Earlier this month, the HRW US team had the chance to attend the PMRG “Connect” Conference, which was held in National Harbor, Maryland. And “connect” we did- with current partners and clients, as well as new ones. There were also many talks throughout both days of the conference, which were excellent opportunities to hear our clients and colleagues discuss the developing trends in the field.

One of the primary themes emerging from the conference was the intersection of technology and health. There was an opening keynote from Google to discuss their work in the pharma space, followed by talks on the convergence of drugs, devices, and technology, and regulatory concerns around these new products. In addition, there were talks on how technology can be leveraged specifically for market research through biometrics (facial coding and eye tracking using facial electromyography, galvanic skin response, and electrocardiograms). The second keynote speaker also touched on digital health, and discussed its implications for big data, mHealth, social media, analytics, and personalized medicine. It was great to see such a focus on the convergence of technology and healthcare, as this is one of our key interests at HRW (in fact, our EVP of US research, Christine Dalzell, will be speaking about our some of our self-funded studies on wearable tech at PBIRG this year!).

Another key trend was the focus on heuristics and creating better research through “questioning the question.” Keeping heuristics and other behavioral theories in mind at all phases of research development and application, from using linguistic analysis to craft the best questions to shortcuts to create messaging that doesn’t just appeal to targets but motivates them to take action. We thought these areas were a great fit for us at HRW, as we focus our studies around “accessing reality” and using practical cognitive science to grow innovative techniques to obtain stable, actionable results for our clients. We were delighted to hear these talks, as they were certainly food for thought on how we can add further depth and strength our approaches.

Overall, we had a lot of fun, and we’re looking forward to the next one!

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