By Finn Raben

The past is where we built the foundations;
The present is how we are driving change;
The future is ESOMAR.

70 years ago, 29 visionaries from 8 different countries met in Amsterdam and decided to establish a non-partisan, apolitical, multi-country professional community, united by a common desire to distinguish and differentiate themselves through common professional standards and a universal code of conduct.

Since that time, our Code is now accepted or endorsed in over 55 countries; our membership exceeds 5,400 individuals worldwide and more than 550 companies, our community represents all parties in the research arena – buyers, providers and suppliers alike; and our legislative reputation is second to none.

BUT…is that reason to sit back and relax? Certainly not!

While in 1947 the challenge was to bring together a divided (research) world, reeling from global conflict, now the challenge is to bring together a divided profession, reeling not only from the speed of technological advance, but also struggling with the juxtaposition of commercial opportunities and legal constraints.

As data sources exponentially abound, as opportunities for data manipulation exponentially increase, and as demand for evidence based, actionable guidance becomes increasingly paramount, we continue to find, highlight and provide guidance to the evolutionary path of: research -> insight -> foresight.

ESOMAR’s 70th anniversary is an opportunity for us to celebrate all our professions achievements in this evolution.

Whether it’s our innate skill at finding the “right” data; our requirement to determine provenance and apply appropriate rigour; our desire to design fit-for-purpose solutions, or our constant hunger to design and incorporate new analytics, automations and/or methodological approaches, the “insights professional” of today is very different from the researcher of yesterday.

And yet, the ultimate objective of today’s professional is exactly the same – to provide evidence based, actionable guidance to assist governments, businesses and societies in their decision making processes.

This year, we wish to highlight and celebrate the many wonderful and extraordinary contributions research has made to both business and society; to look forward to the next evolutionary step in our journey, and to re-emphasise the values of provenance and rigour.

As someone who has been involved in the provision of market intelligence for more than 30 years, I can honestly say that there is no greater joy than providing an insight that will help solve your clients challenge, and no greater satisfaction in seeing that insight translated into an action or a number (financial or otherwise!) that influences a company or governments behavior.

Market, Social and Opinion research, Insights and Data Analytics is a sector that we should be proud of, and shout loudly about!!


It’s a $70 billion dollar profession, contributing essential guidance to all industry and government sectors, as well as charitable and non-governmental organisations.

So come and celebrate! Celebrate what we have done; celebrate what we are doing, and celebrate what we will have to do, to continue to remain at the leading edge of providing invaluable guidance to commerce, government and society.


Finn Raben is the Director General at ESOMAR

Visit: to keep up to date with the anniversary celebrations!