INSIGHT Vernissage or Data Story Telling Through Art 1

By Olga Kornilova

Living in the era of short attention spans in VUCA environment.

In the past decades the amount of stimuli that an average human is exposed to has increased exponentially. On one hand, this growing flood of information opened unlimited opportunities for learning and self-development, on the other – it impacts drastically the human ability to focus by shortening our attention spans. The VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) environment created a need for the agile learning process, which requires not only careful selection and dosing of the amount of information, but is also impacting the way it is presented.

When a child is developing, all the senses are used for collecting information from the environment, such as visual, audial, tactile, etc. and all these senses allow to create versatile experiences. People tend to remember many of these personal experiences for their entire lives and old people often have very vivid memories of what happened in their childhood.

For most of us the above is not a surprise. So why, knowing all this, when it comes to sharing market research findings with our business colleagues we forget about the importance of personal experiences and the necessity for thorough selection of information? Why still most data is presented in the Power Point format and reports consist of hundreds of pages and require hours of reading? How can we experiment and, at least for some special projects, go beyond expectations of our stakeholders and deliver the intelligence by using unconventional ways for better retention of key customers’ insights?

Insight Vernissage in action

To create a memorable and engaging experience for our internal stakeholders, the Ferring Market Intelligence team {with the help of the Healthcare Research Worldwide market research agency} decided to develop a unique approach for the debrief of project findings. We were inspired by recent experiments of neuroscientists who studied what is happening in the human brain when people look at the art pieces while visiting museums.

The pharma industry is known for a very complex customers’ environment that influences Patient journey and medical decisions along the way. The only way to obtain a holistic and actionable understanding of what is happening in reality is to talk to all these various types of customers – patients, doctors, caregivers, nurses and payers.

The fieldwork of 10 days’ blog with 100 patients from 3 countries, multiple interviews with medical professionals and hospital payers generated a huge amount of information. Thousands of text pages of anonymised patients’ sentiments from blogs, dozens of hours of recordings from medical professionals and payers interviews and combining all of this with quantitative data – all these we managed to synthesise and turn into 8 major themes. Each of these themes, representing the biggest challenges relevant to all types of customers along the Patient journey, were assigned to famous pieces of art that were hung on the walls and surrounded by 5-6 key slides representing facts, quotes or statistics. Replicating guided tours in the famous art museums, we physically walked with our audience from one art piece to another telling them our data story, which was visually supported by the timeless paintings.

This approach involved movement, visual and, what is more important, emotional connection with data, creating a “pull effect” and curiosity. Why is this picture chosen? How is it linked to the data? What is in common between the stories from the painting with the story that our data tells us?

It also helped us to narrow down a vast amount of information to what is essential and actionable. Besides this, it helps create more memorable experiences and retain the information by increasing attention and engagement.

What do neuroscientists say?

Various neuroscience studies in the US and EU run a number of experiments in famous Art museums using using non-invasive mobile brain imaging devices for monitoring the brain activity while visitors are observing the art. With the help of technology, these studies show that while looking at some art pieces, there are many processes happening in the body and the brain on emotional, hormonal and cognitive levels that often positively impact human memory, attention and engagement.  Neuroscientists also observed that among many activities in the brain stimulated by art there is a tendency to search the correlation between what is viewed and one’s own experience.

As mentioned above, people recall personal experiences for a long time, which creates hope that such emotional anchors to art may help the audience to better retain the presented information and their physical movement around the Insight Vernissage eliminates fatigue and minimises the impact of data overload.

While these studies for better understanding of the neuro processes during art exhibitions are on-going and more discoveries will be made in the future, we already included the Insight Vernissage in our list of creative approaches for internal stakeholders’ engagement and better retention of actionable information.

Olga Kornilova, Ferring Pharmaceuticals, Switzerland