We were recently thrilled to take part in QUAL360 EU in Berlin. The event, organised by Merlien Institute, brought together leaders of industry, client-side and agency-side alike. Jenny Kieras, our Global Head of Key Accounts, hit the stage with our talk, “When Innovation Fails: why the industry needs qual at quant scale to design the right thing, the right way.”

Joining Jenny was Yvan Goupil, Head of Client Strategy. In this blog we catch up with Jenny and Yvan to discuss frontline perspectives from QUAL360 EU. Read on for photos and first-hand accounts of the event’s atmosphere, talks, and emerging ideas that are shaping the landscape of qualitative research.

Jenny Kieras on stage presenting at QUAL360 EU 2024

Tell us about the event itself. What excited you?

Yvan Goupil: QUAL360 EU had a blend of participants, presenters and industries showcased that was top notch. That includes both agencies and clients. There was a great selection of presentation topics; everything was geared towards offering the participants a good, robust picture of the evolution happening for Qual insights. Especially in the context of GenAI development.

Jenny Kieras: Because the structure of the event allows for people to really feel part of the discussion there was this great blend of immersion in topics with room to decompress and reflect with others. By moving as a group through the presentations and breaks, the networking feels very organic and genuine. It was a fantastic chance to connect; people naturally had this willingness to engage in further discussion around what is being shared by the speakers and in the round tables.

What were the key concepts and areas of awareness for the future of qual? Were there prevailing anxieties or hopes that shone through the crowd?

JK: It’s clear that there are many exciting developments on the horizon but I find myself always interested in the discussions of attention to the fundamentals; how to select the right vendor partners, how to bring stakeholders on the journey, utilising the best methods (to bring the true consumer voice into the room) then democratising those research findings. This shows just how important it is to continue to share amongst our industry peers, work together to drive best practices and bulletproof strategic behaviours.

YG: What became clear to me is that the new technological developments are there to impact everyone involved with qual work. It’s clear – something you cannot avoid and that everyone should embrace. Everyone is very tangibly hyped up about the (seemingly limitless) potentialities GenAI offers to the industry, not only in terms of productivity but also depth of insights and access. That’s very exciting to see.

JK: There was still some scepticism about what AI could do without significant human intervention, understanding and empathy. Also in the C-Suite there remains a gap in value perceptions of qual and quant; wanting robust data sets but struggling to believe in qual research if not already a convert – that’s something to be aware of in this period of evolution.

Yvan Goupil at the Catalyx stand at QUAL360 EU 2024

What’s your perspective on the takeaway here?

YG: The question around guiding AI with a human hand stood out to me. It’s something we’re very aware of at Catalyx; utilising AI alongside traditional human moderation delivers qual depth insights at quant scale. My opinion is that this will bridge the gap to the C-Suite by delivering the what via robust metrics and the why via our ability to synthesise huge amounts of unstructured, open response data supported by human moderation.

JK: The takeaway for me is that it’s just so important to continue to drill fundamentals and ‘sweat the small stuff’. This goes amongst our peers and for the industry at large. Catalyx’s approach to this is that we strive every day to ‘never settle’ in ensuring our clients get the best learnings and most actionable insights, and it all comes from this commitment to detail from the very beginning. No matter how nicely you package your results up, if they’re not based on real foundations from the start they’re always going to crumble. I think ‘never settle’ is what must also apply to the industry at large.

Want to find out more?

This is just the first of the events Jenny will be presenting at this year. If you’d like to catch our talk live, our next stop is QUAL360 NA in Washington, DC. Secure your tickets here.

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