October 2017
Vol. 16, Number 8

Management News

Conference News

Chapter News

Committee News

SIG News

Member News

Artificial Intelligence (AI): Tools to Empower Human Qualitative Researchers, a QRCA Mini-Conference — Friday, October 20

Randi Stillman,, and Rick Weitzer,

Speakers at the highly anticipated 2017 QRCA Mini-Conference on Artificial Intelligence will share the latest knowledge, practical tools, and actionable strategies tailored specifically to empowering qualitative researchers. All speakers understand and have experienced the challenges we face in the process of delivering high-value, quality insights and solutions to our clients.

The Mini-Conference will be held Friday, October 20, 2017, from 12:30 to 5:30 p.m. Eastern, via interactive virtual platform (FocusVision). Please visit the QRCA website for complete conference details and to register.

The QRCA Content Committee is thrilled to bring together the following international group of digital innovators and research practitioners:

Lana Novikova, Founder and CEO, Heartbeat AI Technologies (Toronto)

Lana NovikovaKeynote: Machines Don’t Turn Data into Insights—Humans Do: How Augmenting Our Intelligence with AI Is Changing the Field of Insights

Lana is an innovator and entrepreneur with a long career in market research and analytics, and an award-winning portfolio of research inventions. Her curiosity about the "deep why" behind human decisions put her on a quest to understand how human emotions work. Less than three years ago, she founded Heartbeat AI, a technology platform to augment qualitative market research with automated emotional intelligence. The platform quickly transforms unstructured, text input—words and phrases from any source—into 10 primary and 100 secondary emotion categories. These emotion categories offer efficient and revealing insight into the "deep why" and are accessible through a user-friendly dashboard within minutes.

Paul Hudson, Founder and CEO, FlexMR (London)

Paul HudsonPresentation: To Bot or Not to Bot: Opportunities, Advantages, Limitations, and Impact of Chatbots on the Qualitative Researcher and the Participant

Paul is an experienced online and mobile qualitative researcher who is actively involved in developing new digital research tools. He founded FlexMR, now a leading UK-based market research agency that provides a powerful, flexible, and researcher-friendly digital platform for qualitative and quantitative data collection and analysis.

Parry Bedi, Co-Founder and CEO, GlimpzIt (San Francisco)

Parry BediPresentation: The Rise of Creative AI—Machines with the Gift of Human Understanding

Parry co-founded GlimpzIt with the vision to enable AI to realize its true potential — to move beyond quantitative or rational applications into the qualitative or creative realm. Today, GlimpzIt’s AI technology is able to draw out human-level insights from unstructured data, enabling brands to build personalized offerings that resonate with their customers on a truly emotional level. With Master's-level educational credentials in Computer Science and Business, Parry previously worked at Microsoft where his focus was in areas of machine learning and predictive modeling. He is also fluent in four human and eight programming languages.

Andrew Konya, Founder and CEO, Remesh (New York)

Andrew KonyaPresentation: Learnings from Building an AI Qual Tool: How AI's Weaknesses Are a Qualitative Researcher's Strengths

A computational physicist by training, Andrew has spent the past eight years developing and applying artificial intelligence and machine-learning algorithms to problems in language, bio-sensing, image analysis and other applications. His focus is on developing artificial intelligence capable of engaging and understanding large groups of people. As a consultant to the United Nations, he works on applying artificial intelligence to optimize peacekeeping operations.

Ben Wiedmaier, Research Consultant, dscout (Chicago)

Ben WeidermeirPresentation: Research Smarter, Not Harder, with Help from AI

At dscout, a venture-backed qualitative research platform, Ben advises clients on best practices for remote fieldwork and insight synthesis. In addition to consulting, Ben serves on the faculty in relational communication at DePaul University. Ben will demonstrate efficient ways that AI and passive data collection allow qualitative researchers to harness the predictive power of big data, but for their more focused sample sizes.

