Filter by themes

Commercial creativity: augmenting business with insight, intelligence and flair for profit
Future fusion: synthesising data, technology and creativity for transformation
Smart societies: blending disciplines, tools and tactics for progress




Jane Frost CBE, CEO of the Market Research Society and Stan Sthanunathan, conference patron and EVP consumer & market insights, Unilever


Opening Keynote: RT Hon Nicky Morgan MP

MP, ex-Education Secretary, Brexit mutineer. We get her Commons-eye view on our national crisis – and explore how politicians can analyse the public mood from a cocktail of culture war, social media and manufactured outrage.

Interviewer: Richard Young, journalist and editor

Morgan, MP

Networking break


Powering Progress and Enabling Change: Nudging Behaviour for Social Advance

How can we change deeply engrained patterns of action? This session showcases a compelling web of strategies to demonstrate how organisations can help read and influence complex human behaviour. Discover how this deeper understanding has helped organisations drive positive and bold social advance.

Chair: Caroline Florence, founder and director, Insight Narrator
Julie Vincent, founder and managing director, Vincent Consulting & Chris Newson, chairman and CEO, The Student Room Group
Katherine McIsaac, strategy & insight lead and Claire Prentice, head of safer and greener marketing, Scottish Government
Crawford Hollingworth
, founder, The Behavioural Architects & Lara McCullagh, group marketing and communications director, The Big Issue


Artificial Intelligence: Rising to the Commercial and Social Challenge

In 1950, Alan Turing asked “Can machines think?” He proposed the Imitation Game as the test: whether an artificial intelligence could fool us into thinking it was human. But AI and machine learning technologies have exceeded this brief, as they create insights, make decisions and control processes in ways that citizens and experts alike struggle to understand. A panel of experts debate the critical issues and offer a roadmap for anyone looking harness the power and avoid the pitfalls of AI.

Chair: Tim Phillips, journalist and editor
Tabitha Goldstaub, co-founder, CognitionX and chair of the UK Government’s AI Council
Stan Sthanunathan, executive VP, CMI, Unilever and co-author of ‘AI for Marketing and Product Innovation’
Kate Adams, director of operations and special projects, NESTA
Francesco D’Orazio, co-founder and CEO, Pulsar


Getting Gender Right: Strategies for Representative and Effective Marketing

Is marketing industry debate about gender stereotypes converting into meaningful action? How does a typical brand manager, media manager or advertising creative go about making gender progress? A forthcoming AdReaction: Gender Edition report from Kantar shows a shocking level of industry complacency around gender targeting issues. How can brands tap into the value of progressive gender targeting for campaign success?

Chair: Jane Ostler, global head of media, insights division, Kantar
Amelia Torode, founder, The Fawnbrake Collective
Ian Edwards, planning director, Facebook
Lynne Parker, founder and chief executive, Funny Women
Grainne Wafer, global brand director for Baileys and Roe & Co, Diageo


Short break


Stories for Change: Strategies for Electrifying and Driving Insight Through the Business

If an insight is to change anything, it first has to be heard and understood. How can new technology and traditional storytelling blend to drive valuable insights beyond the research team, and out to the wider business? Agencies and clients demonstrate how they have captivated and empowered creatives, marketers and an entire
workforce with an insight story – laying the foundation for change.

Chair: Daniel Wain, founder, Daniel Wain Consulting
Tom Ellis, director, Brand Genetics & Elyn Lyell, senior consumer insights manager,
Anheuser-Busch InBev
Douglas Dunn, co-founder, One Minute to Midnight & Martin Vovk, head of insight, Sony Music
Gemma Mitchell, The Mix and Rachel Westwood, senior research manager, The Walt Disney Company


Brand Trust and Consumer Engagement in a Polarised Society

Brands are built on trust, but in a post-truth world they’re faced with a
serious challenge: so much of modern life is defined by mistrust. In this session,
senior industry figures will discuss why trust, privacy and transparency are
such vital issues; and the actions that organisations need to take to rebuild their reputation capital.

