The QRCA (Qualitative Research Consultants Association) held its 2023 Worldwide Conference in Lisbon, Portugal. This city offers a unique blend of tradition and innovation, making it an ideal location for a conference focused on the future of qualitative research.
I was delighted and honored to be part of the Programme Committee, chaired by Chris Kann, working with a team of highly talented people from Europe and the US, selecting papers to offer the best content to attendees coming from the 5 continents and from more than 20 countries. The conference gave us the opportunity to immerse in case studies, to think about our practices and predict our industry’s future.
Day 1 started by the keynote “Back to the future, again!” followed by reflections on post-pandemic practices for young careers starting during Covid and more widely on Human interaction On and Off line, benchmarking face-to-face, text and online discussions. It was then time for two bright presentations on culture and language in African markets, before deep diving into a burning topic for our profession: Artificial Intelligence, AI. The key learning from these papers was: AI is not chatGPT, chatGPT being the commercial version of what can AI do. AI can enhance international qual through:
- Emotion Recognition, measuring changes in voice or facial expressions
- Wearable Neuroscience, to predict behaviors with real-time correlations between heartbeat and brand state (thanks to a basic connected watch)
- Sensorial Associations, for package food innovation, to get what product must deliver vs. sensory expectations and find correlations between concept or attributes and product specificities.
Day 1 ended with the Night Event at Palacio Conde d’Obidos offering a wonderful view on Tage river, in a very friendly atmosphere and around passionate discussions.
On Day 2 we started with an inspiring keynote on our practices and their impact for brands, “Searching for truth in Market Research and finding an exciting jungle”, where Daniel Plettenberg shared his experience to remain fresh after 25 years in Market Research. His motto: Truth / Authencity / Realness. But what is truth in Market Research? What is truth in a world driven by information? Why truth is so important when it comes to our profession, and beyond? How to reach truth?
I also really loved the following paper on the humaness of objects which was a radically new viewing angle to me! I have always been considering that brands and their purpose were at the very heart of thinking and strategy. From Sonia Marques’ perspective ‘brands are a way to talk about commodity’ where objects are all about how people interact with them. This has been shaking my initial thoughts. In the continuity of objects ‘The power of Kintsugi”, the Japanese art of reparing broken pottery with gold, brought a nice philosophical and poetic idea of connecting the dots.
Day 2 ended up with the Best Presentation Award won by Cheryl Stella Dalisay for her paper “Hidden Truths and the Power in Grace”. Thank you Cheryl for sharing your experience with so much truth and emotions.
I must say that this edition of QRCA Worlwide Conference was magnetic, gathering thought provoking content, bright people and vibrancy!
Thank you all for your involvement and energy, looking forward to seeing you in Denver in 2024!