Takeaway ideas from day 1 of #wwqual

Summarising a conference is a challenge.

You can’t cover everyone. And you certainly can’t convey the speaker’s topic with as much nuance as they would. With these caveats in mind, some highlights from day 1 of #wwqual, pulling out takeaway ideas from 8 of the sessions.


Ian Leslie, Keynote: Curious

  • Leslie’s talk was based on his book of the same name: “A fascinating multi-disciplinary analysis of why curiosity makes the world go round.” His jumping off point was the increasing returns to knowledge in the knowledge economy. His view: curiosity has an important role to play in a world of easy answers. But it needs to be actively cultivated: resist the certainties of age and “be interested in what can’t be measured.”
  • Takeaway ideas:
    • There are 3 types of curiosity: diversive (attraction to novelty), epistemic (a deeper exploration for knowledge) and empathic (putting yourself in another’s shoes).
    • The cognitively rich household: rapidly diverging outcomes in educational attainment exist for those who arrive at school with small initial advantages vocabulary & exposure to ideas at home


Lydia Fuller, Full Colour Research: Finding Your Tribe

  • In 2018 public trust in institutions and corporations is at an all-time low. Fuller spoke about the role researchers have to play in helping brands understand and connect with their audiences, especially those beyond the mainstream.
  • Takeaway ideas: Stalk your prey & reach the unresearched. Consider pen portraits for recruitment not a rigid screener. Use a paid pre-task to video audition participants for ethno projects.


Rachel Cox and Rebecca Harrison, Relish Research: There’s Method in the Insight: Unlocking Next Level Understanding of Consumers’ Lives

  • Cox & Harrison showcased their “Method Insight” approach: in their view a way to “achieve a true connection and empathy, leaving all preconceived ideas behind.” An example: the real triggers to action within a category may be small, fleeting moments not in the places or times you assume. In reality people may spend a tiny sliver of time thinking about the category – let alone the brand.
  • Takeaway idea: Mystery living (as opposed to mystery shopping). Setting clients a mission to perform the participant behaviour: e.g. budget, shop for and create the child’s party.


Sarah Jane Johnson, Athena Brand Wisdom: What we can learn from Other Experts Who Talk to People for a Living

  • Quallies are a magpies, forever picking up tips and analytical frameworks to improve their practice. Johnson focussed on the strategies of other “interviewing experts” (Journalists, Psychotherapists, Anthropologists, Litigators and Philosophers) as they attempt to uncover participant thoughts and feelings
  • Takeaway idea: Watching and listening can be more important than asking.


Daniel Berkal, The Palmerston Group: From the Triforce to Bermuda: Why Triangles are More Powerful Than You Think

  • In a highly engaging and amusing session, Berkal explored the idea of triangulation for methodology design, and gave us loads of practical tips.
  • Takeaway ideas:
    • Build rapport in an observational interview through changing locations (two locations allows the informality of a car journey, and a new comparative perspective), changing topics (leaving time for unstructured small talk) and role reversal (what’s important that I’ve missed? what would you ask if you were me?).
    • Walking alongside someone can help catalyse a conversation. Planes are revealing environment because you are faced away from the person next to you, the focus is not absolute – and due to anonymity there is “equal opportunity for deception”.


Alice Salisbury, Inkling London: Standout Doesn’t Mean What You Think

  • I was reading my notes with a furrowed brow during Alice’s session as my presentation followed hers. It was full of good stuff. Her focus: a model for achieving cut through in a world of clutter and over-communication.
  • Takeaway idea: A model for understanding what drives standout: expectations (understand when to disrupt and when to conform), missions (think about the context and the goal of your audience) and triggers (consider 4 types of salience – personal, cultural, social & situational).


Lucia Neva, Visual Signo – UK and Ann Menard, Nestle: Curiouser and Curiouser: Design Semiotics Opening New Paths

  • Neva and Menard showed how design semiotics helped Nestlé Professional Beverages reach an optimised design for a new range of coffee machines.
  • Takeaway idea: semiotics is uniquely powerful when working across cultures, prioritising design elements and avoiding “design by committee”. Getting to agreed visual codes provides focus: when a stakeholder from one territory is adamant “putting gold on it” is the key to being premium you will have the evidence to rebut them!


Oana Popa Rengle, Anamnesi: The More Beautiful Story – How to Get to the Consumer Stories You Have Always Hoped For

  • Rengle helped unpack, explore and elucidate a hot topic in research: storytelling. Her session provided two story elicitation processes that would be really useful in the early stages of creative development. The first: careful recruitment and task design to create an online storytelling community. The second: convening a F2F workshop to prioritise and summarise core “story fragments”/ “story igniters” using creative techniques. Rengle referred to presentation-guru.com’s story arc (below) which provides a great visual anchor for the topic.
  • Takeaway ideas:
    • A good insight is nothing else but a good story.
    • The elements of a good insight are: tension, solution, end-benefit.
    • Optimise a narrative by collating “story igniters” relevant to your theme e.g. “With them, I am always my true self” / “My friends were there for my every ‘first time’”. These fragments can help people optimise the story arc.
Oana Popa Rengle_Storytelling.jpg

Oana Popa Rengle’s storytelling arc



About Simon Shaw

I'm a Director at an insight consultancy. I'm interested in marketing, market research & consumer psychology. The views expressed are not necessarily those of my employer.
This entry was posted in Conferences, Market Research, Marketing Research, Methods and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Takeaway ideas from day 1 of #wwqual

  1. helenweavers says:

    Thanks Simon, that was useful.

  2. Hi Simon, thank you for the effort, it makes a great reminder of key things in the conference. I just wanted to clarify that it is not “my” story arc, the illustration comes from presentation-guru.com (it says in very small letters down there), I merely added on top the elements of a good insight (tension, solution, end-benefit) to show how a good insight is nothing else but a good story. Thank you, again, for the mention. I thouroughly enjoyed your presentation also. Will you ellaborate on that anywhere?

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