As we approach the time of year when gifts are exchanged, we ask the industry what they would like to improve their research world. What started out as a simple exercise in fact ended up as a micro-segmentation with several distinct responses, and of course, a multiple segment outlier:

  1. The Futurists

My research-related Christmas gift would be a crystal ball. I’d put it on my desk as a reminder of how frail our predictions can be, that we err in our judgements more often than we like to think….but also that coping with uncertainty can actually make our working lives more creative, innovative and ultimately fun!

Edward Appleton, Happy Thinking People

How could this not be to get more work?  And obviously, interesting, challenging work with real commercial application.  A time machine would be especially useful so we could do more work in less time – a bit like Hermione’s Time Turner in Harry Potter.

Caroline Hayter, Accacia Avenue

  1. The Sample Lovers

I want huge sample sizes, and I want simple and clear questions, and I want fun surveys, and I want focused research objectives, and I want few and short grids, and I want reverse keyed items. Also, I want to collect data in cool new ways so I also want a Play All Day Elmo, an R2 D2, and an Apple Watch. And world peace.

Annie Petit, Peanut Labs

At ESOMAR Congress, SSI release research showing that survey length has actually INCREASED in the past 5 years. I’d love for even 50% of the surveys I open on my phone to be mobile optimized and less than 10 minutes. Let’s make this more than just a Christmas wish in 2016!

Kristin Luck

  1. The Pragmatists

Free trials, something that I could use to reinvest in the industry. e.g. free sample, free transcription etc etc. I get bored of USB sticks, mouse mats etc and bored of things I can consume (as nice as it is ;)).

Mark Squires, Watermelon Research

The best gift would be SPSS-free Christmas Holidays.

Eugene Kritski, Globe Scan

I’ve asked Santa for two books: Causal Inference by Guido Imbens and Donald Rubin; and How Brands Grow Part 2 by Jenni Romaniuk and Byron Sharp. We market researchers sometimes make important causal connections based on pretty flimsy grounds. Imbens is a prominent econometrician and Rubin a highly influential statistician, and both are well-known for their cutting edge thinking on how to make inferences about causation. Sharp and his colleagues directly challenge many of basic MR assumptions with clear thinking and empirical evidence and, for me, reading their work is a must.

Kevin Gray, Cannon Gray LLC

An over 60 year old intern at every MR office. Hire retirees looking for something new to join and provide a different POV to every project. make it people with no previous MR experience … and offer to keep on the best ones.

Dave McCaughan

  1. The Pragmatic Futurist

Apart from the same things that I ask for every year (an endless supply of good people to hire, and a time machine to give me more breathing room on projects). I’d also like to see everyone in the industry – clients, agencies and respondents – trust their intuition more. Of course we need quantitative data to check our hypotheses, counter our own biases and provide structure to our findings. But we also need to know that some questions have no objective answers and quantitative measurement can’t answer everything. An understanding of human psychology and good marketing judgement is essential, and the numbers just provide the support to back that up and help us avoid mistakes.

Leigh Caldwell, The Irrational Agency