Rating conferences on gender ratios is not easy. Though we may want every conference to be 50/50 male/female, it doesn’t always make sense.
- Not all industries are balanced on gender. For instance, qualitative researchers are much more likely to be female than male, and some regions in the world have very different employment rates for women and men.
- Men and women don’t necessarily submit at the same ratio. For instance, maybe 70% of the submissions were male and thus it makes sense that 70% of the speakers were male.
- Men and women don’t necessarily agree to speak at the same rate. A conference may offer equal numbers of acceptances to men and women but then it’s up to men and women to actually accept those offers. Conferences with 10 speakers can instantly drop from 50% female to 44% female if just one women declines the invitation.
- Normal variation means that sometimes a conference will have more men or more women. That’s just how numbers work and you can’t fault an organization because one time, one of their conferences wasn’t perfectly equal. But when ‘random’ variation across every conference is consistently in the same direction, you’ve got to wonder what’s happening behind the scenes.
Regardless, the best way to be aware of whether there may be gender issues is to actively measure reality. My methods aren’t perfect. I can’t always tell the gender of a speaker from their name and so I manually check names in LinkedIn and other times I leave that speaker out of the equation. I never know the submission rate by gender and so I can’t defend a conference that has few female speakers even if they had zero submissions from women. If you can correct my numbers, then I absolutely welcome your help. And, if you’ve been to a conference that I haven’t attended, do let me know the numbers and I’ll add them here.
A: Ratios between 47% and 50% – Huge round of applause for any conference that lands here!
- AAPOR/WAPOR June (Austin): 1463 speakers, 718 men, 745 women = 49% Male (Yes, you read that correctly. 745 female speakers.)
- Quirk’s Event February (USA): 126 speakers, 64 women, 62 men = 49% Male
- LIMRA June (Florida): 39 speakers, 19 women, 20 men = 49% Female
- TMRE October (Florida): 176 speakers, 85 women, 88 men = 49% female
- NewMR February (Global online): 27 Speakers, 14 women, 13 men = 48% Male
- MRIA June (Canada): 63 speakers, 33 men, 30 women = 48% Female
- AIMRI Under30 February (New York): 9 speakers, 5 men, 4 women = 44% Female. Although this percentage doesn’t strictly belong here, with 9 speakers it can’t get any more equal.
B: Ratios from 42% and 46%
- MRS Health February (London): 26 speakers, 12 men, 14 women = 46% male
- PMRG May (USA): 37 speakers, 17 women, 20 men = 46% female
- IIR New Face: 22 speakers, 12 women, 10 men = 45% male
- Qual360 February (Berlin): 32 speakers, 14 women, 18 men = 44% female
- Media Insights February (Florida): 56 speakers, 24 women, 32 men = 43% female
- IIeX Health April (Philadelphia): 40 speakers, 17 women, 23 men = 43% female
- NEMRA May (Massachusetts): 14 speakers, 6 men, 8 women = 43% male
- ARF Audience Measurement: 58 speakers, 25 women, 33 men = 43% female
- WCQR March : 43 speakers, 18 men, 25 women = 42% male. One of the conference organizers ran the numbers and determined that the ratio of submissions from men and women was the same as for speakers. You can read details about their speaker selection process here.
- MRA ISC May (New Orleans): 43 speakers, 18 women, 25 men = 42% female
C: Ratios from 37% and 41%
- MAGHREB SUMMIT January (Casablanca): 17 speakers, 10 men, 7 women = 41% female
- MRS Travel March (London): 22 speakers, 13 women, 9 men = 41% male
- ESOMAR LATAM April (Bogota): 32 speakers, 13 women, 19 men = 41% female
- ESOMAR APAC May (Tokyo): 51 speakers, 20 women, 31 men = 39% female
- ESOMAR Menap March (Dubai): 24 speakers, 9 women, 15 men = 38% female
D: Ratios from 32% and 36%
- MRS National March (London): 94 speakers, 34 women, 60 men = 36% female
- MENAP Forum March (Dubai): 25 speakers, 9 women, 16 men = 36% female
- ESOMAR congress September (New Orleans): 72 speakers, 26 women, 46 men = 36% female
- CXfusion April (Las Vegas): 53 speakers, 18 women, 35 men = 34% female
- ARF ReThink: 141 speakers, 48 women, 93 men = 34% female
- Febelmar Februrary (Brussels): 21 speakers, 14 men, 7 women = 33% female
- MRA CEO January (Florida): 12 speakers, 4 women, 8 men = 33% female
- Sentiment Analysis Symposium July (New York): 15 speakers, 5 women, 10 men = 33% female
F: Ratios <32%
- MRS Kids January (UK): 29 speakers, 20 women, 9 men = 31% male
- MRSI February (India): 35 speakers, 24 men, 11 women = 31% female
- IIeX Europe March (Amsterdam): 115 speakers, 36 women, 79 men = 31% female
- IIR Analytics: 42 speakers, 13 women, 29 men = 31% female
- MRIA QRC January (Toronto): 15 speakers, 11 women, 4 men = 27% male
- CASRO Digital March (Texas): 46 speakers, 14 women, 32 men = 30% female
- BVM Kongress April (Berlin): 28 speakers, 8 women, 20 men = 29% female
- AMA Analytics February (Arizona): 18 speakers, 5 women, 13 men = 28% female.
