Wow.  Well that was a whirlwind!  AMSRS 2012 – it came, it saw, it conquered.   Here were my top 5 highlights:

1: The Keynotes!

Simon Chadwick, Tom De Ruyck, David Bakken and Virtual Lenny Murphy shared their thoughts on the future of the industry.  There is a desire for researchers to become more agile, less tied to process and procedure, harness our inherent skills to synthesise multiple data sets and bring meaning to the sea of data, and embrace and enhance new ways of doing things.  The rise of DIY research, big data etc mean that the demand for ‘full service’ research as the systems integrator is diminishing, and research agencies need to think about where they will sit in the new business model.  I thought this diagram from David Bakken summed the evolution up nicely.

From David Bakken’s Presentation ‘Riding the value shift in market research: Only the paranoid survive!’

This is a really important issue for the industry and I see today that there has already been a little debate on these topics on the AMSRS LinkedIn page.  I’d encourage you to check that out and contribute your views.


2. The Panel discussion

Following on early from Simon Chadwick’s presentation was a panel discussion entitled “Looking forward. Market & Social Research. No longer required?”.  Sitting on the panel was a great mix of research minds, in the form of Simon Chadwick (Managing Partner, Cambiar), Liz Moore, Michael Bloomfield (Head of Customer Insights, Australia Division, ANZ), James Fergusson (Global Head, TNS Connect), Joan Young (CEO, Colmar Brunton), and Jayne Van Souwe (Convenor of the Ethics Sub-Committee for the Australian Market and Social Research Society).  The panel was facilitated by ABC Lateline’s Emma Alberici.  The panel discussion touched on the same themes that were explored in the key notes (And also the client advisory group paper) – however the debate between researcher, client and ethics (and audience and journalist) was very robust and interesting.  It would have been nice to touch on these issues again with the panel towards the end of the conference.

A further personal highlight (or most terrifying moment) for me was being called out by Emma Alberici to comment on the below tweet:


One of my less diplomatic efforts…

I was glad to have the opportunity to raise my concerns about the direction of the industry going forward.  Keep your eyes peeled for more on this in the coming weeks.


Victoria & Benita Presenting on Plain Packaging

3. Plain Packaging Research Paper

An issue close to my heart, it was great to hear from Victoria Parr and Benita Tan from GFK Blue Moon on their research to help pick the colour of the new plain pack cigarettes.  It makes me proud to work in this industry when I hear about some of the more important work we do.  Victoria and Benita’s talked frankly about the methodology they used and the issues they encountered (testing colours online is tricky), and how the final qualitative phase showed which colour was the winner (or loser?).  You can read more about the research here 


4. The rest of the papers!

There were some really great papers featured.  Worth checking out were:

  • Evette Cordy, Raspberry Research: Not invented here, taking foreign ideas to market
  • Andrew Therkelsen, TLE: Silent witness : Behavioural Economics & Shopper
  • Anna Thomas & Ann Thompson, Nunwood: The power of the visual

Papers I didn’t see, but heard great things about included:

  • Best paper winners – Duncan Rintoul & Jon Puleston, GMI & University of Wollongong: Beyond colour and movement – Measuring the impact of dynamic survey answer formats on respondent behaviour
  • Best Young Researcher Paper winner – Bethaney Lawler, Xtra Research: The rise of the app: How smartphones have revolutionised online music research


5. The Social Side

The conference was also a great place to catch up and meet all those people you’ve either heard of, seen on LinkedIn, haven’t seen in a while or should see more often.  We started out with drinks of Wednesday night for the early arrivals, moving through to the gala Vegas event (complete with Elvis – who did a stunning job), and ended with great drinks at the Shed (was that what it was called) to recap and recount all the goodness.  I’ll keep the most incriminating photos to myself, but here’s a few.

Our Vegas Dinner
Post Conference Drinks


Reading back through, I haven’t mentioned the thoroughly entertaining presentation from Cyriel Kortleven of 21 Lobsterstreet Break,entitled “Burn or ban the Box”, nor Dan Gregory’s closing address on how “The limits of our thinking are the limits of our lives”.  I’m sure I’ve made other glaring omissions too (like the client advisory panel presentation and discussion, also a highlight!) Congratulations to AMSRS and the conference committee for another great conference.  I’m looking forward to next year!

What was your favourite part of the conference?  What would you have liked to see them do differently?  Who would you like to see at next year’s AMSRS conference in AUS?  I’d love to know.


Have a great week everyone!


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