Everyone in the lab is attentive to the results, asking themselves “What do I see?”. Everyone scientifically trained takes the next step and asks themselves “What does it mean?”. Everyone at CR should ask the question:
“What does it mean to them?”
There is always one person in every project who is responsible for asking the third question, the scientifically responsible, our SR. To be able to answer, this person does not only need to understand the science of the project but the client and the origin of the problem statement. This is done together with the project manager to some extent but more importantly together with the person who spoke to the client first, the salesperson.
This is where we could be really annoyed with each other but are not. This is when the salesperson suggests a different way of presenting the results, often with very little time left before said presentation… but if this question is not addressed, the results have very little value.
The mistake we have done is to not have time for this question to be thought through and to not know enough about what matters to our client to be able to answer.
The learning we want to share is to acknowledge the value that lies in being able to answer and the time needed to do so. In addition, we have learned that it is important to dare to provide direction. As scientists, we would often like to know more before a decision is made. The value often lies in being able, or to dare, to direct based on less.