This Month’s Newsletter

Aug 2017: Truth matters more than technology

This month I have been reading the Economist book Megatech – their look at what the world will look like in 2050 and how the world is moving towards this. Inevitably there is a lot about emerging technology which seems closer to science fiction. But what struck me was a comment when talking about the future of conflict. About how armies from liberal democracies have an advantage over those from dictatorships. Because intelligence is based on facts rather than propaganda. It is hard to make decisions if you don’t believe the evidence you are being presented with.

This seems particularly relevant in post truth Brexit Britain – where we can’t get past tribal opinions because we can’t agree what the facts are. And the negotiations need to be got through as fast as possible because the agendas are so numerous and so varied it is becoming more and more difficult to tell what is going on. This isn’t the place to make a party political push for good customer intelligence in the form of research. But to make the simpler more fundamental point that progress is only possible when we have confidence in basic evidence. And investigative journalism and market intelligence have to be based on something. For us to get anywhere. So for your summer reading, add some factual reading to temper your beach reads!

Look who’s hanging out with Richard Branson!

Tracey Follows ( my co-author for the book 98% Pure Potato) has been busy. Most recently as part of a star chamber of experts working with Richard Branson no less on a project called Future Visions. Tracey has been working as Chief Strategy Officer at the Future Laboratory.  And only last week at the most recent APG meeting was showing how to use a series of conceptual tools to address conundrums in consumer behaviour.  The Future Visions project offers a series of blog posts and podcasts which are free to read and listen to. Here’s where to go to find out more.

What is significant about futures work as I have discovered talking to Tracey, is that it is less a matter of predicting what is going to happen. Than working out what might happen and what changes you need to influence in order to create the best opportunities for your brand and your business.  It reminds me of that quotation by Karl Marx that what matters is not to understand the world but to change it.

2017 Ginny Valentine Awards

The IIex North American conference saw 6 awards made for bravery in market research. Once again the judges found unexpected and inspiring examples of bravery in a sector not known for risk-taking Pravin Shekar (pictured) won an award for his start up in India which employs people with disabilities to work in call handling and data collection. Another worthy winner was Steve Lacey for his research studies into minorities in the UK – most recently the white working class and Brexit.  It was also encouraging to see the UK’s Market Research Society win an award for conducting an interview with an Alzheimer’s sufferer during a session about vulnerable groups at the national conference.  The point of the Ginny Valentine awards is to celebrate that these kinds of initiative when there are few places to discuss these issues, much less commend them.   The site is always open for more nominations but it won’t be until 2018 that we convene another panel of judges to review the next group of nominees for bravery. It remains important work. And we are grateful to our judges for giving us their time.

In other news 

Well, I may not have talked about work much in this newsletter but there has been plenty going on – projects on energy, health and luxury. I am still at my desk during August so if there is a project you want to me come in to discuss give me a call. Whether research, marketing consultancy or a workshop.  I hope you get a break over what looks like a busy summer period.

Check out the blog at Further and Faster or follow johngriffiths7 on twitter.

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