5 Ways to Drive Impact with Research

Erman Misirlisoy, PhD
7 min readJun 28, 2023
Photo by Jordan McDonald on Unsplash

Any researcher working in industry understands that research has to drive positive business value. Companies hire researchers because they believe their investment will pay off when it comes to the bottom line.

But how exactly does research create impact? The most common form of impact in my experience — running research to validate a product team’s emerging concepts — may be the least compelling route for a researcher to make a significant impact. So here are 5 different types of impact that researchers can work toward. Some are more traditional and reactive while others are more forward-looking and proactive.

Impact #1: Validating good concepts

A common contribution from a researcher on a product team is in validating emerging product concepts. The process runs something like this:

  1. A product manager has a product idea or multiple competing ideas in development
  2. Designers prepare rough mocks of how each idea will appear in the product
  3. The team asks a researcher to test those mocks with prospective users and recommend how to move forward

This is a very natural way for a researcher to unblock a team on making progress and meeting goals. A good product team will value early feedback from users before they…



Erman Misirlisoy, PhD

Research Leader (Ex-Instagram / Chief Scientist at multiple startups). Author of the User Insight Newsletter: https://userinsight.substack.com/