ESOMAR attending Collision - Final thoughts

The feeling of passionate innovation and honest curiosity
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Date 24 June 2022
Author Xabier Palacio

As we wrapped up our banners, packed leaflets and say goodbye to our neighbours, we recollected our thoughts on the experiences each one of us amassed over the past three days. The feeling was that of deep optimism and wonder.

Wonder to the endless creativity each of the start-ups and companies displayed at the event and the variety of problems they attempted to solve. I had the opportunity to learn more about, a company that tapped, a bit like Wikipedia is curated by approved contributors, into a broad list of politically neutral contributors to try and grade political commentary in order to identify and prevent extremism and polarisation, as well as expose false narratives and fake stories. Bob was surprised by a technology that turned any object, not only QR-codes, into their own hyperlink: you may be able to point your camera at your next package of chewing gum and make it play videos, or anything, on your phone. I saw the workings of a company that could process DNA strands into bits of information and link them into a chain on a plastic film, deposit it into a liquid, and concentrate it in order to store the equivalent information contained in an encyclopedia into mere droplets of liquid at a viable cost. These are just but some examples of a plethora of ideas attempting to change the world we live in.

And optimism was seen after observing the interest all attendees showed for ESOMAR. Marie-Agnes held conversations with several colleges and universities, keen on finding out a way to bring our experience, code of conduct and content to their roster. We lost count of the enthusiastic students that kept on dropping by our stand, eager to learn more about data protection, about data analysis, about research methodologies and about compliance.

And not once did I have a conversation in which the company on the other side thought it irrelevant to implement a proper set of professional standards.

Though some acknowledged that their primary goal was to, first, gather data to achieve a solid running product, second, obtain financing to scale the business and, then, deal with the very relevant issues that our code covers.

Every event has eye-catchers. At Collision, we took selfies with a ripped Batman in from of his batmobile (1989 edition, probably the coolest one), we saw actual masked superheroes of marketing fighting against bad practices such as blog post length or machine-gun digital communication, and we voted with stickers on several polling walls in an exercise that started as a curiosity but turned into a colour splash of opinion. We heard the inspiring words of celebrities such as Oscar-awarded actress Lupita Nyong’o, NBA all-star Carmelo Anthony, chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov, and many other familiar faces on a variety of diverse topics. And we took note on the practices and lessons presented by some of the most reputed companies.

I believe that the one impression I take with me is the strong sense of connection I felt with the companies. Collision shattered any doubt I harboured, remote as it may have been, that the tech industry was not prepared, or didn’t care about, what ESOMAR had to say.

The relevance of our message was understood by every individual and company we exchanged a conversation with, and many connections were created to be followed over the next weeks and months that will, I am sure, result in fruitful and unexpected collaborations.

Thank you, and see you next year!

Xabier Palacio
ESOMAR Staff, Head of IU & GAPS at ESOMAR