We had a whale of a time at the MRS Annual Conference this month; plenty of interesting speakers and a discernible air of optimism for the road ahead made for an informative and productive couple of days for Face Facts own Alison White and Jennifer Garrick.
Making the conference extra special was The Research Liberation Front’s inaugural awards ceremony on the first night, at which some truly brave souls were awarded The Ginny Valentine Badge of Courage. Amongst those on the honours list was Face Facts intrepid leader Alison, whose acceptance speech had the room in stitches, not least because her award was for “Sheer Bloodymindedness”!
A particular highlight from the conference was, without question, Magnus Lindkvist kicking off the roster of Keynote Speakers by 1. Being exceptionally Swedish and therefore very cool & 2. Undressing in front of the audience at the end of his speech to reveal a yellow and blue morph suit. Serving as a timely reminder that sometimes it’s ok to expose yourself.
Also making an impact by doing things differently were The Research Outlaws, a rag-tag bunch of Market Research cowboys headed up by the incomparable Tom Ewing, Digital Culture Officer at Brainjuicer. With input from the likes of Siamack Salari and Stephen Phillips, the group put forward thoughts for how Market Research might look in a future world where direct questions are outlawed yet we are still faced with challenges from clients (in this case, a company wanting to better understand cleaning in order to make it more fun). Winner, by way of a cheer-o-meter, was Greg Rowland or Greg Rowland Semiotics, who captivated the audience’s attention with his matter of fact view of the British perception of cleanliness.
The half time party was well attended as could be expected, with plenty of delegates (including Face Facts reps Alison and Jen) staying to the wee hours!
Day two held fascinating insights on office politics from Oliver James, ways to find answers without questions from Roy Langmaid and a closing Keynote Speech from mathematician Marcus de Sautoy on the prediction and explorations of data.
The conference concluded with a round up of events from CEO of MRS, Jane Frost, whose passion and ambition for the MRS (and Market Research as a whole) was evident from the moment she introduced the Society’s new branding on the first day. To all who were in attendance it was apparent that the MRS mean business and, with Jane at their helm, they might just rejuvenate their image the way they so desperately want and (many would argue) need to.
Roll on next year!