Katja Cahoon, Managing Founder, Beacon Insight Group (San Francisco)

Jessica Kukredi, Account Director, Olson Zaltman (Pittsburgh)

Co-presentation: Katja and Jessica will discuss their perspectives as research practitioners, each with broad and deep experience using AI tools to analyze emotion in existing qualitative data. They will also demonstrate the use of sentiment analysis that facilitated the discovery of important, fresh, deep, seemingly paradoxical insight into the millennial mindset.

Katja CahoonBridging the mind sciences and business, Katja is a veteran market analyst and a licensed psychotherapist in private practice. She worked in trend and future research with Audi, became Director of Strategic Initiatives at Olson Zaltman, and completed a psychotherapy program before and starting Beacon Insight Group, a qualitative research agency. Having lived in many different countries from an early age, Katja became a close observer of human nature and developed a desire to understand more deeply — and to have a positive impact on — human behavior.

Jessica KukrediJessica is a passionate qualitative researcher who champions the behavioral sciences. She drives a pilot spirit in how emerging methodologies can be used and adapted to increase efficiency, empower analysis and insights, engage cross-functional stakeholders, and ultimately overcome cognitive bias to truly understand the complex hearts and minds of consumers. A sample of Jessica’s recent invited presentations about her research include A Research Agenda for the Next Decade (the White House under President Barack Obama); Getting a Read on Millennials: What They’re Thinking and Buying (NEMOA); and Inside the DIY Handmade Revolution (FUSE: Design & Culture, Brand Identity & Packaging).

Back to Top

WiRe Global Diversity Study Shows Fewer Women in Top-Level MR Positions

Casey Bernard,

QRCA has a new partnership with Women in Research (WiRe), established to help meet the goals of both organizations to grow and connect professionals in research. One of the first activities in our partnership was to participate in WiRe’s Global Gender Diversity Study.

WiRe released the results of the study at the ESOMAR conference in Amsterdam in September. This study was a follow-up to the original study in 2012 and was used to measure change in the industry. While the data show some areas of improvement in parity over the past five years, gender disparity still exists in the market research industry.

The study shows that although women have made some gains in the industry, men continue to hold the majority of top-level positions. While the pay gap is closing and women are earning at a level closer to their male counterparts, women are more likely than men to feel there are barriers to growth—especially women with young children, who find it harder to be supported when returning to work as new parents.

As an organization with a majority of female members, QRCA could explore this topic further with our own point of view. How many of us became independent consultants for the flexibility to support our families? How many of us have forged a way forward to earn more on our own than we were able to in a large organization? Did you go out on your own because you felt held back? Could QRCA conduct our own study to explore further? Visit the QRCA Forum for a discussion on this topic.

» View the full WiRe report

Back to Top

Connections Seeks Editors and Proofers to Join our Team

Laurie Bredenfoerder,

Do you love words?

Would you like to play with them on an extra-curricular basis? Would you like to join one of the most fun, least time-intensive committees within the QRCA ecosystem?


Then Connections is looking for you!

Connections has openings for a few dedicated wordsmiths willing to serve as editors or proofers a couple of hours a month (yes — that’s all!) to prepare articles submitted by QRCA members for publication in our own monthly, members-only online newsletter. All the copy prep work is done online and several days are allowed for turnaround of the work.

You’ll even will have the chance to opt-out of working on a specific issue if, say, your clients suddenly become extra-needy (in a good way)! Although we like having all hands on deck for every issue, we all agree that the paying work comes first.

Article prep starts with the Editors, whose job it is to review articles submitted by members for clarity of communication, accuracy of content, and consistency of format.

Then articles move on to the Proofers, whose job is to check the edited story for spelling, punctuation, grammar, etc. Proofers serve as the important last stop in the Connections’ quality-control process.

You can choose to take on just editing, or just proofing, or offer to switch-hit. Your choice!

For more information, a look at the (very slim) Connections standards manual or even, for a line to sign up on, contact Editor-in-Chief Laurie Bredenfoerder at

Because, you know, this publication doesn’t just edit itself!

Back to Top