What sets us apart

>> We focus on human connection, going beyond linguistic, cultural or corporate boundaries.

>> With work experience in over 17 different countries in all corners of the world, our team brings a truly global perspective to our work.

>> Our passions and interests—such as for international exchange, learning and sports—guide what we do.  As such, our services include a diverse range of activities from organizing medical learning events and seminars to sponsoring sports teams and organizing soccer clinics for youth.

>> From Hokkaido to Kyushu, our affiliate Shilac Japan operates out of four regional offices and has an expansive network across Japan.

>> Shilac has over 25 years of experience with specialization in import and export, particularly in sports medicine, orthopedic and medical equipment.

Why qualitative research?

With the emergence of social media and the digital revolution of the past few decades, we have seen an unprecedented amount of data being generated, collected and analyzed.  From their use in analyzing customers’ purchasing patterns to attempting to predict outbreaks of influenza, data have often been hailed as the panacea for our organizational and societal needs.[1] 

Indeed, businesses and organizations have scrambled to become more data driven, while coders have rushed to develop the latest predictive algorithms and computer models.  Yet what we have gained in this often singular focus on recognizing patterns and making meaning out of prodigious amounts of data, we have too often lost in terms of human insights.

The challenge is that human behavior is often irrational.  Though our lives do not neatly fit within statistical trends, we are wired to see meaningful patterns where they may not exist.  Five tails in a row may be a lucky streak, but that does not change the probability of the next coin flip being tails.[2]

As a complement to big data, qualitative market research can bring meaning and context to provide that human element.  It can help bring rich insights to better understand the wants and needs of new customers, particularly in new contexts.  It can help test assumptions and answer why customers think and behave the way they do.

[1] https://techcrunch.com/2017/01/29/why-the-promise-of-big-data-hasnt-delivered-yet/
[2] http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1612/11/fzgps.01.html


We do not have an off-the-shelf solution.  Rather, we meet the needs of our unique clients, by working together to develop study objectives and set our targets.  The following are some of the formats commonly used for the deep dive approach:

>> Ethnographic interviews – We repeatedly interview subjects, preferably in their homes or on-location, to get a deep dive understanding of their behavior and motivations.  We sometimes use photography or other creative means for participants to document and discuss their insights. 

>> Video recording and observations – When possible and appropriate, we use video recording and  observations. These immersive experiences can help us understand behaviors that study participants themselves may not even have been aware of.  

>> Focus groups – Generating discussions among a potential demographic or customer base can be a powerful way to understand reactions to products or advertisements or the emotions and motivations of a particular group.