New Ideas vs Research: lessons from Mad Men

I'm thinking of doing a series of articles called, "Lessons from Mad Men" or something like that. 20110908-015058.jpg

Anywho, I just watched an episode where Don Draper was speaking with a researcher and made this comment:

"A new idea is something they don't know yet, so of course it's not going to come up as an option. Put my campaign on TV for a year then hold your group again, maybe it'll show up... You can't tell how people are going to behave based on how they have behaved."

This is a classic Gut Instinct vs. Research discussion. Personally, I tend to agree that research will only tell you what has happened, not what will happen. It definitely has its place. It is very useful to read case studies and customer research data to get an idea of what the landscape is. Speaking with your target demo is invaluable to get their voice in your head. Ultimately though, I think there comes a time when you have to cross that line and transition from what has been done already to what you are about to create: The New Idea.