By Jenny Karubian
It is not every day that your organization turns 70. Milestones are time to take stock of what has happened and what the future holds. In the same way that birthdays lead individuals to think of their lives in this critical way, an organizational milestone is no different. The talks given today at ESOMAR Congress are an excellent illustration of the kind of reflection that milestones call for. The lineup of speakers today gave the audience a perspective on the state of the research industry and potentials for its future.
In “Social Media Matinee,” Zoe Dowling talked about the relevance of video within market research and discussed possibilities of new ways to engage clients through video. She encouraged people to be creative, think outside the box, and push ourselves to move ahead with the times. Zoe believes that we need to look at the world around us and try new things, rather than be stuck in old paradigms of the ways research has always been done.
In Battle for the Brain, Cynthia Miller gave us a perspective on a possible future of research. One in which research is supplanted with “People Exploration” and people live within the data set. Her dystopian tale brought us to the year 2087 with clear warnings against purifying results and tangling data with its implications. In this alternate future, empathy is scant, narratives are forced, and respondents are handpicked to tell the stories leaders want to hear.
As we reflect on the possibilities of the MR industry, Zoe Dowling and Cynthia Miller give us two potential futures. In one, we move with the times and immerse ourselves in how modern people are actually living, and in another, humans are forced into narratives that are not of their own making. These are important possibilities to bear in mind as our industry moves ahead into the next 70 years.
Jenny Karubian is CEO, President & Research Lead at Lotus Research and ESOMAR Congress 2017 official blogger