Dave Pollard, has recently written an overview of Michael Porter's, Peter Drucker's and Clayton Christensen's approaches to innovation research. Dave believes research has not got its rightful place inside modern business enteprises. Dave writes,"Research is probably the most undervalued, and poorly done, process in Western business. It's not rocket science, but doing it well takes practice, a disciplined process, and strong creative, analytical and communication skills."
He adds, if assigned to do some innovation research today, he would use a combination of all three approaches, looking at the markets, and potential markets, and the forces that drive them, from all three perspectives. That way you can actually get a '3-D' forecast of the future of your,or your client's, business or industry, or the entire economy. It may make more sense to integrate into the research process Imperato and Harari's Thinking the Customer Ahead approach, a type of primary research (i.e. face-to-face, as contrasted with secondary research, which is looking at written documents in the public domain) that entails helping the customer to imagine where their business is headed, and then working backwards to assess the implications of that on where your client's business is headed. The Pyramid Principle methodology to document the research and perform the analysis would be very useful and the results could be probably structured as scenarios or future-state stories, embedding the results of the identified strategic innovation and differentiation responses".
As again, Dave does a masterful job of abstracting different schools of thoughts and approach to innovation research –providing guidelines to spotting new business opportunities, predicting the future competitive forces in business and their implications for one’s.