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NEUROBLOG 2: What we know about how the brain processes information can lead to better research design

Rachel CopeBack 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

Innovation – let’s focus on the impact not the razzmatazz

Kate AndersonWhen 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

NEUROBLOG 1: How the brain’s need for fuel can affect the quality of responses

Rachel CopeWhat 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

If we’re always connected, who needs ‘wearable’ technology?

guyGRecently 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

Get commercial: the way to maximise social impact

SaniaH_smallThe power of commercial services:

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

Too much information to form an honest opinion

NeilS_smallI’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

Donor registration – simple steps to saving lives

Fiona PI’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

Unleash the inner athlete: why we don’t need to win the World Cup to benefit from sports

SaniaH_smallThe 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

Keep calm and carry on… knitting

ivonneHAs 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

Why we won’t be giving up on giving

charlotteCWith 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

Experiences of workers who have opted out: DWP publish our latest research findings

PublicationsThe 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.

Failure is an important part of success

brianKIt 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

Design lessons from history

philS

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

Keeping up with the Martins, Grubers, Peeters and Bianchis

kateAMy colleague Julie’s blog about the rise and rise of Aldi and Rodolfo’s blog about what we can learn from Mercadona in Spain highlight just what can be achieved when we challenge existing models and how this could change the face of UK grocery retailing. Continue reading

Financial education and the poverty trap

amyCAs 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

Driving in reverse: How behavioural economics can change smoking behaviour

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

Rachel Cope – one tough mudder!

RachelTough_mudder2Never 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

Vital statistics and the Hadron Collider

kateAIf 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

I’ll have what she’s having. Later.

Fiona PannellIt’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

When it comes to passenger engagement, trains are being left behind

Niall BakerOver the past week I’ve had the opportunity to attend both the Passenger Focus’ event Passenger Power and the European Bus Operators Forum.  Both were interesting and it was great to hear how rail and bus operators are taking a keener interest in what their customers have to say. Continue reading

A smarter future for rail customer service

Last week we attended a Passenger Focus event which was convened to discuss their recent research into passenger perspectives on the franchise process.The survey found that most passengers see this process as lacking transparency and only paying lip service to passenger needs  Continue reading

Let’s get physical – Mental Health Awareness & Walk to Work Week

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

Kate’s Walk to Work Week diary – Friday: This ain’t rock’n’roll … This is genocide

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

Kate’s Walk to Work Week diary – Thursday: Waiting for the Beat to Kick in (But it Never Does)

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

Five years to order some trains, you could build a new railway quicker than that

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

01/05/13 – Change at the top at RS Consulting Group

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

Cycling – change in culture needed to move to the next level

Niall BakerLast 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 links between financial health and physical health

rachelCOn 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

Gazing into the future through GoogleGlasses

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 speaking do’s and don’t’s: a plea from the floor

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

Is the next big tech revolution on your wrist?

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

Cancer – it’s good to talk

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

Past, present and future collide on London’s Underground’s 150th birthday

The scenes over the last two weeks as London Underground celebrated its 150th Anniversary have served to highlight that many of the challenges facing the capital’s transport network would seem very familiar to the original promoters of the tube and their investors. Continue reading

Transport companies ignoring their brand heritage

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

Bringing the power home: can councils handle it?

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

Calculating the cost of success

Andy GlazierI 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

Small steps to healthier living

Annalise TobermanWorking 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

You are not yet disabled

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

Online technologies can bolster vulnerable audience participation

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

When commuting is competitive and fun

Niall BakerCommuting 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

No place like home…

mie LutherThe 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

The Olympics, nationalism and the power of imagination

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

When things go wrong….. do the right thing!

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

Participatory research – creating an inclusive approach

rachelCI 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

5 ways to funk up your co-creation

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

How safe is cycling in cities?

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

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