Honestly? Pretty good!
After attending a recent Wellbeing event I returned to the office feeling very enthusiastic about the whole topic and wondered how we could improve wellbeing in our office Continue reading
Honestly? Pretty good!
After attending a recent Wellbeing event I returned to the office feeling very enthusiastic about the whole topic and wondered how we could improve wellbeing in our office Continue reading
It’s well known that local government is already facing tough financial challenges, with Councils receiving dwindling funding from central government. Continue reading
Back in January in my first neuroblog I looked at the link between the brain’s use of glucose, and how the brain processes information. Now I’d like to explore the way we process images and how it can be used to design better research projects. Continue reading
Sometimes a short advert or article can really bring home the need to act in a way that no amount of lecturing or blanket coverage can.
While watching some re-runs of the Big Bang Theory this past weekend on E4 I noticed an interesting advert during the ad break…
When thinking about innovation often the emphasis is on finding the new, the never done before and especially focusing on technology. How innovative a development is, is often confused with how much noise is made about it, but by focusing on the razzmatazz surrounding a development rather than the impact that it has, we’re missing a trick. Continue reading
What we know about neuroscience might impact on how we design and deliver market and social research projects. My first ‘neuroblog’ considers the impact on decision making of the brain’s need for and use of glucose, and how we might use this relatively new learning when devising our research. Continue reading
I’ve recently completed work experience at the RS Consulting Group, a market and social research agency, and thought I’d share some reflections on my first stint working in the industry. Continue reading
It’s that time of year again where we look back at the closing year, and speculate about how 2015 will develop. For the tech-minded researcher like me, it’s a chance to look at the wider market trends and see the bigger picture. Continue reading
If we’re ever going to solve the problems of congestion, fuel depletion, climate change and associated health issues we need to change travel behaviour. Continue reading
Recently I’ve been reading about Apple’s long-awaited Apple watch. This would be Apple’s entry into the market of wearable technology, which is probably the most talked about area in tech. Some of the benefits of wearables being talked up are staying connected all the time, having a computer on you wherever you are, whenever you need it. Continue reading
I’m always struck by how little commercial services are valued for their ability to make a positive impact on society. We have great support services that help those in need, but on the whole we’re not making the most of the commercial resources available. Continue reading
With Stoptober now upon us and focusing minds on quitting smoking, here’s a look at some recent press coverage… Continue reading
“I climbed the ladder, looked through the spyglass, and in tiny little letters it said, YES. So it was positive. I felt relieved. It’s a great relief when you get up the ladder and you look through the spyglass and it doesn’t say NO or Continue reading
Who am I?
My name is Freddie. I’m 17 and going into my final year of school, and I have to start applying to university soon. After a few long trips to university open days, I’ve decided that I want to study industrial economics Continue reading
I’m very engaged in the referendum debate in Scotland. I think it’s fascinating, and a very good thing for Scotland, and the UK, no matter what the result is. However, watching the debate between Alex Salmond and Alistair Darling, I was slightly overwhelmed by the claims, counter claims, statistics and figures, and this despite my substantial engagement. Continue reading
I’ve written and rewritten this blog 3 times. The first draft was too emotional, the second draft too focused on fact and the third, a disjointed mix of the two. This should be easy to write because there is just one very clear message that I want to get across: sign up to the donor register and tell your friends and family your wishes. Continue reading
In this infographic we look at the transport sector and some of the challenges it will face as society gradually ages. Demographic changes will affect every sector, and and this is the first in a series of infographics exploring how lives will change.
The sports system is a multifaceted, multi-billion pound industry made up of public and commercial organisations. Governments are responsible for setting a country’s sports infrastructure, in terms of how sports are taught in schools and the quality of public facilities. Continue reading
Have you ever struggled to find a job? Been made redundant? Been sacked? Had to quit a job due to illness? How did that make you feel?
