Time for IIeX? But I’m Still Working on My To-Do’s From Last Year!



By Jeffrey Henning

It’s almost time for the next Insight Innovation Exchange (IIeX) conference in the U.S.  Which I am greatly looking forward to, even though I haven’t put everything into practice that I learnt at last year’s conference!

I’ve been trying to be more consciously and purposefully innovative, using the five tips that Charles Trevail, CEO of Promise Communities, shared. As he said, “The old view was that as long as we had a genius as CEO, we would be led into the future. But 95% of organizations don’t have that kind of CEO, so we need to do innovation differently.” Not being a genius CEO, I’ve taken his advice to heart.

I’m also trying to be more conscious about what initiatives to invest in financially and which to be more thrifty about. Last year, Jasmeet Sethi, a regional manager of consumer insights for Ericsson, discussed the value of being “frugal by choice” when it comes to innovating. It’s a tough balancing act.  (He also shared a case study of WhatsApp that stuck with me, and seems particularly forward-looking now that Facebook is acquiring the company.)

Field Agent led a thought-provoking and inspiring session that showed how intimate respondents are willing to be with their smartphones (They Showed You What?!). I’m just wrapping up another survey conducted with smartphone owners, and hope to do more in the future: when you can’t afford to do ethnography, smartphone surveys offer the next best thing.

We’re often called to action for important social causes. Of course, we can only take on so many. But I loved the call to “data philanthropy” from one of the panel sessions and was able to do one project for a niche industry where I persuaded my client to share the data with all participants.

RIWI was the winner of the Insight Innovation Competition: they offer a new, randomized, fresh, stream of respondents in every country in the world except North Korea. The randomization comes from capturing millions of people on every web-enabled device who mistype a URL and end up at a site offering a 4- to 9-question RIWI survey instead (the company has a patent on the process). RIWI was the only research firm to predict the last Egyptian election, using a mobile survey completed by 10,000 Egyptians. I’ve pitched a few clients on using RIWI and am talking with them about a pilot project.

The overarching theme of innovation at IIeX resonates for me both as an entrepreneur trying to build a unique niche in the industry, and as a researcher that assists our clients with innovation. Even though I haven’t completed my to-do list of ideas generated by the last conference, I’m looking forward to discovering new opportunities at this year’s event!

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