Netflix is encouraging its market research teams to innovate by fostering a culture of “honourable failure”, according to the streaming giant’s EMEA insights director, Patrick Collins. Speaking at the Market Research Society’s Insight Alchemy conference, Collins said that people need space to fail, and the company’s focus is on creating an environment where fresh ideas can emerge. He added that productivity is not about volume and team managers should give people space to have an impact. Netflix also promotes a working culture where staff take ownership of their jobs, work in their preferred manner, and take responsibility for the impact their role has.
Accountability is a Two-Way Street
A former head of insight, marketing effectiveness and customer experience at Direct Line Group, Ann Constantine, agreed that accountability must be a two-way street. She said that people managers need to be clear on why they are assigning tasks, as well as the impact pieces of research will have, tying it to return on investment (ROI) or business outcomes. When team members feel they have “skin in the game”, they are more likely to work harder, Constantine claimed. Collins concurred, saying that team members need to see the wider impact of their work and understand why they are doing it. Netflix doesn’t optimise for the short-term and encourages staff to take agency over what they do.
People Management is a Priority
In a busy environment, leaders can sometimes lose sight of managing team members properly, observed Constantine. However, managing people is “not a side hustle” and should be prioritised. Netflix is a business that inspires many brands’ human resources strategies. The brand’s talent management created in 2009 by then-chief talent officer, Patty McCord, and co-founder Reed Hastings has been viewed over five million times online and was termed “the most important document” to come out of Silicon Valley by former Meta COO, Sheryl Sandberg. Collins noted that the brand’s talent management practices have evolved in almost 15 years since. Netflix still prioritises its working culture, but that culture differs throughout its international teams. The Italian market research team’s working culture differs slightly from that of the UK’s, but “the key pillars” of the strategy laid out by Hastings and McCord in 2009 remain consistent, according to Collins. These include expecting staff to “do big things” and enjoy themselves while doing it.
Encouraging Innovation in Market Research
Netflix’s approach to encouraging innovation in market research highlights the importance of creating a culture that encourages risk-taking and learning from failures. By promoting an environment where staff take ownership of their jobs, work in their preferred manner, and take responsibility for the impact their role has, Netflix is showing that accountability is a two-way street. Managers need to be clear on why they are assigning tasks and how they tie in with business outcomes. This approach not only promotes innovation but also fosters a sense of ownership and commitment among team members. In today’s fast-paced and ever-changing business environment, companies that can adapt and innovate are more likely to succeed, and Netflix’s approach to market research provides a blueprint for how to achieve this.
In conclusion, Netflix’s emphasis on creating a culture of “honourable failure” and promoting ownership and accountability among team members highlights the importance of fostering innovation in market research. By giving people space to experiment and learn from their failures, Netflix is encouraging its market research teams to think outside the box and come up with fresh ideas. As a result, the company is better positioned to adapt to changing market conditions and stay ahead of the curve.
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