How can we ensure that market research keeps pace with the rapid evolution of technology?
The GreenBook Podcast co-hosts, Lenny Murphy and Karen Lynch join this week’s episode to take an industry pulse check and discuss key learnings gleaned from IIEX Europe. IIEX Europe gathered over 700+ insights professionals, serving as a venue for pioneering innovation and industry discussions. Karen and Lenny dive into some of the hot topics from the event including AI, inclusivity, and the need for innovation processes that prioritize quality. Make sure to join us at IIEX North America to take part in similar conversations!
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Many thanks to our producer, Natalie Pusch; and our editor, James Carlisle.
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Hello, everybody, it’s Lenny Murphy with another edition of the GreenBook Podcast. Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to spend it with us. And today’s a particularly interesting one because I’m joined by my co-host, Karen Lynch. Hello, Karen.Karen:
Hey, Lenny. It’s so fun to do this with you today.Lenny:
[laugh]. It is. We are going to have fun. So, the topic today—and this is actually, this is really different in a lot of ways. One, we’re on a new platform, which should be absolutely invisible to you, our listeners, for the recording, but we’re also recording this on Thursday and it’s going to be posted on Monday. So, this is a very topical one, and here’s why.Karen:
[laugh]. Well, yeah, it is really fun to be out there. For lack of a better word, fun is summarizing the excitement of being in the mix with other, you know, growth-minded professionals who are out there seeking to learn and stay on top of what’s coming next, which I think is what connects everybody who goes to these IIEX events. That’s what we’re all there for, right? We’re all there to not only learn from one another in this, you know, mission of co-creating the future of insights, but also leaning into how we are collectively growing our industry knowledge.Lenny:
Well, so then… same question, though. What’s your take? What’s the theme? What’s the storyline that’s been emerging through so far this year?Karen:
Well, I think, you know, you’d have to be living under a rock to not realize that generative AI is the hot topic. It’s talked about—certainly, we dug into it at our event and we’ll be digging into it in our next event, but it was also the conversation over coffee, over drinks, at dinner. I spoke with a researcher prior to the event at a pre-event dinner where she was saying, “Will this be coming for my job?” And everybody’s a little bit uncomfortable by this disruption, but here we are. So, we’re leaning in and we’re talking about it. We had some great talks, which I can expand upon. But I think that’s the biggest topic of—certainly of the spring.Lenny:
So, I would agree [laugh] from what I can observe as well, and everything else that I hear with my ear to the ground. And for listeners, not be promotional, but this is a big deal and we have other—we have a generative AI webinar coming up. It’s certainly going to be a huge topic at IIEX North America. Let me—my perspective on it, Karen, tell me whether you think this is what other people are thinking.Karen:
I do, a hundred percent. A hundred percent. And I think, you know, one of the things that we did at the event in Europe was we wrapped it up where I facilitated, actually, a chat with Ray Poynter and Nikki Lavoie on the evolution of insights and kind of looking in the rearview mirror to get some perspective on what’s to come in the future. And we actually discussed mobile specifically. And, you know, when mobile came out and everybody was like, “Oh no, we need to do mobile research.” And it was this panic, like, mobile research was a thing, instead of necessarily recognizing when it first happened that mobile was a way of life.Lenny:
Yeah. Yeah, so I love that and let’s play off that for a second because I remember [unintelligible 00:08:09] and I particularly arguing about mobile, back in the day.Karen:
Yeah. Well, there were two really interesting talks in Europe that I’d love to share with you because I know you would have loved them. One of them was Alexandra Kuzmina. She’s with Nova, the innovation arm of MMR, and she shared study results, specific study results, of surveys with kind of with artificial intelligence help, like, an augmented reality, you know, not human-human, asking questions in a survey, and it showed the correlation between where it became something that was helpful to survey participation and where it became uh-oh, too negative, too creepy. Like, a little too human, a little too much, I don’t want to think too much about it. It was a really interesting study.Lenny:
It does. But I think the difference between that, and the generative AI is, it already scaled. In three months.Karen:
Well, and I think one thing that’s really cool is you and I both track product launches, right, whether it’s on Product Hunt, or another way, but the explosion of new products using this technology, the OpenAI technology, and I think what’s amazing is it’s almost like the floodgates opened on developers who’ve been training for this [laugh]. They like, they have the skill set, they’ve been training for this, OpenAI hit and they were like, “On it.” And the developers have created some genius applications. And even if people like you and I are tracking what’s there, what’s bubbling up to the surface, it’s going to take some time for the ones that have staying power to stay. But it’s extraordinary to watch the creativity and execution of this technology.Lenny:
Yeah. For good or ill, right? I mean, you know, I’ve seen some stuff that’s come out that, you know, it’s like, wow, that could be evil, you know [laugh]? And I don’t mean that in the spiritual sense. I mean that of like, “Man, you’re doing some bad stuff with this,” right?Karen:
I think we’re also on a learning curve there. I mean, one of our colleagues at GreenBook, Ashley, is looking into some bans on ChatGPT in Italy right now, ‘till they get a grasp of ethical implications. Like, they actually are like, “Hold on. Let’s settle down.” And other European countries are following suit, perhaps, to make sure everybody takes a pause and we don’t get ahead of ourselves ethically.Lenny:
