The annual Quirks Conference Events that took place in London and New York this year offered another great opportunity for two of our colleagues (John Friberg, a member of HRW’s Innovation Team, and Rhiannon Phillips, who serves as a core member of HRW Shift) to explore and reflect upon some recent innovations in our industry: and truly appreciate that genuine innovation is reliant on strong partnership and collaboration with the right experts and providers of technology. Read on below for their reflections on these events…

As we walked the various tables, set out in-between the diverse range of presentations and panel discussions that took place over two days at this year’s Quirk’s Conference event, we were reminded that innovation is not an independent or solitary endeavor. Collaboration with other forward-thinking researchers (whether virtually or face to face), is what keeps the spirit of innovation alive, in an industry filled with exceptional thinkers and motivated businesses and organizations.

The Quirk’s Conference has been a consistent touchpoint for like-minded researchers to come together, share ideas, and strike up working relationships that extend far beyond the two days spent together in Brooklyn or in London. This year proved no different!

Now that social media has made itself an all but essential part of doing business in today’s world, talks that focused on the role of social media both in society and for brands continued to be of particular interest to us. The role of the “social influencer”, something of a new phenomenon, was discussed by quite few presenters as an asset worth considering in today’s world. Questions like – “Is it worth a brand investing in an influencer, using them as a spokesperson to reach out to their target audience?” This of course depends on that influencers particular segment of followers.

Another question, however, about the value of social influencers for communicating with a target audience was asked – “In such a fast-paced social media environment, how successfully do they actually gain and retain your audience’s attention?” The ways in which we’re able to accurately answer these is left up to the researchers to determine. Measuring something intangible like “influence” requires its own set of metrics – number of likes? Quantity of followers? Responses to posts, in volume or sentiment? These conversations were particular favourites of ours, and we have been motivated since the conference to continue to explore them with our respective Shift and Innovation teams.

There were also plenty of interesting partner companies present at Quirks 2020, presenting neurometric offerings, based on EEG; measures of arousal; eye tracking; facial coding and more. We enjoyed catching up with those who we’ve partnered with in the past (as part of our Inter:Com communications testing approach), as well as a few who were new to us to map out ideas for how best to integrate these neurometric offerings into upcoming projects.

It is partnership and collaboration with those who strive to push research excellence further with each project that remains paramount to the successful execution of every new approach. Great minds coming together for the common goal of “accessing reality” will always be our top priority.

Our company was founded with “innovation” at the core of our practice, and there are many recent developments that we are particularly proud of: such as our Dynamic Digital methodology (recently showcased at both the BHBIA and EphMRA conferences), designed and then refined by our own self-funded research programs to model real-life scenarios, using up-to-date virtual reality technology. Or our Tech Affinity Scoring system, developed for characterizing respondents by level of digital engagement in medical device, tele-medicine, and digital support platform research. Some of our more established, proprietary approaches such as Soulmates™ and Eco System approaches for optimizing patient and HCP group interviewing represent a consistent favorite of our clients.

At Quirk’s 2020, a focal topic was current state of international health and well-being, and its inevitable impact on our approaches to healthcare market research. As we write this, the world is responding to the ever-evolving COVID-19 pandemic, and international health has become a shared, priority focus. Innovation continues to support us during these challenging times, with our virtual and digital approaches allowing us to continue to engage respondents and support observing client teams.

Get in touch to find out more about our reflections on innovation in our industry, and how our suite of tried and tested approaches in digital and beyond can support you in achieving your business objectives…


By John Friberg

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