- IIeX NA June (Atlanta): 134 speakers, 37 women, 97 men: 28% female
- NMWF April (Dubai): 36 speakers, 9 women, 27 men: 25% female
- Insight Show MW May (London): 123 speakers, 30 women, 93 men: 24% female
- CXweek May: 25 speakers, 6 women, 19 men = 24% female
- MRMW APAC March (Malaysia): 39 speakers, 8 women, 31 men = 21% female
- Test Analytics Event April (Chicago): 19 speakers, 3 women, 16 men = 16% female
- SampleCon January (USA): 40 speakers, 6 women, 34 men = 15% female
- Predictive Analytics World April: 28 speakers, 4 women, 24 men = 14% female
Upcoming ratings: MRIA national June, CASRO Tech June, ESOMAR congress September, AMSRS congress September, CASRO CRC October
What can YOU do?
- Submit! You can’t complain if you don’t join the cause. Take the plunge and submit your first proposal ever this year! Make it easier for conference organizers to find you by taking the first step yourself.
- Encourage! Look to your left and look to your right. Have your neighbors submitted to a conference yet? Well, maybe right now is the perfect time to encourage them to just do it!
- Demand diversity! When you notice that conference speakers reflect a very narrow group of people, point it out and ask for more. Organizers want to give you want you want. But first, you need to tell them what you want. And, still, sometimes organizers don’t realize what is happening.
- Recommend! Remember that awesome speaker you saw at the last company meeting? At the last chapter event? Email your favourite organization and let them know you found a speaker for them. Organizers can’t ask them to speak if they don’t know who to ask.
What can conferences do?
- Look at submissions from a new point of view. Realize that people from different walks of life write differently and that some proposal styles may have greater appeal to you. Notice how much the writing style is affecting your choice of content and remove your style preferences from the equation. Recognize that some equally high quality proposals brag and exaggerate, while others are factual and modest.
- Ask sponsors to promote diversity. As conference organizers, only you know when the collection of speakers has veered away from a diverse group. Take a proactive approach and let sponsors know you care about representing the entire community. Ask sponsors to send great speakers who don’t fit into traditional boxes – really old, really young, differently abled, non-white, women.
- Ask for recommendations. Not just of the most popular speakers who know other popular speakers. Ask your fringe speakers about other awesome fringe speakers.
- Go to Twitter. There are tons of lists of women speakers and experts. My Lovestats account has several lists you can use. WIRe has a list a women speakers. Just ask.
- Share your numbers. When it turns out that one of your conferences seems skewed, let people know that the submissions were also skewed. It’s not necessarily a bad thing if 30% of your speakers were female if only 30% of your submissions came from women.
- Be the change we want to see. Even if your speaker ratio matches the submission ratio, if it’s not mostly equal, do something about it! Don’t wait for submissions. Hunt for awesome speakers who didn’t submit.
Demand that your conferences be Diversity Approved! (Tweet this post!)
- Because it’s 2015: I challenge you to make your #MRX conference Diversity Approved
- The gender split in #MRX conferences: we’re not there yet – 2015
- The Presenter Gender Split #IIeXap14
- The Gender Bias Rears its Face #ESOMAR
- The Conference Presenter Gender Gap #WAPOR
- Gender bias among #AAPOR presenters
In which I rant about “we only choose the best conference proposals and we can’t help it if they’re mostly from men” #NewMR #MRX
I’ve had this post on my mind for many months now but I’ve been hesitant to write it. It seems today is the day.
If you’ve been following my speaker gender ratio post, you’ll see that I keep adding to the list conferences where fewer than 40% of speakers are women. Today, I added several to that bucket. On top of that, Ray Poynter just pointed out that the nine new and genuinely deserving fellows of the MRS are all, you guessed it, men. Have women not made any important contributions? I highly doubt it. So today is the day.
There are many different reasons for conferences to over index on male speakers but I’d like to address one reason in particular. Conference organizers regularly say they choose the abstracts that will be the most interesting and intriguing for their audience. If that means that most of the speakers are men, then so be it. Quality wins. As it rightly should.
