful general manager.  Recommendation: “Our incentive policy of 12.5% commission on sales above target has suitably motivated the greed in our team and I recommend extending the policy……”.

Maybe we could submit these to the Management and Industry page as researched wisdom.  When read along with stock brokers’ views on the economic outlook, it’d be a laugh riot….except if they’re dealing with your investment money.

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