8 Responses

  1. Annie Pettit
    Annie Pettit at |

    Bang on. I sometimes feel I go overboard in NOT mentioning my company name to the point where people ask me what company I used to produce my data. And yet I can’t speak at some events because I’m a supplier who is supposedly only there to pitch their services. I’m the first one to start tweeting about break-time and dessert when a speaker becomes a salesperson. Check my tweets after speak… if you dare.

    And I’ve yet to be on a panel that is 50% or more non-white male. There’s a bigger world out there than the current MRX C Suite. We ought to take advantage of it. Yes, I count because counting is what I do. :)

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  2. Remarkably Regular Conference Goer - ESOMAR and others
    Remarkably Regular Conference Goer - ESOMAR and others at |

    I agree wholeheartedly and what better place to say it than the ESOMAR blog?

    If you look at ESOMAR they fail on some of the criteria:

    Insulated planning – there is way too much of this and is probably my biggest criticism of their approach. Wisdom of crowds for selection anyone? It worked for NewMR.

    Pay to play – ESOMAR have the right balance here. Peer review is more valuable than depth of the pockets.

    Speaker curation – as a white male I don’t get it … surely it should just be the best speakers, regardless of gender, age or colour?

    Presentation vetting – this is critical.
    I say 90% of the presentations I sit through are crap. They system is broken. Please fix it.

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  3. Preriit Souda
    Preriit Souda at |

    So true. Kristin, salute you for a courageous blog. Many conferences are just there to print money or become an advertising platform for established players. Several times, personally, I have seen young speakers or speakers from places other than europe or america face a bias. Often jury members are so biased towards the established big names that they do not even wish to read synopsis of new aspiring researchers. Having said that, there are few jury members who do have a genuine interest in bringing up new ideas.

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  4. Steve August
    Steve August at |

    Kristin – I hear ya! I missed IIEX, as much as I really wanted to be there, because I was already scheduled for MRA Annual the week before and ESOMAR 3D the week after. I was not able to do three straight weeks on the road, especially factoring the cost of the marriage counseling that would have inevitably ensued. It definitely seems like the MR conference circuit has expanded from mainly in the fall to the whole year ’round.

    I guess there’s something to be said for more choices, more learnings, but fatigue definitely starts to sink in.

    As someone who is currently part of the ESOMAR Qual committee, and has been on one other in the past, I’d like to address some of the comments on bias. In my experience, at least on ESOMAR conference committees, there is no bias other than what papers are the most interesting, relevant to the theme or themes, and ultimately judged to be useful learning for attendees. In my limited experience, age/gender is not considered in the selection of a paper. The committees I’ve been on may look at balancing out regions if there’s too much concentration from one country. And there is a desire to have end clients involved. But even with these considerations, it comes down to what the committee deems are the strongest submissions.

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  5. Remarkably Regular Conference Goer - ESOMAR and others
    Remarkably Regular Conference Goer - ESOMAR and others at |

    Steve August, thank you for clarifying.

    What do you say to the other accusations – for ESOMAR or others:

    Insulated planning – there is way too much of this and is probably my biggest criticism of their approach. Wisdom of crowds for selection anyone? It worked for NewMR.

    Presentation vetting – this is critical.
    I say 90% of the presentations I sit through are crap. The system is broken. Please fix it.

    Reply
  6. Steve August
    Steve August at |

    Dear RRCG-E&Os,

    Insulated planning. I think it’s important to make a distinction between MR Member Organizations (ESOMAR, MRA, QRCA, MRS) that put on conferences and Event Businesses that put on MR conferences (IIR and others).

    I’ll speak to my personal experience with the former as I’ve no first experience from organizing side of the latter.

    Conference committees of member orgs are staffed by member/volunteers. Generally these people are also working their consuming day jobs (running companies, research departments, and projects) and spending extra time to go through a peer review process. In my personal experience, everyone contributes to the best intentions and gives as much time as the vagaries of their day jobs’ schedules allow. Sometimes the ‘insulated planning’ is a byproduct of a volunteer committee that’s got the bandwidth to curate submissions, but not necessarily organization a new conference submission process.

    Presentation vetting. While I don’t agree with your 90% estimate, I do agree that there could be stronger vetting to weed out the pure sales pitches (or a least put them in a session that’s basically labeled SALES PITCHES HERE!). The challenge, and I can attest as someone who probably has not hit every presentation delivery deadline, sometimes they come in last minute. Sometimes, a sponsor goes too far and the organizers may only push back so much.

    Could planning be more creative? Could MR conference orgs go SXSW style? Yeah, though you get a lot of sales pitches that way too. Could presentations be better vetted? You bet.

    My last comment is that if you truly believe the system is broken, and you care about improving things – get involved in any of the numerous avenues/orgs/events and be a part of the fix.

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  7. Name
    Name at |

    Interesting how one commercial conference seems to be singled out here as the only conference that does not fail to satisfy conference goers. If I remember correctly the mentioned competition is SPONSORED and not cheap when I remember the price tag. There may be a lot wrong with the conference model but I don’t believe this one fixed it.

    It also does not seem to me that the selection criteria for speakers was much different since I was very much the same faces at iiex than at previous shows. – Or why were many of the exhibitors up on the speaker stage? Surely because they paid for it.

    So while there may be some truth (frustration) in the above I think it is also read with a pinch of salt – and should maybe be moved to the sponsored section if there is one.

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  8. Rhiannon
    Rhiannon at |

    HI RRCG-E&Os and others,

    As the Events Manager at ESOMAR I would be more than happy to discuss any of these comments or ideas, – you can always reach me on rhiannon@esomar.org or +31 20 6642141

    Cheers
    Rhiannon

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