The MRS Delphi Group is the Market Research Society’s (MRS) ‘think tank’ which delivers valuable insight across a range of vital business, social and political issues. In 2016 the MRS Delphi Group issued a report on the characteristics of insight-driven
organisations and created a framework enabling organisations to benchmark their
teams against these characteristics.

The findings of the MRS Delphi report provided further evidence that the insight function must prove its value to the organisation by creating a unified vision of qualitative research and big analytics – a proactive narrative for the board and other stakeholders. Kantar Vermeer’s ‘Insights 20:20’ found an unambiguous connection between commercial success and customer-centricity. The MRS Delphi Report delved deeper into what an effective insight team looks like and how it operates within successful private and public sector organisations.

The findings of MRS Delphi research served as a wake-up call to the sector. While it was
encouraging to see that 72% of participants claim their organisation uses insight to drive decision making, only 4% identified themselves as working within a fully-fledged insight driven organisation.

What’s more, only 17% ‘proactively’ championed the customer voice. Based on a smaller sample than the Insight 20:20 report, the MRS Delphi findings were still indicative of a sector that has some way to go before it can move finally and fundamentally away from a support and service role. The MRS/PwC market sizing report, Business of Evidence 2016, identified data analytics and qualitative research as the two growth areas within
insight. The two need each other. Qualitative techniques create the context and framework for organisations’ data resources. Such frameworks not only explains data but identifies the numbers that are really relevant and, by creating a cohesive picture prevent users from getting lost in a warren of ever multiplying data wormholes.

By identifying lead indicators, which may or may not be generated from standard (and necessarily historic) performance metrics, we enable management to have future proofing discussions and identify risk and opportunity on the horizon. In this data-driven era businesses are looking for the expertise and professionalism that exists within the research and insight sector.

As the MRS/PwC Business of Evidence 2016 report concluded, the researcher of the future
must combine a flexible early adopter mind set, business acumen, good communications and sound data analysis skills. These four characteristics form the cornerstones of MRS training and professional development, and our role along with other associations around the world has never been more critical to the future health of the sector.

The MRS Delphi initiative plus this GRBN Invest in Insights Handbook will help insight practitioners and teams to increase their influence and visibility within their organisations, helping to ensure that insight remains at the heart of all future strategic planning and delivery.

Jane Frost

Chief Executive, Market Research Society (MRS)