Views from the Hills by R. E. Stevens, GENESIS II (The Second Beginning) E-Mail

Taken to Task

In early June when I sent out a Views entitled, "A Competitive Edge Through Creative Research," I received an e-mail form a good friend, Gerry Berstell.  Gerry is a Chicago-based marketing research consultant.  Gerry collaborates with Dr. Denise Nitterhouse of DePaul University on a research method they developed called Constituent Case Research (CCR).  I view this research as the very front line of exploratory research.  The basic approach is to research without any preconceived ideas.  It makes no initial assumptions about the motivations of the consumer/user.  It utilizes not only interviews but observations to understand the influential factors involved in the decision making process.

Gerry, Denise and I have shared the podium in a conference devoted to exploratory research.  We share the same point of view about "assessment in context."  That is, real exploratory research goes to the point of action to determine the who, what, when, where, why and how of consumer assessment.  The point of action may be the site of purchase or the site of use depending upon the needed perspective at the time.  Both points of view are essential.

Gerry's e-mail to me was to ask if I had forgotten about their very basic research.  The answer is that while I still very much believe in the concept of "Observation, Investigation and Interrogation," at the time I was writing the particular Views, I was thinking more of idea evaluation rather than basic exploratory research.

In hindsight, I should have gotten another call. Dr. Dave Kurkowski, Kurkowski & Associates, should have also called with the same question.  Dave, Gerry and Denise are all good researchers who can delve into a situation and determine the root causes of decision making.

If any reader has a need for some help with very basic exploratory research, you may find either of these two gentlemen of help.  You can reach Dr. Berstell at 773.477.5452 and Dr. Kurkowski at 609.884.9975.  Dr. Kurkowski also has a web site at

An Introduction to Alliance Formation:

Earlier this year, a friend from out of the past stopped by for a visit.  This friend, Mr. Bill Kuhl, recruited me in 1980 to leave the Paper Division of Procter & Gamble and work for him in the Package Soap Division.  I believe our relationship over the years was a profitable one for both of us.  I know that it was for me.  It was at this time, with Bill's help, that I started heavy involvement with "In-Store Research" and the concept of "Assessment in Context."  I owe a lot to Bill.  In a short time with him, he opened doors to allow what at that time was considered very atypical research.

After about two years of our working together, Bill was promoted and sent to work in Asia and Japan.

Bill has retired from P&G and in his retirement years has set up a consulting firm, Alliance Group International (AGI).  His company specializes in the creation and management of strategic alliances.  The partnership of Bill Kuhl and Richard Davis provides over 10 years alliance management experience in Asia, Europe, Latin America as well as North America.  Anyone wishing to know more about the company can reach them at 513.891.9115

Sponsor:  Sorensen Associates Inc      Portland, OR  800.542.4321        Minneapolis, MN  888.616.0123
The In-Store Research Company