Southern Growth Studio is in the business of generating deep insights from the perspectives of consumers, markets, business customers and even donors or members. Our ability to discover opportunity under layers of data, perceptions, and between the lines is why clients hire us. We use a number of innovation and market-driven methods—often in concert—to unearth valuable consumer needs and growth opportunities your organization can confidently act upon. While each engagement is executed according to the specific problem we are hired to solve, we generally follow three overarching methodologies: market research, ethnography, and design thinking. The fusion of these methods transforms data into insights, which are used to build solutions that meet and exceed the objectives of the project.

Market Research

Market research at the Studio is a multidisciplinary effort, led by experts in business, analytics, management consulting, anthropology, finance, branding, philosophy, creative writing, innovation, and marketing. In our most comprehensive strategic service, for example—the Big Dig Opportunity Study—lines of inquiry are iteratively refined, shared, and transformed, until a coherent and compelling strategy emerges.

Studio market research methods include:

  • Industry analysis
  • Competitive analysis
  • Marketing sizing
  • Pricing strategy
  • Opportunity modelling
  • Trend research
  • Quantitative and qualitative data analysis


Ethnography is the branch of anthropology that aims to understand human behavior. At the Studio, we use ethnography as we visit and learn about your consumers and customers in their homes, workplaces, and leisure settings. Our team is trained to listen for unarticulated needs or tensions, which are impossible to find in traditional surveys. We understand that a one-size-fits-all template will never yield the driving insights required to make a difference in your field.

Southern Growth Studio excels at deeply listening for the specific needs of:

  • B-to-B companies
  • B-to-C companies
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Municipalities

Our ethnographic methods include:

  •          Participant and environmental observation
  •          In-depth interviews
  •          Survey design and execution
  •          Co-creation workshops
  •          User experience assessment
  •          Product development tests

Design Thinking

The Studio uses many methods of innovation, but is primarily shaped by Design Thinking, which was codified by the innovation firm IDEO and Stanford’s in the Hasso Platner School of Engineering, and refers to a proven and repeatable problem-solving protocol. At the Studio, we use design thinking methods to lead clients through product, service, and channel innovation projects. We often introduce our clients to the process during 3-day bootcamps that demonstrate the basics, and then work through more robust business challenges in full engagements. It begins with empathy and deep listening, followed by a definition of need states, prototype creation, testing, and prioritization. The Studio leads our clients through this iterative process, and helps craft truly meaningful and impactful solutions, either by embedding our team in your company and training your staff in innovation techniques, or as an independent resource.