This is the topic of a new joint report by the Men’s Health Forum (MHF) and The Work Foundation; Continue reading
It didn’t escape my attention today that Ed Milliband visited my local NHS hospital in Cheshire and made some bold statements about what Labour would do to reduce GP waiting times so that no patient need wait more than 48 hours for an appointment. Continue reading
As my bit to raise awareness of mental health awareness week and in an effort to reduce my own anxiety I am going to go on record and out myself. I AM A KNITTER (and a crocheter, and a card maker… well generally a pretty crafty person), but let’s just focus on the knitting for the time being. Continue reading
Recent research we conducted into news sentiment for the NHS suggests 2/3 of news is negative, and this is particularly prevalent around performance and patient care. It should be no surprise to anyone that negative press impacts on how staff feel and perform, but what can be done about this? Continue reading
Last week I witnessed quite a long altercation on a train between a passenger and the train manager: the passenger was insisting that the trains were filthy, that it was like “travelling in a third world country,” accused her of lying Continue reading
With a multitude of causes and adverts or people almost everywhere we turn, what does this mean for charity giving? Donor fatigue is not a new phenomenon. However, with many causes vying for our attention and both frequent natural disasters and long-standing humanitarian crises there is a clear and definite need to keep donors engaged with the cause. Continue reading
These are challenging times for public consultations, and yet the need for them has never been greater. The knee-jerk reaction to the demands of austerity might be to cut-down on expensive consultations, but I want to explore why this might in fact be a false economy. Continue reading
The UK has recently embarked on the most radical reform of pensions in recent memory, with all employers now obliged to automatically enrol most of their employees into a workplace pension. Continue reading
The DWP has published the findings of our qualitative research among workers who have opted out. As part of our research with the first employers to implement automatic enrolment, we spoke to 50 employees who explained their reasons for leaving workplace schemes following automatic enrolment, their experience of this process and their general attitudes to saving for retirement. Read the report in full here.
It was very refreshing to hear Conny Kalcher, VP Marketing and Consumer Experiences of LEGO, talk at a recent Big Questions Live show about their approach to innovation and driving customer satisfaction. She spoke candidly about failures at LEGO, how they learnt from those, quickly adapted and put in place alternative plans. Continue reading
There’s much talk of a shortage in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) in both the US and the UK. In the UK, there is general consensus that there is a shortage – Read Professor John Perkins’ Review of Engineering Skills (BIS Nov 2013) Continue reading
One in four people will suffer from a mental health condition in the course of a year in the UK, and while there’s a lot of talk about mental health in abstract terms, it’s another question entirely whether individual people feel able to talk about their own mental health. Continue reading
Living outside of London has its pros and its cons. I say this with some authority, as I’ve been re-adjusting to life outside the capital over the past six months or so. From a travel perspective you can’t get away from the fact that London has a far superior public transport network to the rest of the UK. Continue reading
January 20th was ‘Blue Monday’; apparently the most depressing day of the year for many due to a combination of factors which include the weather, debt, time since Christmas, failed New Year’s resolutions and low motivational levels. Continue reading
It’s easy to overlook the importance of design in successful communication. Too often the value of an important piece of communication is lost through poor design. If the audience is turned off by the presentation, they won’t get the message. This maxim seems to be lost on today’s transport companies, but it hasn’t always been this way. Continue reading
It’s that time of year again. Here at mruk this month, I’ve been growing a moustache along with a few of my esteemed colleagues.
This is the second year I’ve participated in Movember. You might wonder why on earth I’d grow a moustache for an entire month, and look like this on purpose. Continue reading
I attended a regional NHS networking event earlier this week and it got me thinking about the language used in health research.
In short, there appear to be two schools of thought: those who talk about ‘patients’, and those whose interest lies with the ‘public’. Continue reading
As I drove through the City of London last week I listened to the news on the radio announcing 28% of adults and 40% of children in London are living in poverty (rising to over 50% in certain inner London boroughs). Though obviously aware of inequalities in the UK and across the capital it always comes as a shock to hear it put so starkly. Continue reading
I recently attended an event launching NHS Change Day 2014. One theme discussed was stigma, stereotyping and how to change individuals’ and practitioners’ perceptions towards all kinds of people and groups in our multicultural society. Continue reading
NHS Change Day is a movement that started after a Twitter discussion in November 2012 amongst a few NHS employees. It encourages individuals and teams to overcome hierarchical constraints and change the way the NHS operates. Leadership of change is driven by those outside the upper echelons. Continue reading
With October nearing a close it marks the end of Stoptober. Stoptober is a scheme which encourages smokers to stop smoking for the whole of October in an attempt to quit in the long term. The campaign came about after research revealed that stopping for 28 days means a smoker is five times more likely to not go back to cigarettes. Continue reading
Never one to shy away from a challenge, Rachel took part in the Tough Mudder North West event in Cheshire earlier this month. As the name would imply it’s a tough event which takes place in mud. A fitness fanatic, Rachel completed the gruelling 11.5 mile course in under 3 hours finishing “somewhere near the front”. Here’s some photos of the WW1 inspired carnage!
