By Lucy Davison

If you’ve been living under a rock for the past few months, you might have missed the big news in the insights world of the merger of the MRA and CASRO to form the Insights Association. Now, as an external observer based in London, this merger made perfect sense; both the UK trade association the MRS and the global organisation, ESOMAR have long had a corporate and individual membership and they seem to co-exist quite successfully. But in May I’m heading across the pond to find out more about what the merger means for US researchers and to attend the first Insights Association conference, NEXT: Advancing Insights Through Innovation & Research, in New York City.

In advance of my trip, I called Krista Vazquez to sound out what was new and different about this conference compared to before. Krista is the Insights Association events supremo, and she’s pretty excited about what they have coming up. The NEXT conference has emerged phoenix-like from some of the previous conferences, such as CASRO’s tech event and the MRA strategy conference, and hopes to present a new twist, namely a focus on the practical implementation of new ideas and methodologies from the client perspective.

From a comparative (UK) perspective, Krista has also targeted at least 45-50% client attendees, which I believe is almost unattainable in the UK where achieving 20% clients to an industry event has proved extremely challenging. Any ideas as to why?

There is also promise of innovation, with lots of emphasis on the future and how our industry is changing. Drones, AI and driverless cars are all going to feature – showing that there are no bounds to the potential for tech in research and insight. As part of this focus on technology, for those of us not able to get to the CES show (for ignoramuses like me, that’s the Consumer Electronics Show – a massive international gathering about all things new in global consumer electronics and consumer technology that takes place every January in Las Vegas), we’re told that a selection of the winning products from CES will be showcased at the NEXT event. Will Smith and I. Robot, anyone ??

For our profession, an important question is whether the NEXT event will be a unique mix of the edgy tech of IIeX and the practicality of the Corporate Researchers event run by Quirk’s? Only time, and my visit, will tell….watch this space for an after-event report….

So I’m pretty excited. Not only do I get to go to Katz’s diner and ask for what ‘she’ had, I get to see some raving new tech without trekking to the desert.

By Lucy Davison, Keen as Mustard Marketing

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