Market Research Industry Take Note: Young Researchers Have Talent

By Horst Feldhaeuser

As soon as market research conferences end, the first feedback blogs are published. I always enjoy these posts as, if I’ve attended myself, they often give me a different perspective on the things I saw and heard. Or, if I was unable to attend, they give me the feeling that I’ve participated in some way.

In September, I was fortunate to attend the annual ESOMAR Congress in Berlin. Two of my favorite parts of this year’s Congress were the Young ESOMAR Society (YES) pitches and the Research Got Talent initiative.

YES (Young ESOMAR Society)

Each year on the first day of Congress, five young professionals (or teams) are given the opportunity to pitch their work or ideas to Congress attendees. Each entry has 60 seconds to pitch. Congress attendees then vote for their favourite presentation. The individual or team that scores the most votes then presents Pecha Kucha style (20 slides/20 seconds per slide) the next day.

The 60 second pitches alone are usually worth watching – and this year was no different. It’s fantastic to see these young researchers get up in front of a large crowd to present their ideas with passion and enthusiasm. This year’s winner, Selina Pietsch from FactWorks in Germany, used her home advantage to excite the crowd with her presentation “What Can We Learn from Tweets and Co. for Open-end Analysis.” Her presentation used a social media text analytics approach to better code short open-enders. Selina presented with the skill of a seasoned pro. She was so inspiring! I left the presentation feeling invigorated and fizzing with new ideas.

The passion and drive these young professionals bring to the table is so energizing and I’m always left wanting more. I’m glad that ESOMAR has the YES program and my challenge to them is this:

“Increase the stage time given to this new generation, and when it comes to the finals, have more than one presentation.”

What better way to encourage future insights leaders to come forward, while adding energy and drive to ESOMAR Congress? YES, we can!

Research Got Talent

This little gem of an event kept a low profile. If you didn’t go to the ESOMAR Association meeting or the WIRe luncheon, you would have missed it completely.

Research Got Talent is a not-for-profit initiative piloted by the Market Research Society of India (MRSI) and the Market Research Society of Hong Kong (MRSHK). It brings together young researchers from different companies to work together on a research project that supports the objectives of a not-for-profit organization. Their support is given on a pro bono basis, enabling the chosen organization to undertake research they might not otherwise have been able to afford.

Chris Farquhar, from MRSHK, is one of the original organizers of the Research Got Talent initiative and is very passionate about it.  “The initial idea came from the MRSHK Committee when we were looking for a new initiative to get younger researchers more involved in MRSHK activities,” Chris explained. “We wanted to enable young researchers from a range of different companies to work together, encouraging a sense of professional solidarity. Helping a worthy charity – which is motivating for millennials – also helps generate a positive image for the market research profession.”

Being part of a Research Got Talent team is quite challenging for young researchers. They have to find the right client, figure out the logistics (as well as workload allocation of participating team members) and juggle their volunteer work with the demands of their day job. But the impact of the experience they bring back to their organizations makes it compelling for their employers to support their venture.

This year, Niyati Taggarsi from Ormax Consultants presented the Indian Research Got Talent project  at the ESOMAR Association meeting. Niyati and her team immersed themselves in rural India to better understand the role of women and what can be done to help them acknowledge and achieve their dreams and ambitions. Her presentation was truly inspirational and highlighted how market research can make a positive social impact. In fact, she made such great impression, the Women in Research (WIRe) team asked her to present again, this time to a larger ESOMAR group at the WIRe luncheon.

It would be great to see the Research Got Talent initiative expand into other markets. If this sounds like something you and your local research organization  might be interested in supporting, you can contact MRSI at or MRSHK at

We often complain that our industry experts are getting older (some might say just plain old) and that research is a dying industry. I personally think we have a lot of life left in us. But we need to do more to foster and encourage the young researchers who are our future leaders because they are the people who will keep this industry vibrant and relevant long into the future. For this reason, I’m a big fan of showcasing young and new talent on the ‘big stage’ of prominent industry conferences. The more we can encourage and enable them to share their passion and their often different points of view, the more likely it is that our industry will continue to evolve and add value to society and businesses alike.

By Horst Feldhaeuser, Infotools