What can a picture of eggs reveal about Indonesian beauty? What can an image of megaphone diplomacy tell you about family relationships?
In this episode of the Social Innovation Asia podcast, Michael Waitze and Daniel McFarlane talk with Neil Gains, who is the owner of TapestryWorks and helps clients decode people and culture to help them better connect with the emotions that drive behavior. He brings a breadth and depth of experience to the conversation after decades of work in research across the world including almost 20 years in Asia. He makes a valuable contribution to the podcast by providing an innovative visual approach to understanding people and the emotional drivers of social and behavioral change.
In a playful conversation, Neil gets Michael to reveal his own motivations and character using pictures. Neil explains how visual approaches help reveal unconscious motivations by tapping into our brain’s powerful visual memory. They discuss how familiarity and recognition give a simpler and more intuitive way to understand people than asking direct questions and relying on memory recall.
The discussion covers the role of cultural values and self-identity and why people are often unaware of what drives their behavior. Visual approaches help hack our rational brain to reveal hidden feelings. These feelings may also be difficult to articulate because they are socially unacceptable or difficult to translate into local language when a large part of communication is contextual.
Although visual approaches can appear very subjective, in the digital age they can also be used to quantify motivations and emotions across large samples of people. This can allow a detailed comparison of cultural drivers across countries and cultures and life stages. Humanizing research in this way can help you understand beneficiaries, stakeholders, customers, employees, innovators, leaders and entrepreneurs.
Neil’s intuitive visual approach captures honest and authentic responses to difficult questions, providing a roadmap of personal and cultural values that drive how people see themselves as individuals and how they relate to their communities.