The Quirk’s Event holds a unique place in the annual conference circuit.  Founded on the insight that most end-client researchers do not have the budget to attend. The organizers have reduced costs by eliminating keynote speakers (plus the expensive catering) to make the event more accessible. The result… great value for money and ROI!

I cannot help but notice the parallels between The Quirk’s Event and the Market Research industry – where there is an increasing need / pressure for more economical solutions, which offer our clients better value and ROI. This theme of flexibility (on costs, timing and ease) was a recurring theme across the talks that I attended this year at The Quirk’s Event.

Here are my 3 highlights from this year’s conference…


The presentation “The Death of Classical Monadic Design” caught my attention for its provocative headline.Factworks (a research and analytics firm based in Silicon Valley and Berlin), has developed an algorithm (inspired by gambling theory, specifically Multi-Arm Bandit theory) to adapt sampling while fieldwork is in progress.  For example, if a concept emerges as a clear under performer, the algorithm de-prioritizes sampling and re-routes sampling to other (hopefully stronger performing) concepts.

The result? A 10-20% reduction in sample required.

This is a great example of challenging the ‘status quo’ of how we approach a ‘typical’ monadic test.  Not only does this leverage smart self-learning algorithms, it provides clients with potential cost savings.


How Sky Brings the Customer Voice into the Boardroom” (presented by Sky and VoxPopMe) showcased the power of video.

What I loved about this talk was how Sarah Jousiffe (Head of Qual, Closeness and Insight Engagement at Sky UK), spoke about telling a more “human story” about consumers by capturing their stories via video (e.g. “How can Sky improve on user experience?” OR “Tell us about your ‘wow’ experience with Sky?”).  The benefit of consumer proximity is clear, but so are 3 other main benefits that Jousiffe highlighted (1) Speed – its quick (2) Price – its affordable and (3) Ease – its easy.

This topic is particularly relevant to Hotspex, as we’ll be speaking at the at The Insights Show (March 6th) on a very similar topic – using video in brand health tracking to create “A Brand Health Conversation” (in partnership with our friends at LivingLens and Sky Italia).


I had the pleasure of listening to BV Pradeep (Global Vice President – Consumer & Market Insight, Unilever) present “How do you Showcase the Value of Investing in Insight?

Pradeep shared fantastic advice to insights professionals on how to re-think and re-position the insight function. Historically, the insights function has been viewed as a ‘cost centre’; our role being “risk minimizers”.

Our role needs to be about helping our clients navigate the future, future-proofing brands/ businesses through foresight. Furthermore, we need to brand ourselves as sense-makers, decision-framers and influencers who fuse data skills with our skill for intuition.

What an inspiring (and very relevant) call-to-action!

In the words of BV Pradeep himself…

“move away from insuring against failure, and towards seizing opportunities”

Thanks again to speakers and organizers of the The Quirk’s Event, London.

I’m already looking forward to 2020!

Article By Michael Dorr