There is a light at the end of the tunnel of the COVID-19 pandemic, but we’re not quite there just yet. This week we focus on navigating concerns around ‘moment-bias’, the growing effectiveness of AI for prediction, and the uptick of business in insights.

After our brief pause last week, we resumed the Insights Leaders Roundtable with the 10th edition this week, back bigger and better than ever!

This week the theme seemed to be “We’re (almost) back, baby!” Our panelists came from the Tech, Analytics, Behavioral Science, and Strategic Consultancy sectors of the industry. Every one of them reported being as busy as ever, and in some cases experiencing record growth. While for some this has been fairly consistent since March due to rapid tactical shifts by clients, for others they have seen a marked increase in projects in the past few weeks. This is to the point where they have largely erased any declines from March and April. Certainly, that can’t be construed as true for the entire industry, but it is certainly encouraging directionally.

We also broadened the scope of the conversation to encompass the potential implications of the social unrest that has arisen in the past few weeks; as always our focus is not on the political or policy aspects of the issue, but rather what does it mean for our industry and for business leaders.

All in all, the session was deep, broad, insightful and inspiring all thanks to the diverse opinions and experience of our panelists.

For this session, the panelists were:

Anouar El Haji, Founder, and CEO – Veylinx
Shanon Adams, Chief Operating Officer – AYTM
Robert Moran, Partner, Brunswick Group (Head, Brunswick Insight)
Anil Kaul, CEO – Absolutdata
In addition to the expansion into current events, the discussion also focused on the same traditional four topics:

What is changing in the industry as a result of COVID-19 (business levels, shifts in methodologies, new client priorities, etc.)
How are you as leaders adapting personally (tips, ideas, best practices)?
How are your businesses adapting?
What comes next? What are the opportunities for the future when things calm down?
Some of the high-level learnings that came out of this session include:

Current State:
Business continues to pick up, primarily around testing/tracking and high-end strategy. A frame for this is “Now” (Tactical) and “Future” (Strategic) as the biggest business questions driving spend.
Clients are still putting a premium emphasis on understanding behavioral changes and are exploring multiple ways to do that including behavioral science-based primary research and data synthesis of non-traditional data sources.
Concerns remain around “moment bias” in tracking or predictive models due to the ongoing series of “news-events” impacting decision making. How much is reactive and how much is a permanent change continues to be a critical unanswered question.
Many researchers are getting comfortable with uncertainty since the future still seems to be in flux.
Social and Cultural solidarity/integrity is emerging as a critical business imperative; trust is still the highest value currency.
Companies that can are taking advantage of the glut of talent on the market; now is a great time to find new team members that may have been unavailable earlier in the year.
Insights are being embedded throughout the enterprise as a core advantage; this bodes well for the growth of the industry in the future.
Future State:
The 7 critical focus areas of the recovery are:
Safety & hygiene
Building resiliency
Financial management
Solidarity & togetherness
Local support (hyper localization of services/operations and community engagement)
Reconnecting global networks
Incorporation/Discorporation (business models changing)
AI is growing as the source of accurate prediction.
Insights are truly emerging as the voice of all stakeholders and can be a bridge to drive greater connectivity and authentic relationships.
Researchers are the “keepers of why” and our value is tied to how well we answer that question to drive business decisions.
Work from home and flexible, agile work situations is here to stay.
Those are just the tip of the insights iceberg though, so explore the full recording and transcript!

Look for the next edition in one week; in the meantime, we hope you and yours remain healthy and prosperous.