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Collaboration and Curiosity

Johanna Moscoso, Consumer Insights Lead at The Weather Company

— March 17, 2017 — Business
Johanna Moscoso works as a Consumer Insights Lead at The Weather Company, an IBM business. Her daily work involves providing actionable consumer insights both internally and externally. She spoke with Trend Hunter about IBM’s positive influence, the importance of taking the time to listen to consumers, and how maintaining a sense of curiosity is key to innovative thinking.

How does your team generate great ideas? Do you have certain rituals to make creativity happen?

We try to get as many people outside of our specific department as possible to weigh in on our ideas so that we get a mix of different perspectives. This can really help bring bigger ideas to life, and open your eyes to various solutions that you might not have thought of on your own.

What are some barriers to innovation? How do you get around them?

One of the most limiting things is when you practice tunnel vision and only approach a project through the lens of your area of expertise. and that’s all you can really think of. It’s important to ask other people not in your department, or even those in your department but not working on that project, to point out specific challenges you might be facing, so that you can get a fresh outlook and take an idea to the next level.

How do you identify trends? What resources does your team use to spot trends and insights?

We use Trend Hunter to get an understanding of trends in the US, as well as globally, which is amazing. We survey our own consumers as well, to see how they’re feeling about specific topics and where they believe an idea is heading. We use this in combination with other resources as well.

Personally, I like to read everything and anything that I can get my hands on, just to get a better idea of where I think the industry is going and how consumer behaviors are changing over time. In addition, I find attending a mix of conferences to be really helpful, because it gives me the chance to see how those outside of The Weather Company are innovating, and if we can apply those innovations or iterations to our own work.

Has there ever been an instance where another industry has influenced an innovation at your company?

The Weather Company was recently acquired by IBM, which has opened up a lot of opportunities for us. We’re influencing each other in such dynamic ways. Having their analytical expertise, merged with our consumer insights, allows us to provide richer and more relevant consumer insights.

What are some examples of things you can do to create a culture of innovation?

Maintaining a sense of curiosity and always challenging the status quo is key to creating a culture of innovation. Sometimes, even laziness can inspire new ways of creative thinking, because it pushes you to think more efficiently. It makes you believe that there has to be a different and better way to do things, and wonder why it hasn’t been changed in the past.

What do you think your industry will look like in 10 years?

I believe that because of automation, you’ll see a lot more synthesis and collaboration between data scientists and traditional market researchers such as myself. The data scientists find out the where, the who, and the what, while we fill out the blanks with the why. Due to this, I think you’ll see a lot of teams coming together in the future to paint a more thorough picture and provide more intricate details concerning consumer behavior. I think marketing will become a lot more targeted than it is now, and a lot more relevant to consumers as well.

What is the best way for brands to connect to their consumers? How do you use this approach to connect to yours?

Listening. It’s important to be where consumers are and really hear what they have to say. If people are using different devices, you need to be there with them to provide the experience they’re looking for, and when they have feedback, you need to take it and run with it. When you acknowledge that you’re listening to your consumers, they pay you back by becoming avid brand loyalists or even functioning as advocates for a specific product.

What’s the most unconventional thing you have done to get creative inspiration?

I started to take ballroom lessons. I did it mainly to have fun, but it also helped me to get a little out of my comfort zone. In doing that, I’ve been more inspired to push ahead and delve into areas in my career that are also out of my comfort zone. Creative avenues spark curiosity, which sparks innovation.
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