Rachel, we salute you! Continue reading
The headline on the latest edition of Southern News was Battersea Park station – back to its former glory! (The exclamation mark is theirs not mine.) Now here at the offices of mruk, we are always very excited to read any news about this rather fine station. Continue reading
To mark The United Nations’ (UN) International Day of Older Persons 2013, we spoke to a number of people from all walks of life about how they feel life has changed over their lifetime and over the generations, as well as their hopes and fears for the future. Continue reading
There are a lot of statistics out there. I should know; I’m partly responsible for the creation of many of them (12.47% according to some sources)! As most of us know, any argument can be supported with a statistic from one survey or another. Continue reading
If you have 10 minutes over lunch today, check out this fly on the wall account of a day in the life of the ONS (the UK’s Office for National Statistics) in The Guardian. It sheds rare light on just how national statistics are produced and shows just how complicated this can be. Continue reading
It’s free, easy to do, will possibly save your life and you are encouraged and frequently reminded to do it. Why then do some women still not go for their cervical screening?
An 80% uptake isn’t bad but considering how early detection and treatment can prevent up to 75% of cervical cancers it is important for 100% of women to be tested. Continue reading
You can learn a lot from observation. It’s an undervalued approach to research in my opinion. And where better to observe others than while travelling on a train? It’s almost unavoidable. Continue reading
I love cycling. I do it without question every day. I love how much money I save, how much time I save, the exercise I get and the sense of freedom that comes with it. But cycling also brings out a side in me that can only be described as ugly. Continue reading
I blogged the other day on my experiences of cycling in London. Today I thought I’d share this video I took of my journey into work in Battersea using our company Go Pro camera. Continue reading
About 18 months ago I moved to London from Vienna, a city where I first started cycling as a means of urban transport. The Austrian capital is so appealing for those on two wheels- it’s small enough to be able to navigate easily by bike, as well as being very flat. Continue reading
As part of National Walk to School week, mum Jackie filmed Lily on her walk into school. Noah came too. Continue reading
In Walk to School week all of the children in the school walk to school. If they live far away then they try to walk half of the way. We do it to get people walking so they can get healthy. Continue reading
Niall and I were decontrolled yesterday. A customer service representative and numerous other staff at Gatwick Airport informed us that we were being “decontrolled”.
What on earth had we done in order to incur this punitive treatment? Continue reading
I’ll begin with a case study. My own
I’ve always been aware of how physical activity improves my mood and lowers my stress but it wasn’t until recently, when the ability to run and jump was temporarily taken away from me that I realised just how important it is. Continue reading
During Walk to School week all the school walk to school. If you walk to school every day then you get some kind of reward (like bacon butties on the Friday!). Continue reading
In an amazingly short space of time, the walking thing has just became normal. And especially after the sunny gorgeousness that was yesterday, I found myself looking forward to today’s walk, and sorry that it was all going to be over at the end. But as regular readers will know, today was the Jazz Apocalypse. Continue reading
So today I walked to work with Maria Callas (recommended by Chrissie – thank you, Chrissie!). Maria and I got along pretty well, especially the part where she sang bits of Tosca to me as I walked along the edge of Wandsworth Common. Continue reading
Badges! I got badges! And cute pictures of muffins. And I’ve walked more than 10 miles in the last 3 days. Double figures, guys! Continue reading
I’m working up slowly to Jazz Day, as Friday May 17 shall henceforth be known. Yesterday was pretty easy, though I did have the odd fight with myself and the ‘skip’ button. Continue reading
When I was about 14, much to my astonishment, my parents got cable TV. A few things happened as direct consequences: Continue reading
Still in recovery mode after the collapse of the franchising process for the West Coast line, the Department for Transport probably breathed a collective sigh of relief when the press decided not to make a bigger deal of April marking the 5th anniversary of its starting procurement for the new Thameslink rolling stock. Continue reading
In support of Mental Health Awareness Week and Walk to Work Week we are going to be taking part in a range of activities from May 13-17. As well as some of our staff walking to work we will also be going for walks in our local park and arranging after work games. As with NHS Change Day, small steps can lead to big changes (see page 9 of this pdf for how we helped).
