How we work

20blue is your partner when there’s no margin for error. Complexity is right up our street. Working with our hand-picked Expert Community, we can provide diverse perspectives and methods from social sciences – the tools you need to get to the bottom of today’s complex questions. Since 2010, we have conducted research for around 120 clients, consistently employing reliable methods and an impartial approach. Since 2020, we have used our Expert Community as a research department for content projects. Our two service areas are Expert Consulting and Expert Content. Whatever the project, we are committed to working in an academically rigorous manner.

Our Expert Community is at the heart of what we do

Our Expert Community is at the heart of everything we do. Many of our hand-picked experts have long been part of our ever-growing expert network. The network currently consists of around 250 individuals. Depending on the project at hand, we will identify the right experts from our community and put together an Expert Hub. This team of experts is often interdisciplinary and international in nature. We also look to our Expert Community when looking for someone to take on a more long-term consultancy assignment.

Our Expert Community is as diverse as your questions. If you ask a historian, a sociologist, a psychologist and a specialist in organisational research about work, you will get four different perspectives. If you ask employees or self-employed individuals, you’ll get two more.

At 20blue, there are highly qualified academics, reliable country and sector experts, talented researchers, meticulous translators and now also imaginative content creators.

Whether for a one-off or a long-term project, 20blue can provide the necessary links in the chain to ensure you have access to the expertise you need. Our job is to ensure you find out what you want to know and that our experts can work independently.

Quality is a question of management

Whatever the size and scope of the research project you commission, we want to provide the best possible answer while navigating the intersection between our clients’ interest in results and our experts’ interest in developing a deeper understanding of the subject (more on that here). With over 1000 projects under our belts, we know which workflows are feasible and deliver quality. We are in our element when things get complex.

Our agile workflow:

Driven by knowledge or driven by results

In the right context, even an individual’s knowledge can be a kind of data set. Uncovering the truth in the data is not easy though. Liking data is not the same as being able to deal with it competently. If you want solid answers, then it is essential that you make use of the right methodological skills and keep your expectations open regarding the results. The biggest challenge lies in reconciling effort and results. How much time do I need to put in to deliver a valid result? How do I divide up my research question intelligently to ensure I get a valid result in the time available? The interests of experts, particularly academics, and decision-makers in business and politics are often diametrically opposed with the former focused on developing their understanding of a subject while the latter are interested in results.

Discussions between experts and decision-makers often need to be guided to ensure they yield helpful results. This is where 20blue comes in. Having been involved in over 1000 projects, we have experienced almost everything that can happen when academia and practice – or specialist and managerial thinking – come together. It often requires a delicate touch, but if managed well, it can also be particularly fruitful.\

Methodology grounded in the social sciences

Our work differs from that of classic market researchers whose business model is based on surveys. How? We believe that insights and methods from the humanities and social sciences can often do more justice to the complexity of the decisions we make than a survey that only provides superficial information about how people respond to given phenomena. Assuming they aren’t lying, of course.

We use methods from the social sciences. Qualitative methods are the heart of our research, even if we sometimes supplement them with quantitative ones. Qualitative research is generally not considered to be representative. But does that really detract from the insights it provides?

If you want to understand the concerns and desires of a particular group, analysing a conversation using discourse-analysis methods is often more effective than a multiple-choice questionnaire. Linguistic methods allow us to identify people’s implicit knowledge: the unknown known. User biographies are incredibly helpful for recognising how people respond to societal trends. While these exploratory methods are not representative, they often provide the nuanced answers needed by companies and organisations trying to determine which decisions to make. Complexity is right up our street. We connect the dots to provide you with the explanations you need.

20blue (known as Nimirum until 2020) is very much at home in the social sciences. That’s why we primarily use qualitative research methods that do not require the complex assumptions of many quantitative approaches. You’d be surprised at the extent of the treasure that is right under your nose – it all depends on the method employed.

We even use interview methods for simple research projects. The collaboration within our Expert Hubs, for example, resembles mutual semi-structured research interviews. Qualitative interviews make it easy to relate the statements of experts from different fields to each other.

At 20blue, we are not seeking maximum representation. Indeed, very few studies outside of the academic context meet this demand.

We want to provide you with good working hypotheses and help you use the right methods to come to the best answer.


In unserer losen Reihe von „Werkstattberichten“ werfen wir einen Blick hinter die Kulissen: wie arbeitet 20blue als agile Denkmanufaktur eigentlich? Da jedes unserer Projekte kundenindividuell ist, ist es oft schwierig, unser Angebot in einen Satz zu packen. Die Werkstattberichte sind auch schöne Momente für uns als Team, innezuhalten, und zu reflektieren, was wir eigentlich geschafft (und geschaffen) haben. Ein Achtsamkeitsmoment uns selbst gegenüber, den wir gerne offenlegen. Alle Werkstattberichte in der Übersicht:

Your direct contact to the 20blue team

You have an inquiry or want to work with us? Get in touch! We are available from 9am to 5pm CET and get back to you within 24 hours. Often, we're much quicker than that.

Your direct line to us