connections conference news

March 2018
Vol. 17, Number 2

Management News

Conference News

Chapter News

Committee News

SIG News

Member News

Annual Conference: Through the Eyes of Young Pros

Shannon Danzy,

Is 2018 the year of the young researcher at the QRCA? It just might be, with larger numbers attending this year's Annual Conference: members making memorable presentations, winning awards, and leading the development of next year's conference.

But what is it like to attend the annual QRCA Conference as a young quallie, let alone as a first-timer? Read the perspectives of two of the 2018 Young Professionals Grant recipients on the QualPower blog:

QRCA’s Elevate & Cultivate: The Experience & The Learnings
Amye Parker, Northstar Research Partners

A First-Timer's Perspective: QRCA Annual Conference
Leigh Wright, Bad Babysitter Productions

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Celebrating the 2018 Qually Award Winners

Kayte Hamilton,; Tory Gentes,

Lauren McCrae and Nicole Aleong from Lux Insights took home the top prize after the peer-based, live voting session at the 2018 QRCA Conference in Phoenix, AZ!

The 2018 Qually Award was full of new twists: real-client RFP, presentations for the top three finalists, and peer-based voting sponsored by Hatchtank. There was a lot of buzz and excitement for the award this year, which lends itself to a “no pressure” 2019 planning year!

While all three finalists had a unique view for the research approach, fellow Quallies voted for Lauren and Nicole and their Deciphering the Curation Quotient approach took home the $1,000 cash prize. All finalists were judged on their proposal’s creativity, relevance, methodology, style, and presentation.

Lauren & Nicole developed a three-phase approach involving:

  1. Secondary research into reviews of curated boxes, to save budget and inform the development of the discussion guide for Phase 2.
  2. Double takes in four cities, each representing a different industry the client was interested in. In a 120-min. double-take, a group of full-curation fans participates in a traditional 60-min focus group in a facility, while a group of total self-discovery fans watches them live and comments on what they are seeing to one another through chat. In the second hour, the full-curation fans are dismissed, and the total self-discovery fans carry on the conversation as a video focus group. This approach enables us to understand the divergent viewpoints, as the total self-discovery fans are reacting to the full curation fans in real-time.
  3. To get closer to the insights, Phase 3 involves a mobile unboxing experience, where total self-discovery participants are sent a curated box and film themselves opening it.

About Lauren:
As a Director at Lux Insights, Lauren oversees Lux’s qualitative research practice and is one of the firm’s leading moderators. Lauren specializes in brand and public affairs research in diverse sectors including CPG, technology, and government, and enjoys working with clients such as Amazon, Bluetooth, Fitbit, Nature’s Path, and WD-40. For the first five years of her career, Lauren worked in London, UK at Ipsos MORI’s Social Research Institute in the Central Government and Evaluation teams, and for various public-policy think tanks.

Lauren’s presentation on behavioral economics at the 2018 QRCA Annual Conference was specially selected to be streamed as a live webinar to researchers all over the world and earned an audience score of 9.9/10 for providing useful information.

Lauren is chapter co-chair for the Pacific Northwest QRCA chapter, and is involved in the local business community through her work as a member of the Women’s Leadership Circle of the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade. She holds a Double Master's in International Political Economy and International Security from the London School of Economics (LSE) and Sciences Po Paris.

About Nicole:

Nicole is a Research Associate at Lux Insights and brings with her an appetite to examine complex consumer behavior through a human-centered lens. Since starting at Lux a year ago, Nicole has been part of research projects for both local and international clients in several different sectors including technology and finance, working with clients such as Amazon, Nintendo, Fitbit, and Coast Capital Savings. She specializes in designing and executing qualitative research projects, with a passion for conducting in-home interviews and ethnographic fieldwork.

Prior to working at Lux, Nicole has consulted with international social enterprises, Canadian tech start-ups, and municipal government initiatives. She has conducted fieldwork research in China and Denmark. With a strong will to give back to her community, Nicole spearheads Lux’s “Give Back” initiatives and partnership with G-Day.

Nicole holds a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and Biology from the University of British Columbia.

If you’d like to join Tory and Kayte on the 2019 Qually Award Committee, reach out soon!

