New Tools Provide Fresh Perspectives: Lessons From a Breakthrough at Stonehenge


A recent discovery of an enormous underground monument surrounding Stonehenge underscores the power of technology, teamwork, and a relentless pursuit of deep understanding. This discovery is a reminder to insights professionals of the value of embracing new insights tools that provide fresh perspectives.

New discoveries amidst old stones

The discovery was made by a consortium of archaeologists working together as part of the Stonehenge Hidden Landscape Project. “The area around Stonehenge is amongst the most studied archaeological landscapes on earth and it is remarkable that the application of new technology can still lead to the discovery of such a massive prehistoric structure…” said project leader Vince Gaffney. “The Hidden Landscapes team have combined cutting-edge, archaeological fieldwork with good old-fashioned detective work to reveal this extraordinary discovery and write a whole new chapter in the story of the Stonehenge landscape,” he told Science Daily.

As insights professionals, we can sometimes be lulled into thinking we have a full understanding of a product or market trends. But this discovery at Stonehenge reminds us that we can always dig deeper, go farther and should never assume that what we understand about a market, product, or culture is all there is to know. It also underscores the value of new tools and the alternative perspectives they bring.

A diverse toolset

“The work was undertaken as part of the Stonehenge Hidden Landscapes Project and brought together experts in non-invasive geophysical prospection and remote sensing, and specialists in British prehistory and landscape archaeology in order to carry out research in one of the most important archaeological landscapes in Europe,” according to the team’s site. By combining the different perspectives that each of these tools and team members provided, they were able to reveal something no one else could.

The power of diverse perspectives is why, when tackling a research challenge, we like to bring together ethnography, social mention monitoring, cultural framing, advanced analytics, as well System 1 and System 2 survey tools. Looking at a problem from multiple perspectives allows us to surface insights that are invisible if viewed through only one lens.

Multiple technologies

“Everything is about context and having multiple sources of data,” archeologist Sue Bazley explained to me. “The different tools don’t give you the same information. Oftentimes you see something with one of those tools that you won’t see with the other.”

That’s why we often recommend using Brand Emotion—a visual semiotics tool, in conjunction with Implicit Association Testing (IAT)—a technique for measuring unconscious feelings and connections to brands. Both will reveal a great deal about a brand on their own, but together the emotional triggers of your buyer personas are much richer and clearer.

In archeology, “it’s about bringing in as many different sources of data as possible, and new technologies are part of that,” Bazley says. The power of multiple technologies is why our Concept Connection tool brings together Maxx Diff testing and IAT. They provide us with both System 1 and System 2 perspectives. Brought together in our Intersection Opportunity Map analysis, opportunities and challenges emerge, as you can see in this look at people’s feelings about COVID-19.

Maru is committed to creating new tools for conducting market research that provide fresh perspectives and help uncover deeper, more actionable insights. In recent times we have released elements of the Maru/HUB ecosystem that include a choice-based ideation solution, topic modelling using artificial intelligence (AI), flexible Discrete Choice surveys, text analytics, visual semiotics, and influencer social media monitoring. And the Maru/Hub ecosystem continues to expand. In the coming months look for innovations around conversational AI, a video content engine and more.

With these tools offering fresh perspectives, our insights can be richer. We can, like the archaeologists at Stonehenge, unearth new insights even in well trodden ground.

next post thumbnail