Kate Anderson has been promoted to Joint Managing Director of the RS Consulting Group. She replaces Phil Stubington, who has decided to step back from the role of Joint MD to focus on developing the Group’s strategic relationships with key accounts. Phil will also lead the Group’s innovation programme, capitalising on the success of its award-winning research platform, e-luminate. Continue reading
Last week the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group (APPCG) set out their recommendations to the government, which if implemented, could facilitate significant growth in cycling across the UK. The Get Britain Cycling report has been widely welcomed by cyclists, cycling organisations, transport and public health planners. Continue reading
The recent measles outbreak has clearly brought the MMR scare back to top of mind again for many. It has also prompted us to think about how – as researchers – we’re frequently asked to assess varying information sources in a very rational way: Continue reading
On a recent commute, I read with interest that households are now more worried about the rising cost of living than they are about their health. According to data from uSwitch released in the build-up to the budget next week, more than half of households (55%) said that their biggest concern was the cost of living, compared with less than a third (29%) who saw their health as their main priority. Continue reading
I blogged a few weeks ago about the possibilities that the smartwatch might offer market researchers. Of course there is one bit of kit already – well almost sort of already – out there today. Google goggles …or GoogleGlass as it is more properly known. Continue reading
Conference speakers! Loads of you have talked to me in the last 12 months. And I have (mostly) listened. I’ve been intrigued and inspired by what some of you, elsewhere in research-land, are doing. I’ve enjoyed talking further with many of you afterwards in the queue for coffee. Continue reading
I haven’t owned a watch for quite a few years, but The New York times are reporting that Apple are apparently playing with loading their iOS software into a wrist watch. Apple aren’t the only ones investing in smartwatch technology. A great crowd funded start-up called Pebble also has a bluetooth enabled watch. Continue reading
We need to talk about the big C. Cancer. You may well be thinking ‘Talk about cancer, don’t we do enough of that already?’ Unfortunately the truth all too often is no, we don’t. Admittedly cancer is frequently in the news either in the form of a fundraising initiatives, such as Movember, Race for Life or regarding a new treatment made available (or not) on the NHS. Continue reading
The overarching concern of NHS staff is how the NHS can improve care while simultaneously reducing cost. For 75% of staff that we surveyed, cost and quality are viewed as trade-offs or alternative priorities, with the belief that cost reductions will inevitably lead to a reduction in quality. Continue reading
The arrival of the author’s tickets for next weekend’s steam on the London Underground specials has prompted some reflections on the value of history as a part of the marketing mix for today’s transport industry. The bus and rail industries are unusual in that it’s possible to see earlier incarnations of their product in use in their original environment and many of the major players in the UK (TfL and Stagecoach for example) are active in maintaining their history. Continue reading
It’s hard to miss the headlines informing us that obese people could have their benefits cut unless they start exercising. This is bound to spark considerable debate over why only overweight people are being punished and not smokers or drug addicts or why overweight people should be allowed to put a strain on the healthcare system. Continue reading
The Department of Health estimates that a lack of physical activity across the UK costs the NHS over £8 billion each year (1). To put that into context, that’s the equivalent to the annual salary of more than 300,000 nurses. Continue reading
I noticed earlier in the week that the NHS have published their Pensions Scheme contributions calculator for 2013-2014. Whilst it wasn’t quite what I expected when I started to play around with it (I thought it was going to be one of those “if we assume x, y and z, then if you continue to make your current pension contributions you’ll be living on nothing for 20 to 25 years” types of model) it did start me thinking. Continue reading
Working a 9-5 job in an office, it’s difficult to avoid a largely sedentary lifestyle, complimented by a desk drawer full of sugary snacks and a kitchen often containing foods – mostly edible – from colleagues’ travels. So when I was first given the opportunity to participate in a company-led pedometer initiative, I was a little afraid of how embarrassingly poor my results would be! Continue reading
Francesca Martinez (the Comedian With Cerebral Palsy) argues that the opposite of disabled is not ‘non-disabled’, it is ‘not yet disabled’. We currently use these terms as if there is a clear and stark separation between these two categories, and yet it is evident that most people undergo a gradual loss of their physical and mental capabilities over the course of their lifetime. Continue reading
Just last month the Royal College of Midwives put the spotlight on Britain’s current baby boom. Certainly the proliferation of “Baby on board” badges on my train each morning would seem to bear testament to the veracity of these figures. Continue reading
