Innovative market research through bespoke apps

Bulb Studios is a Leicester-based media production and digital design agency specialising in web, mobile, and motion design. The company operates in a highly competitive sector, dominated by design houses in London and the USA, but identified an opportunity to develop interactive and innovative digital products for the market research and branding industry.

The involvement of users in the design process was recognised to be both a market differentiator and a key skill-set that Bulb required. User-centred design (UCD) is a method by which the needs, wants and limitations of end users of a product are given extensive attention at each stage of the design process. Through a KTP, Bulb Studios gained access to the research within the University of Leicester’s School of Management (now part of our School of Business) with a specific focus on UCD and innovation practice.

The collaboration proved highly beneficial, giving Bulb Studios a new product, the CrowdLab market research platform, which significantly improves the way market research data is collected and analysed. CrowdLab’s innovative bespoke market research apps for smartphones and tablets allow participants to take part in fun and intuitive surveys whenever and wherever they like – vastly improving the quality of data that is sent back to researchers.

The CrowdLab platform was very quickly adopted by several leading market research companies and this success warranted the creation of a new, spinout company, CrowdLab Ltd, with a specific mission to commercially exploit the CrowdLab technology. Within two years of being incorporated, CrowdLab Ltd had taken on 12 staff and opened offices in London and New York.

Bulb Studios and CrowdLab Ltd won numerous awards and accolades for their technology innovation, including the Market Research Society/Association for Surveys Computing Award for Technology Effectiveness and Innovation and the Leicester Mercury Innovation Award, amongst others. This demonstrated the disruptive nature of their technology which challenged traditional methodologies employed in the market research industry. 

"Since the beginning of the Knowledge Transfer Partnership, our relationship with the University of Leicester has gone from strength to strength and we continue to take advantage of the specialist knowledge, R&D and operational practices to inform the work we are doing."

- Jim Willis, MD, Bulb Studios