The Values of TRIBE are Elements for Next Innovation 【Second Part】

In the last article, we interviewed Mr, Miyai, a representative of SEEEDATA, about the circumstance of TRIBE having been created and the limit of insight in terms of considering concrete function and specification of a product. It was shown that the strength for ethnography of SEEDATA was that it can focus on behaviors in order to find JOB to be done, because of its accumulation of insight from TRIBE research.

Today’s topic is about the relationship between TRIBE research and the concrete method for interviewing.

Analysis after an Interview is More Important than Interview Itself.

How do analysts at SEEDATA conduct TRIBE research?

Mr. Miyai: There are around 30 analysts at SEEDATA and in daily basis, they conduct research on phenomena in the world, and consider hypotheses of the change for people’s values in the future. Although they collect articles which could lead to signs of the future, it often happens that they choose articles because of rough sense that “this is somehow new”. I think this is too ambiguous, and thus made it a rule for analysts at SEEDATA to pick up “articles that suggest changes for values of people”

Would you explain the concrete meaning of “to suggest changes for values”?

Mr. Miyai: Human beings cannot help prioritizing, and they select one when there are two options. I think this evaluation criteria is values.

If I take the case of increase of popularity for no-makeup bar, bad analysis only describes phenomenon itself like “men came to like face with no makeup”. This mentions values of no one.

If I take the case of increase of popularity for no-makeup bar, bad analysis only describes phenomenon itself like “men came to like face without makeup”. This mentions values of no one.

However, many are persuaded by that sort of arguments. At SEEDATA, the phenomena were analyzed as the change of values about the beauty of face: no-paint on face is more beautiful than painting on face.

So far, no-makeup had been thought that it would be before makeup, and there had been a common sense that the last face should be with makeup. This common sense may have been already changed. This changes the criteria of choosing product, for instance, people may choose something which makes face without makeup beautiful rather than face with makeup beautiful. I think such an analysis is successful in analyzing the change of values.

We have been collecting many articles, including possible signs of change of people, and thus we can find TRIBE. The accumulation of articles makes it possible to find the character of people which will possibly become popular, leading to call people (TRIBE) a name reflecting their feature and conduct research on them. 

we collect articles not on trend, but showing the change of values, and analyze signs of the change.

How do you actually find TRIBE then?

This is a frequent question but TRIBE cannot be found in the research of easy questionnaire. In the first place, people with advanced values are more likely to be busy, and so they do not resister a respondent of questionnaire research. As that sort of people are more likely to want to spread their philosophies, we ask them to interview. It also happens that asking introduction of people with philosophy from ones who we know.

The point that I would like you to understand here is that TRIBE research is not the one which can be done in a short time like other ordinary ones.

That is why many TRIBE researches are stocked at SEEDATA, aren’t they? Next, what is the point of interviewing, after finding a target?

Mr. Miyai: In interviewing, we apply depth interview, protocol interview, analysis on the conversation of TRIBEs, and field survey. Field survey is used for the purpose of seeing the context. We choose the type of interview which matches the TRIBEs.

The point that many people misunderstand here is that TRIBEs have answers. While there are people who think that we can find useful hints and values for product development, this is a big misunderstanding.

People with advanced philosophies often cannot put their philosophies into words, and they can only share theirs with people with similar philosophy. That kind of information looks like stuck in people who can understand it, and thus this phenomenon called “sticky information” in academic words.

In the state of sticky information, we cannot find their philosophies from a normal interview.

Does it mean the skill of analysts is important?

Mr. Miyai: Yes, the point is how long we can spend time on analyzing. Peeling sticking information in order to discover the hidden meaning is many times more important than interviewing itself.

Another thing which is misunderstood by many people is that higher number of people, we can interview, higher number of hints we can gain. This way of thinking motivates them to interview 10~20 people. Information with lower stickiness can be found from normal interview, and thus TRIBE research is not needed for that. If you interview 10 people, you would better to interview 5 people and spend more time on analyzing.

Mr. Miyai: Furthermore, analysts make micro reports with clients, in this step, we derive leaped hypotheses from what we find in interviews. Not conclusion which is agreed by many, but one which is thought “it may be true” can lead to peel sticky information off and discover hidden meaning.  The method of not logically analyzing but finding hypothesis which is agreed by not all ones is called abduction.

At SEEDATA, we do not find the shared point of statements of interviewee. We derive 40~50 hypotheses, for instance “this meaning is hidden behind this statement” “this statement may have come from this thought”.

By combining these hypotheses, we can offer the meaning that TRIBE may have this feature of values.

You mean interviewing does not simply lead us to the answer?

Mr. Miyai: We find hypotheses for values of TRIBE, and deform it, profiling TRIBE. This is the different point of TRIBE research from ordinary marketing research.

Values and Behaviors Derived from TRIBE REPORT can be Applied for Normal People.

Mr. Miyai: The point which is more interesting is that values and behaviors of TRIBE can be applied for normal people. Although many think that “features and values derived from TRIBE research can be used only for people of TRIBE?” and “What we find in TRIBE research is niche, and so it can be used for small number of people.”, it is very different.