Men do not propose better topics than women. Men do not have better ideas than women. Men do not propose more innovative nor more important ideas than women. This is truth.
How do I know? I’m lucky that I get to go to a lot of conferences. I’ve been in the audience for literally hundreds of talks. I’ve seen lots of men give horrible talks. But, as expected, the vast majority of talks given by men are fine. Not horrible, not great, just fine. Most male speakers are awkward or forget what they were going to say or don’t speak loud enough or rush or go over or under time. Most men are basically acceptable speakers. Such is the law of averages.
To be clear, most women are also basically acceptable speakers. I, for one, know I’m an awkward speaker who regularly forgets what I want to say. If the goal of conference organizers is to choose great speakers, well, I’m not seeing it. They could have randomly selected speakers by putting submissions in a hat and the quality of speakers wouldn’t decrease very much. It could even increase because the gems who keep submitting awkward proposals might actually get chosen.
And when it comes to the topics of the talks, most talks that men give are fairly ordinary. People like to think that THEIR talk is unique and innovative and offers a previously undiscovered point of view in their field but that’s usually not the case. The vast majority of talks given by men cover material that has already been addressed in twenty other talks at twenty other conferences and in twenty other white papers and fifty other blog posts. New material is exceedingly rare. Our industry simply doesn’t move very fast.
To be clear, most women also cover material that has been addressed in twenty other talks at twenty other conferences. Again, the topics I present are rarely truly new and innovative. If the goal was to choose innovative topics, I’m not seeing that either. Once again, we could randomly choose talks with a magician’s top hat and the degree of innovation would… Well, actually, the talks might be more innovative simply because people who stink at bragging would finally have their papers chosen.
Even better, random choosing based on top hats would increase the demographic diversity of speakers, and ensure speakers better reflect the diversity of submissions.
My point is that men and women are similarly generally ok speakers. Men and women give similarly ordinary talks. If submission acceptances for men outweigh acceptances for women, something is terribly wrong with how organizers identity “greatness.”
Maybe it’s time to completely rethink how conference proposals are reviewed. Maybe it’s time to use only blind submissions where names and companies are removed. Maybe it’s time to find a way to remove writing style gender cues that unconsciously affect our perceptions. Maybe it’s time to consciously review proposals with the mindset that some people brag and exaggerate the importance of their work whereas other people stick to the facts and discuss their findings within the confines of appropriate generalizations. Maybe it’s time to give the magician’s hat a chance – remove the obviously horrid submissions and then put every submission in the hat.
It could only improve things. Rant done.
(By reading this far, you hearby commit to submitting to at least one conference this year. Thank you for being part of the solution. )
I confess I am a rock hound. I can’t walk by rivers or oceans without picking up pretty stones. When I found myself walking along the river Thames, I was forced to use the wet, mossy steps that lead down to the water. Since the Thames has seven meter tides, it’s a long way down. Anyhoo, it’s a treasure trove of very cool finds and mudlarkers are plenty. Here are some results of about seven hours of my own mudlarking activities. These are the more interesting or unique finds.
First, I found a lot of cigarette butts. Hundreds of years ago, people used to buy tobacco filled pipes and literally throw them away after a few uses. That led to thousands of pipes being dumped into the river, many to be washed back ashore in bits and pieces. It is possible to date by looking at:
- The size of the bowl – smaller bowls date from when tobacco was more expensive, these are the oldest pipes
- The shape of the bowl – bulbous are older
- The shape of the heel (the nubbie that the pipe rests on)
- The size of the stem hole – larger holes are older
These pipes date from around the 1700s, so three hundred years old. These are the best condition and have complete unchipped bowls.
Here is another interesting find. You can see a printing of leaves along the bowl. I didn’t notice that unless I’d washed the mud off.
These broken pieces aren’t special except that you can see the makers marks on them. One of them has only dots for marks.
Depending on where you are, the foreshore is littered with pipe stems. The fifteen centimetre stem is the longest I’ve seen although a brand new pipe might have a stem as long as fifty centimetres. I found some very thin and curved stems which would be near the mouth end.
This is a delightful accidental find! I thought I was simple picking up another piece of pipe and put it in my bag without inspecting it. Turns out, it’s half of a hair curler. Heat it up, wrap your hair round it, and voila!
This is a makers stamp on the end of the hair curler.
These are simply pretty bits of pottery. I’ve no idea what how old any of them are.
Live blogged at MRS in London. Any errors or bad jokes are my own.
