Participatory market research for BoP innovation
Participatory market research offers effective methods for better understanding the reality of people in low-income markets. We define market research as participatory when the target group has the ability to influence the perspective of the researchers. Participatory research presupposes that the target group is not just a source of information, but also a source of ideas and solutions. Drawing on experience from our field research in Madagascar, Sierra Leone and Brazil, we explore how best to design market research that enables people to share their perception of the situation, preferences, challenges and solutions. A participa-tory approach creates trust among the target group, improves the understanding of researchers and can identify practical user innovations. A variety of methods can be employed, depending on what type of information researchers seek. Self-documentation can inform about the use context; interviews and focus groups give insights into perceptions; idea competitions, toolkits and innovation workshops can be used to co-create solutions. Finally, we share lessons on how best to prepare and implement participatory market research methods and use the resulting data.