Chair: Katie McQuater, deputy editor, Impact Magazine
Keynote: Sean Pillot de Chenecey, insight/strategy consultant and author of ‘The Post-Truth Business’.
Emily Hare, editor, The Honey Partnership
Mark Shayler, co-founder, The Do Lectures
Katrina Dodd, head of trends, Contagious
Lee Ramsay, planning director, Wieden + Kennedy


Battling Bias: How BE and Mindfulness Can Help the Insight World Put Its House in Order

Bias is easy spot in the behaviour of consumers and citizens. However, if insight professionals can’t identify their own biases as marketers and researchers, they can only produce a somewhat skewed and unbalanced view of the world. They need to hold a mirror up to their own behaviour if they are to accurately read the behaviour of others. How can behavioural economics help to ensure that the insight world keeps its own checks and balances in order – and how can mindfulness help to fine tune our approach?

Chair: Alex Johnston, director, Jigsaw Research
Luke Perry, deputy head of qualitative research, Jigsaw Research
Susan Martle, mindfulness & NLP coach


Networking lunch


Lunchtime debate

The Death of the Question: Insight and the New Age of Data Analytics

What role is there for the traditional insight in the new world of intelligent data? A panel of experts debate how data analytics is reshaping the role of research and insight in business. Will the survey be redundant in the face of the rise and rise of analytics – and does traditional insight need to embed and embrace the new order? What skills will be demanded in this brave new world of intelligence?

Chair: Richard Young, journalist and editor
Paul Twite, managing director Europe & MENA, Toluna
Leila Seith Hassan, head of analytics, OgilvyOne Worldwide
Jessica Salmon, head of customer value and growth, 02
Alex North, head of marketing science solutions & partner development, EMEA, Facebook


Keynote Interview: Andrew O'Hagan, Author of 'The Secret Life'

The award-winning novelist and non-fiction writer was hand-picked by Julian Assange to ghost write his memoirs. Learn what happened next – and how, in the world of social media and assumed identities we can ever get closer to the truth?

Interviewer: Tim Phillips, journalist and editor


Navigating the Uncharted: Unlocking Growth Opportunities in Unexplored Markets

Unlocking new growth opportunities is the elusive quest of any brand. But how do you enter into the unknown? This session showcases three brands who have used insight as their guide to tap into new audiences and navigate emerging categories. We explore the key to these brands’ success stories. Going beyond the ordinary to find new ways to truly understand consumers wants and needs and using these as a springboard for innovation.

Chair: Catherine Crump, CEO, Decidedly
Mary Logan, president, Research and Incite & Sung Kang, CMO, VIVO Cannabis
Andy Davidson, chief strategy officer, Flamingo & Matt Roberts, global research director, Formula One
Claire Boorman, director, Boxclever & Charlotte Williams, senior brand manager, Pan Macmillan


Why We’re Wrong About Nearly Everything – and What We Can Do About It

We get a lot wrong about the world, because we think we’re more normal than we actually are, and we’re naturally drawn to extreme, vivid examples. Real insight requires us to actively break out of these misleading mindsets. What should insight’s role be in illuminating and disseminating truths? An expert panel casts light on possible solutions.

Chair: Sinead Jefferies, Watermelon Research
Keynote: Bobby Duffy, professor of public policy and director of the Policy Institute at King’s College London – and author of The Perils of Perception
Jan Gooding, chair, PAMCo and chair, Stonewall
David Halpern, chief executive, The Behavioural Insights Team
Andrew Tenzer, director of group insight, Reach plc


Chaos Magic: What Brands and Researchers Can Learn from Britain’s Occult Revival

A refreshing, surprising workshop for everyone who works on brands. There is an upsurge of magic in Britain. Consumers are reading tarot, casting spells and doing 21st-century witchcraft. Learn why this is happening, how some very successful brands embody magical thinking and, in a first for the MRS conference, perform a magical ritual, guided by our special guest, a practicing magician.

Chair: Dr. Rachel Lawes, principal, Lawes Consulting
Jessica Herridge, consumer research and insight expert
Julian Vayne, independent researcher and occultist


Networking break


Keynote Interview: Victoria Coren Mitchell

Columnist, host of Only Connect and two-time winner of the European Poker Tour on pin-sharp prose, the rise of the nerd and the emotional (and financial) joys of risk-taking.

Interviewer: Marc Brenner, former editor, Research magazine

Coren Mitchell

Closing remarks


Closing drinks