By George Terhanian
The views expressed are his own.

Nearly every product you interact with — from the car you drive, to the TV and movies you see, to the advertising to which you’re exposed — has benefited from market research, a $32-billion-and-growing global industry. Businesses value such research. They demand it. And why shouldn’t they? Good research is vital to innovation and competitive advantage, bringing to light new needs as well as clues on how to satisfy them. Market research has some downsides too. It can be complicated, slow, and expensive — available only to big spenders with plenty of time on their hands.