The Value of Research in times of COVID-19
Entrée3 as an active member
Our world is currently facing a watershed moment. Measures that have been put in place to limit the spread of COVID-19 virus have been transformative and have unsettled life as we know it.
The future now seems more uncertain and out of our immediate control than ever before. Many businesses are battling to survive and are looking to cut discretionary spending as part of those survival techniques.
Consumers, citizens, humans throughout the world are having to adapt to a new way of life. In this environment, the risk is high that we develop tunnel vision and act solely based on our fears, rather than on solid evidence. Fear is a contagious virus of itself, and resultant behavior patterns risk including misunderstandings, one -sided sentiments, and mistaken expectations. We must avoid this very human reaction and ensure that we both apply and communicate the right knowledge and competence to chart the way forward, using evidence and data to help us make the right decisions.
The data, research and insights sector is equipped for this moment
The data, research and insights sector has been a part of this digitization and globalization trend; it has been impacted by it, it has been enriched by it and has long advocated our responsibilities to it. Now more than ever, the wealth of data which is produced by our increasingly digitized societies means that we can overcome the practical restrictions and continue to effectively research people for their opinions and their behaviors. Through the responsible use of technology and the application of our analytical skills and capacities, we are still able to provide a real understanding of people’s lives in the current confinement stage of the crisis in many countries, and what will have to be a managed de-confinement stage in the coming weeks and months.
Our sector is well equipped and well prepared to deal with the required, temporary shift to a nearly all-online model and is confident in its ability to produce the required knowledge and guidance that decision-makers should and must rely on with the hopes of resuming research using the widest spectrum of methodologies possible in the future.
Essential research should be encouraged to continue
Now more than ever, we need social, opinion and market research and data analytics to help us understand and chart the impact that this disruption is having on our societies, and equally, to help decisionmakers and society’s leaders to understand how to determine the best way forward.
In this extraordinary time, we underline more than ever that decision-makers should take decisions based on solid, unbiased and fact-based evidence. The data, research, and insights sector can be a critical source of such evidence and guidance; essential research and analyses on the behavior and attitudes of both citizens and consumers should be maintained, encouraged and intensively used by governments, businesses and charities alike, particularly now.
It is a mission that our sector takes seriously, it is our raison d’être. The fundamental basis of the data and insights profession is about listening and understanding people’s views, and interpreting this information to guide brands, organizations or governments when making decisions. From the everyday products we use, the films we watch in the cinema, the food we eat, to governmental policies, humanitarian causes – research must continue to play its key role in guiding and supporting effective and timely policy decisions in the journey from concept to citizens and end-users.
Our sector’s role is about analyzing and interpreting (the right) data to build information and knowledge that can be used to predict future events, actions or behaviors. This is where the real skill of our profession lies. Insights enable people all over the world to understand and interpret the increasingly complex world we live in and insights will enable us to overcome the grave impacts this crisis will wreak upon our societies.