Yeah. And even more pragmatically because—I mean, folks, I’m sure you all know this, that the innovation in most technology is driven through pornography and fraud. They are always the categories that adopt technology quick and take away the ethical components of doing that, it’s just what happens. And in this particular case, I mean, we saw right out of the gate in December of this explosion of bots participating in research, you know, of the same models. So, it really does, as much as there’s this interesting component of where does this go broader and, you know, what’s—where’s the—in the role—in the era of the singularity, where does the human and the machine? How do we work together and what does that look like?Karen:
Sure. It’s funny. There’s a couple things that are on my mind right now, but if we hover on the trifecta for a bit, and that is something that we are we heard at the Europe event, not only in one of the things I shared out, which was indications in our GRIT data that, of that trifecta, quality is really at the top of the pyramid right now, all right? So, clients—and by clients, we mean, sort of, end brands that are hiring suppliers, they’re really looking for quality as the most important of the three at the moment, more important than relationship, more important than, I would say, speed. Not that speed’s not important, but we have some great agile methods in place right now and everybody really got on the bandwagon to do things a little bit faster, so that’s almost becoming expected.Lenny:
Yeah. And now shameless plug, listeners, so you should be hearing this on Monday after Easter, the newest GRIT Report will be out. So, the attendees at IIEX, you got a sneak peek of that, but you’ll get access to that report right now. So, [laugh] go read it because there is an awful lot of really great stuff in that. And it dovetails with these broader trends, right? I mean, that’s why we do it, the GreenBook Research Industry Trends Report, so we can understand what the implications are going forward.Karen:
Yeah, and I am excited for the data quality track at North America in particular. I’m curious as to—because we do have that; we have several people who want to talk about data quality issues and how they’re addressing those issues and, you know, how we can really turn it around as an industry. Anyway, that’s been a buzz this past year, for sure, but one of the things that I’d love to know from those speakers, and this is their call-to-action is, how is AI now factoring into some of the conversations they’re having, the hands-on who’s dealing—the companies that are dealing with data privacy, in particular—I mean, data quality in particular—how are they tackling it? So, I wonder if that’s going to show up at any of our talks. And I hope it does. I hope they take this and they run with it.Lenny:
All right, so I want to be conscious of your time and time for listeners as well. What else? You’re a qualitative researcher, so you’re so wonderful at picking up the minutia and the nuance and, you know, the early indicators. So, what else jumped out at you? Like, that’s something to pay attention to. Just watch.Karen:
Yeah, a couple things. I’ll share, kind of, two more things. One of them, we can talk about a great length also, kind of, these innovation processes. We had both Novartis and Nestle sharing their methods and their pipelines, you know, taking something from lab to shop—I think that’s the Nestle’s innovation pipeline—in six months. You know, this great method and process in place for taking that seedling of an idea into innovation.Lenny:
Yeah, no, great point. Marc Pritchard at P&G stated long ago their goal was to have a one-to-one relationship in real-time with every person on the planet. Which means individual. So, all for that. And what a complicated thing that is, you know?Karen:
I think one of the things you just said that I want to touch on before you wrap also is, you know, at these events, we’ve created space for these conversations to happen. You know, one of the moments at IIEX Europe was, you know, we had this Braindate Lounge, which is where people could curate individual conversations or small group conversations. And the one on generative AI was so compelling, more and more people wanted to join it. That group became—like, a dozen people wanted to have this conversation. So, it was little loud, a little boisterous and, you know, then we had to iterate on okay, how might we make room for larger conversations in North America when they come up because undoubtedly they will come up again.Lenny:
No, that’s good. You know, we called it Insight Innovation Exchange for a reason. And I think—then I’ll step out from the plug for our listeners—exchanging ideas and thinking around these topics are vital. And you know, it’s what we do for a living as researchers. So, we do this all day long. We, you know, ideate and iterate in communities and groups, et cetera, et cetera.Karen:
No. I just think that, you know, for me, it’s been really fun to post an event, like, IIEX Europe, go online, and just, you know, go to, you know, the hashtag IIEX Europe and just read people’s reactions to what transpired there. And that’s part of how I process and reflect on the event as it happened. I’m like, “Oh, this is really interesting.” So, I mean, I think that if you weren’t at that event and you want more, to learn about what you missed, like, just go to LinkedIn and go to IIEX Europe, and just read post after post about what people were walking away with.Lenny:
Yes well, and the entire GreenBook community, right? I mean, people—our listeners to the podcast and readers of the blog and readers of GRIT and, you know, it’s all one big community with multiple channels of how people participate. But I’m right there with you. It makes it—sometimes I pinch myself and think, “Yeah, how did I—how did I get this job, right, where I get to just come to work and talk to cool people all day long and think about cool stuff and then scale it.” I mean, there’s more to it [laugh] than that, but as we all know, but fundamentally, that’s the kind of way I look at it. So, we are blessed.