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Creative Techniques: Getting More, Going Deeper

Marta Villanueva,

Much of human cognition is subconscious, creating opportunities for skilled researchers to surface hidden insights. Different approaches with creative techniques can unleash the unconscious in consumers and empower them to provide richer responses. I shared three approaches with numerous creative techniques during a round-table at the 2018 QRCA conference in Phoenix. Nearly thirty QRCs joined me to share their favorites.

Getting More with Whole-Brain Thinking

IDEO Method Cards

IDEO Method Cards

Insight and empathy are critical elements of qualitative research and design thinking. The intention of both is to integrate visceral or empathic connections into the process of observing, exploring, coming up with new views, and then taking the next step into designing solutions. This requires tapping into three main modes of expression: visual, verbal, and physical. IDEO method cards present participants with design prompts that challenge habitual thinking and elicit new views – tapping into the three modalities.

Using a multi-modal approach to explore ideas, “prototype” them, and try them out, brings all of our faculties to the table. The result is higher quantity and higher quality solutions and insights, as well as a greater degree of internalization and engagement on the part of our clients. The goal is to trigger the imaginations of all involved. The challenge through all of this is to tap into all the ways we explore and express ideas.

Eliciting Desired Thinking

The more we know about different types of thinking, the better we can encourage participants to engage in relatively uninhibited expressions of experiences and emotions, thereby providing a better springboard for deeper sharing and theme identification. By leveraging creative thinking, we can uncover the latent emotions and motivations behind thoughts and behaviors. Creating exercises and activities which empower all consumers in the group to engage in the desired thinking preference allows us to focus thinking and thus get the most from consumers. (Visit for more info.) Qualitative becomes even more strategic when grounded in research and through the application of the three model categories/phases:

  • Clarification of challenges and goals
  • Transformation into new views and possibilities
  • Implementation of emergent concepts

In each of these categories, different tools provide keys to eliciting greater insight.

Going Deeper with Perspectives

Using exercises that get consumers to think differently, see things from a different perspective, or put on a different hat, allows the researcher to tap into unconscious areas.

There are many archetypal picture card decks. Even when used as simple icebreakers, the images and symbols enmeshed in these archetypes effectively pull participants out of analytical storytelling and into the “stretchy space” of imagination and sharing.



Leadership Metaphor Explorer

Leadership Metaphor Explorer

In sharing my creative approaches, I inspired the group to share their favorite techniques, which included:

  • Thought bubble
  • Creative Writing/Stick Exercise: describe favorite person/product
  • If the product were person at a party, who would they be
  • Greeting card: write a message to the company
  • Paint chips to represent feelings
  • Dear John letter
  • Immersive techniques—live the life
  • Supplementing traditional with street interviews
  • Word bubble
  • Sherlock Holmes’ tour of home: who, when, what, where, etc.
  • Reverse role play
  • Responding to direct prompts via video
  • Planet: go to unknown planet, explain who’s there, when it is, what they see
  • Collaging
  • Write a dating profile
  • Structured love letter to brand/product
  • Images for projective techniques
  • Lego to create ideas and visualize
  • Design the worst
  • Images, including some very strange
  • Pick a song title
  • Draw a picture of what they want and talk about it
  • BIG TALK CARDS from—a great ice-breaker
  • Look at things from different perspectives: talk to respondents from far ends of the spectrum to get opposing viewpoints
  • The Door Deck: Gives respondents something to react to, ‘tell me what you’d see on the other side’, ‘what would you like to get out of this”, etc.

I love talking creativity! Feel free to reach out if you have questions or want to pick my brain.

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QRCA Shines from the Podium at IIeX EU 2018 in Amsterdam

Ilka Kuhagen,

Five members presented the “QRCA Track” at the IIeX EU 2018, held in Amsterdam February 19-20, and their presentations were well received.

QRCA Speakers at IIeX EU 2018

Representing QRCA, from left to right:

Charlotte Hager, Austria, presenting “Brand Messages: Using Semiotics to Optimize Advertising Messages

Oana Rengle, 2016 Global Outreach Scholarship winner, Rumania, presenting ”Roll the Dice or Put on the VR Headset?Lessons From the Rise of a Low-Tech Industry: Board Gaming

Hana Klouckova, Czech Republic, presenting “Alive Dream: How Deep Relaxation Uncovers New Insights

Janina Weigl, New York, USA, presenting “Live-Streaming: How a New Social Media Trend Can Disrupt Qualitative Research

Ilka Kuhagen, Germany, Session Host

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