Would we need a Fair Trade movement for Information?

It was quite awkward last week, when this ghost company from Brooklyn contacted us for a research about Spanish trends.

As we always do with new clients, verifying the company was the first task. Even though we discovered the company did not exist  and the budget was laughable, we took it as a team exercise.

The brief looked pretty simple, asking for very basic information. We had  gathered similar information  in recent months for another client, so we went for it

A Tricky Project Brief

Soon, we discovered  they would want more and even a lot more, the brief was just the top of an iceberg. The project brief described the work was calculated to be developed in 2 half days (4-8 hours at the most) with simple descriptions of 2 deliverables: one for general trends and another one for descriptions. When the first deliverable format document arrived we noticed it was going deeper on the description of the trend and now asked for the sources of the information, authors, dates, location, etc. that wasn´t good. A good cop never reveals his sources.

We completed the first deliverable and sent it the same day, receiving a not very kind feedback from our ¨new boss¨. She wanted more specific and explained information, more details and descriptions so we felt like in the old times at school, when that lousy, rude and strong boy took your lunch and made you do his homework based on threats. Mmmm bad memories but also a bad idea, since our team does not respond well to threats, in fact we don´t respond to threats at all.

To be honest,we have found that a nice talk, a good tone and an interesting task has made us move mountains in the past and other types of dialogue make us very lazy. Some of us were uncomfortable because of the tricky brief, but still kept our word and provided some of the information in a first deliverable. The tone of our client´s emails  became more and more bossy, trying to make us feel we were not providing enough accurate information but just willing to get more than they asked for, this really bothered us.

A High Maintenance New ¨boss¨

The second deliverable format arrived the next day and  now it was asking for at least one hundred images, trend descriptions and sources and the influence of those trends in at least 9 aspects of life, that was enough information to develop a national trends report. A complete report that would have been worth  at least ten times the budget offered by “Ghost USA” . We know how much information and analysis is worth since we have been working on similar things for years, but now we felt trapped between demands, bossy emails and our rejection to the project.

Then we decided to let our client know about our feelings for the project. Bad response again, the tone suddenly changed to ¨…come on guys, this is not that much…¨ .

That was too much for us.

We decided to send the last info, an amount  we considered enough for the price and the time ¨agreed¨and say goodbye, it was time to let go. This was definitively the kind of client that would buy a one dollar piece of glass from you and sell it as a diamond in thousands.

Now we ask ourselves if a fair trade movement for those of us working on information and research would be really necessary? Would clients pay the real value of the information and analysis they receive?

Since hundreds of teenagers see themselves as coolhunters, speculation and a black market are on the rise…!

Author: DesignThinkers Spain

Our work includes cultural research, design thinking, strategy and service design and contents production. ESPAÑOL Somos una empresa dedicada a la Investigación de usuarios, Project management y Formación. Ayudamos a empresas y organizaciones a entender mejor el entorno social y cultural en el que desarrollan sus actividades y con base en ello formulamos ideas que facilitan la interacción con usuarios y públicos. Entendemos los procesos de interacción con grupos sociales a través de la investigación, la consultoría y la gestión de proyectos de innovación para procesos comerciales, sociales, educativos o de gobierno.

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