Last week almost 1,000 of the most progressive researchers and clients flocked to Atlanta to contribute to the drive of innovation in MRX at the Insight Innovation Exchange.

The conference was about exploring client needs, and how technology is reasserting the credibility of research through impact and ROI at a boardroom level.

Macro Matters: Looking Forward to the Future Context of Consumption

J Walker Smith of Kantar Futures described the third age of consumption. Capacity is a defining challenge within this area. The new consumer wants to live large, and carry little. They want to own less stuff, be in less debt but do not what to diminish the value and enjoyment of their lives. It’s heartening to explore how the concept of more for less, a trend that we see within the MR industry, is just as relevant on a global consumer scale, and how automation will be a key aspect of consumer culture in the future.

J Walker Smith of Kantar Futures

Panel: Iconic Brands – How Tech is Driving the Future of Our Brands

Ryan Barry of ZappiStore, Michelle Gansle of Wrigley, June West Holland of Verizon,Kristen Griffith of Clorox, and Thomas Grayman of Viacom

Ryan Barry moderated a panel with four iconic and innovative end-clients in the research space who provided a unique exploration of insights in the c-suite, and more importantly, how to get there.

They also discussed technology and innovation in MRX. Michele stated that the new trend within her company is a clear push to get more with less, and this translates into doing things differently – not just fast and cheap. This was echoed by Kristen who identified three key aspects of the change:

  • Using data sets that we have in news ways.
  • Always-on sources, like social media listening.
  • Agile tools and studies that allow us to do fast, iterative learning, rather than one big study.

Is there room for science fiction prototyping in the research industry?

Ari Popper at SciFutures thinks that technology is turning us into gods. He discussed AI, VR, AR, and the impact new technology is having on our lives. It was a primer on the future new technologies will provide. Ari discussed that although early tech is deceptively disappointing, VR and AR improvements are moving fast, and platforms like Google Home and Amazon’s Alexa are already collecting significant behavioral data.

Ari Popper at SciFutures

Insight Innovation Competition

Pedro Almeida, presented a new panel-based and automated biometric testing system from MindProber, which won the competition this year. Biometric approaches have a number of significant challenges to overcome in order to become more than just a niche research methodology.

But the team at MindProber have stepped up to that challenge by creating relatively cheap, medically-calibrated biometric equipment, that can be sent to mobile panelists, rather than having respondents in a lab – allowing their clients to measure the real-time emotional impact of whatever needs to be tested.

Going from Order-Takers to Business Drivers

Julio Franco shared six key takeaways, based on his experience of working with brands that are succeeding in the research space at the moment are:

  1. Accepting that the old ways of doing research are no longer fit for purpose.
  2. There is now a focus on business decision making.
  3. They don’t over-engineering the sample.
  4. They are getting a grip on digital.
  5. They are challenging legacy systems.
  6. Brands are ensuring they learn from their learnings.

Julio Franco of ZappiStore

Leveraging AI for Real-time research during NASCAR’s biggest race

Andrew Konya of Remesh and Brooks Denton showed how automation is also making inroads into qualitative research. They were able to run what amounted to a fully automated digital qual bulletin board with the NASCAR community during a live race. The algorithms behind the platform were outstanding, showing how AI is really beginning to step up to the client challenge.

Key Takeaways

In many publications across the research industry, there is claim being made that clients are being asked to do more with less. But one of the key takeaways for me was that rather than doing more with less, client-side researchers are being asked to do more with existing data sets. But in order to achieve this, and to work with the boardroom in a more strategic way they need time and breathing space. This is an area where automation shines, allowing time and resources to be repurposed for the “bigger picture”, creative thinking required for modern insights teams.

Most importantly, conference goers also saw a return of Led Zappilin at IIeX NA – who made their debut performance in Amsterdam earlier this year. You can rock out to the full performance which was broadcast live on Facebook.

Daniel Evans

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Daniel Evans

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