Interviewing the World’s Insight Leaders

Insights from the Insight250: Q&A with Crispin Beale - Mark Harrington
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Inspiration
Date 2 November
Author Mark Harrington

Crispin Beale is used to interviewing leaders and innovators across the market research and insights industry from around the world. Since the inaugural Insight250 award winners were announced in April of this year, he has been conducting weekly interviews with a spectrum of honorees who make up a who’s who of the best and brightest in market research. 

However, Crispin is one of these leaders in his own right. Aside from being an Insight250 honoree himself, he also serves as an ESOMAR Representative for the United Kingdom and for 15 years has been a Board Director of the Market Research Society. He also spent a decade as Group Chief Executive Officer of Chime Insight & Engagement Group, and he currently serves as a Strategic Advisor to both mTab and Behaviorally and in addition was last month named the Chief Executive of the Insight250. 

So, I sat down to turn the tables on Crispin and have him answer questions for a change rather than ask them of others. 

Crispin, in the Insight250 launch week alone, the Insight250 got over 20 million impressions; this is a staggering and frankly tremendous response. Why do you feel it is so important to the market research and insights industry? 

Yes, it’s amazing. In a world where speculation and fake news is increasing exponentially, the role of data, evidence, and dare I even say “truth” has never been more important. Our profession plays an important role as guardians and champions of evidence and we have an invaluable role to play in fostering trust in information and ensuring its democratisation. Despite this essential role, our industry and key players within it are all too often almost invisible. I am a huge fan of any initiative that helps to elevate those innovating and leading our profession and the Insight250 does just that; it feels as if it has struck a chord and filled a gap. Personally I feel our profession has long needed a globally recognised awards scheme to highlight and celebrate the amazing work being conducted around the world. I’ve been lucky enough to interview a couple of dozen of these winners already, many of whom I’d never heard of, and I’ve found their stories and views enlightening. Learning from these experts and hearing their views is truly inspiring.

Crispin Beale 

I agree; I’ve read all the interviews in the ‘Insights from the Insights250’ series (in Research World). For those unfamiliar, these tackle major topics from an array of incredible leaders, and you can find them via insight250.com. Crispin, what is the mission of the series? 

To educate, enlighten and hopefully entertain. The series set out to share the success of the Insight250 winners to inspire others to innovate and lead in their own organisations. Having top tips in each article was important to give tangible advice that was actionable. The series tries to stay topical, relevant and to be diverse and inclusive.

Crispin Beale 

The series tackles a wide spectrum of topics from mental health and leadership to consumer consumption trends and agency innovations; how do you choose the topics and who to interview? 

I ask the audience who they want me to talk to and also their suggestions for topics. I also try to respond to industry news and events and balance views from agencies, clients, associations and academics. I also try to ensure that I interview people from all around the globe, literally from Argentina to Africa to Australia. I’ve also had great interviews from Russia, China, France, Germany and have, amongst others, Singapore, The Netherlands, Japan and Spain in the pipeline. I’m also mindful of the relative market sizes as defined by ESOMAR’s Global Market Research (GMR) Industry Report, so try to ensure we get lots of views from the big markets, in particular the two largest, the US and the UK. I also try to throw in a “Hot Topic” in each interview - this often proves fascinating.

Crispin Beale

Do you have a favourite topic or tidbit that you have written about in the series? 

I’m passionate about sustainability and I was inspired by environmental engineer Katie Patrick, someone I’d never before encountered. Whilst a totally different discipline, I found Katie’s insights on the importance of not just what you communicate but where and how you communicate highly relevant to our profession and extremely thought provoking.

(https://www.researchworld.com/insights-from-the-insight250-winners-bringing-data-to-life/). Two other favourites for me were the importance of bravery (https://www.researchworld.com/insights-from-the-insight250-winners-the-importance-of-bravery-in-leadership/) and the double feature on artificial intelligence (https://www.researchworld.com/insights-from-the-insight250-winners-the-role-of-artificial-intelligence-in-insight-innovation-part-1/). These also really resonated with me. Another particular favourite of mine, and readers, with thousands of views, was ESOMAR President, Kristin Luck’s article on Business Sense: (https://esomar.org/newsroom/insight-from-the-insight250-the-importance-of-business-sense-in-research0

The interview I’ve just conducted with Sir Martin Sorrell and Scott Spirit on “Disruption” is packed with fascinating insights (watch this space for imminent publication).

Crispin Beale 

What are general plans for the Insight250 awards in 2022? 

ESOMAR’s formal adoption of these awards and the involvement of their huge network guarantees that the Insight250 will become the recognised global standard to champion many more of the global heroes of our profession. Celebrating the outstanding achievements, hard work, passion and commitment of those in our space is important as we seek to inspire the next generation and ensure decisions are evidence based. I hope that 2022 sees us celebrate the next cohort of winners at a black tie dinner, tangibly reward the winners and really elevate these inspiring individuals who selflessly champion our sector. I am also keen to try to strengthen the partnerships with other associations globally to ensure that every continent, every discipline, and every sector is represented and that these awards are representative of our profession and as diverse and inclusive as possible. It has long been a passion of mine that our industry, like is so often the case in life, is far stronger when we all work together and support one another. As a long-term member of both MRS and ESOMAR and more recently from being involved with IA (US), CRIC (Canada) and TRS (Australia) I have seen first hand the benefits of collaboration and the amplification effect of partnering or simply working together. I am delighted that ESOMAR is in touch with all the associations and seeking their involvement in these awards.

Crispin Beale 

You end each edition of the series asking the interviewees for their ‘top tip’ for readers. What is your top tip when it comes to innovation and leadership? 

Believe and action the insights you discover and do so with passion and conviction for no innovation and no leadership ever began with a report left gathering dust or sitting in an Inbox. Believe in yourself, our profession and the power of evidence.

Crispin Beale 

Thanks Crispin

My pleasure Mark and just a reminder, nominations are now open for the Insight250 2022 awards. Go to insight250.com and hit the “Nominate” button at the top and you can complete the nomination form in Chinese, Japanese, Russian, Polish, French, German, Spanish, and Portuguese as well as English. We really are trying to make sure the awards are as accessible and as diverse and inclusive as possible. Thank you to everyone for getting involved and helping champion the amazing talent and commitment in our profession.

Crispin Beale 

Crispin Beale
ESOMAR Representative, Senior Strategic Advisor at mTab, CEO at Insight250, Group President at Behaviorally
Mark Harrington
Strategic Marketing & Growth Advisor at mTab