Meet Georgia Patera: THRIVE’s Director of Research & Strategy

Georgia Patera is a student and a thinker, a creator and an innovator, whose latest move to THRIVE as our Director of Research and Strategy seems years in the making. Her specialty (harnessing the power of observation to unlock deep consumer insights) aligns beautifully with THRIVE’s methodologies – a great match if we ever saw one.

Georgia’s multidisciplinary background started with the written word, as a journalism major at the University of Oregon. “I have a passion for writing and investigation. However, when I graduated college, I realized the media landscape is changing so rapidly, and I really had more of a sense for business anyway.” That shift brought her to the world of product management, and work on various accounts from power sports to cell phones (to nearly everything in between). “I sort of developed a reputation as the person you throw on things when you don’t really know what’s going on,” she says.  “Kind of, ‘Georgia will figure it out.’”

Passionate and eloquent, Georgia’s penchant for innovation is clear, especially in her work with Egg Strategy, a Chicago firm where she cut her teeth in ideation and branding. “A lot of the work I did at Egg was helping clients to unpack the messiness of modern life. Using the powers of observation to understand that people aren’t just one thing, but are usually multiple things simultaneously,” she says. “Watching people do really boring things and finding the interesting tidbits within them is one of the most fascinating parts of my job.” And those sharp observational skills don’t just shut off once she closes her laptop for the day, either. “I recently inherited my grandmother’s collection of vintage gourmet magazines dated back to 1943. In one, I found a wartime rations card that indicated the prices of basic commodities so no one was price gouging. It was an everyday slice of the past that has was documented in such beautiful language; it was inspiring.”

This foray into observational research proved valuable when she moved to Atlanta to join the THRIVE team, bringing her consumer behavior expertise to our Southeastern hub of innovation and ideation. Building upon her experiences in consumer behavior, Georgia centers her philosophy on making the customer experience delightful and meaningful. “I’m a believer in the idea of multiple concurrent truths. Meaning that there’s the truth as you see it, the truth as someone else sees it, and then there’s the truth as its experienced by people in the world around us,” she explains, expounding on the importance of investigating a concept from an array of angles. “So when we’re able to apply that theory, we’re able to see things in a new light.”

Now that she’s completed her transition into a Director role at THRIVE, Georgia hopes to expand her observation-based research and grow into using new methodologies. “[I’m hoping to deepen] threads of expertise in mobile iconography, and also do some cross training between research and strategy, because in my mind those two disciplines are absolutely distinct,” she says of her vision for progress at THRIVE. “I think that researchers can be strategists and strategists can be researchers, and there are different muscles in your brain that you can flex from one moment to the next to create that connective tissue between the observation you discover in research and business application that you would get from strategy.”

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