Use of the internet is dramatically changing everyday lives. How many of us now send an email instead of picking up the phone or shop online instead of going out to the high street? Similarly the proportion of online research we conduct has increased rapidly. Continue reading
Wednesday 7th November saw the 14th National Stress Awareness Day. The focus this year was on drawing attention to stress in the work place, and encouraging people to identify and combat this. Continue reading
Watching a TV programme a few evenings back, about how safe Britain’s roads are, reminded me of something I’ve been meaning to write about…. not so much about vehicle safety (although there is a link and, worryingly, road deaths are on the rise for the first time in years), Continue reading
I’m fairly certain that if I went out and asked the man or woman on the street which illness costs the NHS most money each year, and also costs the economy most money each year, I’d receive quite a wide range of answers. Continue reading
In both the transport and graphic design worlds, the story of how electrical draughtsman Harry Beck created the Tube map as we know it sits in an odd space between subject of serious historical study and urban myth. Continue reading
Commuting is competitive and tactical. Seasoned commuters have perfected their strategies, knowing the exact spot on the platform where they can board the train with the minimum risk of getting elbowed in the ribs, safe in the knowledge selecting this carriage will mean they have the shortest walk to leave the station at the other end. Continue reading
Why is ethnic diversity important? Ethnic identity is often a very personal subject that impacts us in our daily lives, but how individuals from different communities function has wider implications for society as a whole—both good and bad. Continue reading
The saying goes ‘home is where the heart is’, however in our current economic and social climate housing seems to be at the very heart of our economic crisis. With high house prices coupled with banks & building societies requiring large deposits, plus concerns over job security, home ownership continues to be well out of reach for millions across the UK. Research by the National Housing Federation showed that the average age of a first time buyer in the UK without parental assistance is now 39. Continue reading
I’m normally irritated by the predictable use of sporting competitions to stir up nationalism. It seems pretty irrational to identify with other people just because you’re from the same place, rather than sharing the same interests: doesn’t a British nurse have as much in common with a French nurse as she does with a British banker? Continue reading
Last week I travelled with Eurostar to a client meeting in Paris. On emerging from the Channel Tunnel in France we were informed that we would have to swap trains in Lille due of a technical fault with the train, meaning we would be over an hour late into Paris. Continue reading
I attended the NHS Confederation’s Delivering Better Health Services conference last week in Manchester. There was a lot of noise around public involvement in research and adopting a participatory approach, and it did make me question the extent to which this happens in research. I outline below what I see as some of the key elements to conducting good participatory, people-centred research. Continue reading
Earlier this week I attended a Government Communication Network/ Government Procurement Service event on the future of government communications and communications procurement (sounds enthralling, I know!). Continue reading
I read with interest about a recent survey conducted by the Institute of Sport at Loughborough University that it is only around one in eight girls who reach the standard level of fitness by the age of 14 years. Continue reading
One of the great pleasures in the life of a researcher is having the opportunity to be involved in the creation and development of new products and services – from those first sparks of ideas, when those first little seeds are germinated right through to the detail of packaging, pricing or communications. Continue reading
Over the past 24hrs the media has been awash with proposed moves to “fine” parents for their children’s unauthorised absence from school meanwhile over on Radio 4 this morning, debate raged over whether the NHS might “bribe”/“incentivise” (both terms are used) the obese to lose weight. Continue reading
I’ve recently returned from a week in South Africa so I am trying to get used to the cold weather and ‘normal’ life. I always enjoy visiting new places and I love getting the chance to explore and experience cultures so different to those I’m used to in the UK. Continue reading
The issue of improved safety for cyclists has been a key talking point in the media over recent weeks. At the forefront has been The Times, who have led with their Cities fit for cycling campaign, launched after journalist Mary Bowers was badly injured on her way to work in November 2011 and still remains in hospital. Continue reading
It goes without saying that the technological paradigm shifts of the last 30 years have had, and continue to have, a massive impact on the way we live our lives. No part of our day to day existence remains untouched by the digital revolution. Continue reading
To complement the recently published Portas Review on the British high street, we conducted two focus groups to gauge sentiment and find out what improvements could be made to make the high street more relevant to local residents. Continue reading