Client needs are always growing and changing, as is our ability to offer new and innovative solutions, and this month we played with a technology that never gets old.
An Audience Response System, or ARS, is a blend of hardware and software that allows for a presenter to poll his or her audience and get nearly automatic results for display to the group. Great for conferences, community forums, member or stakeholder voting, or public policy polling, each participant is provided with a keypad (or in some cases, uses a smartphone app) and inputs responses for multiple choice questions. We then have the option to incorporate open-ended small group exercises guided by the survey responses.
The first really wonderful thing about this endeavor was that we were able to collect and display data in real time, which in this day and age of knowledge at our fingertips and instant gratification, was just plain cool for us. The second and maybe more unforeseen benefit was the engagement of the audience. From an attendee asking mid-program how they can engage this technology at their next conference, to another asking us to customize a survey answer option on the fly, the 127 public health professionals and advocates packed into rather small conference room were enthusiastic about a data collection.
At the end of the session, we had generated plenty of data ready for analysis by demographic factors, response sets, as well as numerous qualitative insights from the group exercises. As researchers, we are thrilled to have conducted a comprehensive session which produced sound results.
As strategists, we are excited to have successfully implemented an innovative and engaging process which provides the foundation for the next stage of action and communication planning. And as consultants, it always feels great to receive a follow up email from a client stating the program was “AWESOME.” Definitely a tool we love to leverage.