It is because innovation basically happens by the influence of other fields: which means applying knowledge from other fields. The same thing can be seen in the analysis on customers, for example, what normally occurs in TRIBE in the world of food can be actually applied for the field of medicine, and it might be for the field of tourism. Insight is the emotional matter, and thus it can be used for any fields.

By multiplying it with business model and thinking of how to apply for our fields, we can satisfy similar values. For example, by thinking that people with these values in the field of food are pleased but this can be used for our field better than that of food, we can find hints for the way to satisfy the similar values.

This means that it is highly possible that values and the hypotheses about the change of behaviors derived from TRIBE REPORT can be applied for normal people. It would rather be true that there are higher number of findings in the field which is far from ours. The analysis on this change is put down into a report which is called “hypothesis on the change of people’s behaviors”.

The half of TRIBE REPORT is composed of “hypothesis on the change of people’s behaviors”, and it shows the hypotheses about the change of behaviors which can be applied for normal people, while it happens only in this TRIBE now.

Its good example is that when analyzing TRIBE of “Online Free Market Users”, there are many young people who master free market apps and they purchase not at the catalog price but the price they think they can resell. It means that they feel it is cheap when the gap between resell value and catalog price is big. As a result of this, it was surprisingly discovered for them to buy luxury goods.

Although I am not young, this is applicable for me, as well. If I take the case of cosmetics, the hurdle to buy a product has been greatly lowering when I feel like trying one, as they can be easily sold on the free market apps.

In the narrow understanding, it can be considered “it is only applicable for young people who use smartphone”, but that sort of behaviors happens only on the net just because it can be done by smartphone now. In fact, it has been normal for a long time in the world of real estate, and it also can be applicable for other fields in the future.

Technologies we can use is limited, but in other fields, it is possible to think “what can we do by the technology we can use?”, leading to the fact that there is a higher possibility for other fields to gain hints.

When you know the number of people who adopt a behavior increasing, how do you know it will be spreading?

Mr. Miyai: For instance, when I think the number of people like Online Free Market Users increasing, I conduct research on whether or not it happens in other fields and this tendency spreads to normal people.

If the fact that this occurs in another field, it can be considered that this tendency is not limited in a field, going to search articles which discuss the behavior. This is called Early Warning Sign (EWS), and if the sign is found, it is shown as Hypothesis of behaviors of people.


Mr. Miyai: What people who make the future should see is not a thing found in quantitative data, such as population prediction. At the same time, delusion with no evidence does not have any meanings. Therefore, it is necessary to find Early Warning Sign from TRIBE, in order to fill a gap between delusion and what we already know. I think that the future that business people want to see is there.

TRIBE research is used for finding it, and after that, we predict behaviors from these values. We conduct ethnography for the purpose of finding JOB to be done. This is very much needed to develop a product. However, at the stage of the report, each analyst uses knowledge about technology and the analyzes changes of behaviors, making a scenario of social change when the number of the behavior increases.

As we have seen, we find TRIBE firstly, and analyze their values, applying that for normal people, and then propose the situation of the society in TRIBE REPORT.

There are 100 pages per TRIBE, and we have already completed 50 TRIBE REPORTS. This means that the biggest strength of SEEDATA is that we have roughly grasped behaviors of men and women of all ages in the base of insight.

SEEDATA Can Support to Make Prototype of Business.

Mr. Miyai: There was a case where a client asked us “can you conduct a research on that there are actually tens of thousand of this type of people, and the number of them will actually increase?”. I can say, from a conclusion, that this is possible and impossible. 

People who are in charge of the business in client company need to persuade surroundings with logic and number, even when they are sure of the result of qualitative research.

There are two ways to solve this problem. One of them is collecting many AWS, after which use the research of questionnaire which includes the question of values of TRIBE profile to people. After that, we use multivariate analysis for collected questionnaires. This makes it possible to argue the number of people who is like this TRIBE now, and that of ones who seem to become like that in 5 years is around this numaber.

If you want to persuade with logic and data, I recommend this kind of ways. SEEDATA can conduct this type of questionnaire research, but it seems also fine to ask another research company for it.

This is the way to combine qualitative and quantitative data of TRIBE, isn't it?

Mr. Miyai: The other way is a more modern way where if you understand values and Hypothesis of Change of Behavior of People and you can design JOB by yourself, you ask potential customers of yours about the concrete service prototype. When the acceptability of the service is high, you can consider it an evidence of the future actually coming. Furthermore, it becomes an evidence of the business opportunity coming, and thus SEEDATA recommends it.

SEEDATA is gathering entrepreneurs, as there are cases that a company cannot make a prototype of business. Bringing to SD/V, we run a prototype of the service which can realize the future you want to gain, and we have let clients buy it back. SEEDATA does not only handle the field of IT, but also all the real business.

Thank you very much! It is shown in this interview that SEEDATA can find JOB by ethnography, because it has accumulated TRIBE. Moreover, A future can be found by TRIBE research, and thus I guess you understood SEEDATA can obtain the hint to design a future, and then SD/V actually embodies the future. I hope you grasp this rough stream.

SEEDATA will release the article about ethnography.