- Where did sense of curiousity happen, some is innate
- He grew up in Iowa and moved to England when he was 20, started work at a psychiatric ward, met his wife there who was a student nurse, he married into the country
- He dropped out of university to stay in England, returned to states for two years to complete university,worked in newspapers, went back to England to work at newspapers there
- British journalism is so different from US journalism, stealing a car and taking a car is very different legally, got in trouble on his second day for that mistake, legalities of what you can say is very different
- Often surprised or delighted even thought he’s lived here for 40 years
- How did he transition into writing books, he always worked on production side of newspapers, started freelancing on travel articles for Sunday newspapers, realized he liked it, liked writing with a comical twist, he seemed to be able to do it
- Nurtured dream of quitting job and moving to country to make a living as a writer, he was too cowardly to do it, his wife was brave enough to to do it, she just put their house on the market and they moved, best thing that ever happened
- He loves being self-employed
- He’s never written anything that he didn’t expect to be paid for [as I sit here writing notes and letting people read them for free ]
- He just wrote a book about traveling around England, having experiences, and relating them amusingly
- He also tries to understand science and the universe, half of his books are these kind now [i think I ought to check out his books!]
- He talks to academics, researchers, experts, he enjoys meeting people who really know something, e.g, snails or lichens [like how Oliver sacks did a whole book on ferns ]
- Goes to libraries and reads a lot, his favourite thing in the whole world
- You have to cut out everything that isn’t necessary to do the job, he gathers infinite amount of information and then focus on just the interesting and necessary parts to make the book cohesive
- You’ll never remember the number, but you will remember it’s the number of popcorn kernels needed to cover the US in 9 miles of kernels, chemistry students amuse themselves with these kinds of calculations
- Naturally interested in science but it needs to be accessible, don’t want to go through formulas and equations to access it, want words
- Science is amazing, the numbers are so vast
- Be on the hunt for analogies to bring raw data to life, that’s the moment of enlightenment
- Always looking for a fact that is interesting to him, works hard to come up with these images to make passages fresh and vivid, it’s rewarding
- Every book has a voice, need to find it each time, struggles for days and weeks to get the beginning to each book – the first sentence, paragraph, page, then it’s okay, wants conversational relaxed voice, tries to be engaging, but once he gets it the rest falls into place
- Publishers don’t do market research, would be interesting to see how his book test marketed, that the language was fruitier and he let himself go more
- Being a foreigner is an advantage when you’re a writer, wife has one take on things and he was two takes as an American and a Brit, even with weather in Britain which seems to him to be the same all year round even though where he was raised you could die due to the weather, his wife sees every day as different
- He’s not an expert, he’s a reporter repeating what hes’ been told, his books are about his incompetence with the world
- He admits he does exaggerate things for comical effect
- [Bill just dissed Canada as no one would want to read a book about us. I”m so deeply offended, crying, need a tissue.]
Sex by Numbers: what statistics can tell us about sexual behavior by David Spiegelhalter #MRSlive @TweetMRS #MRX
Live blogged at MRS in London. Any errors or bad jokes are my own.
- What is sex? Only half of people think oral sex is sex which is why Clinton was not guilty of perjury
- In 2012, 48% of babies were “illegitimate,” in 1973, one in twenty 16 year old got pregnant
- For every 20 girls born, 21 boys are born
- In 1938, at least half of brides under 20 were pregnant when they got married
- The seven year itch is kind of true, that’s the peak of marriages lasting, after that familiarity keeps them going
- Below is an awesome chart for a statistics book about sex
- Report is that frequency of sex has fallen by 20% since 2000
- Speaker asks that people don’t raise their hands regarding statistics
- Sex is less frequent as people age
- In a closed population, equal men and women, average number of partners should match, medians might differ but means must be the same, men report twice as many sexual partners as women report. Why? Maybe age mixing, maybe different definitions, maybe exaggerations and hesitancy
- Men report more partners, and they report more even numbers and multiples of five, people round off the number (see second chart)
- There is a social acceptability bias
- Used the bogus pipeline to examine sex differences – a fake lie detector, fear of exposure applies more to women, pipeline caused women to give higher numbers
- Women more likely to report same sex experiences and much more in recent years, men much less so
- You have to separate behavior from attraction when discussing being gay
- Panels can be used a rough ballpark but details are unreliable, 20% difference?
- Alfred Kinsey collected 15000 sex history’s in the 40s and 50s
- “When did you last have sex outside of your marriage” survey required active denial [what an awesome technique when applied appropriately!]
- 17% o men brought up on farms had outlets with animals –> active denial led to more confessions [who know what is really true!]
- Sphere Hite 1970s, 100 000 questionnaires went out but only 4000 completed so the results are dubious
- [this dude is awesome! He’s critiquing the quality of research findings from old sex statistics. ]
- Finally had decent data in the 1800s with civil registrations
- How many boys are born per girls – it’s actually about 105 boys per 100 girls, more boys are born in wars? More boys if higher coital rates, early conceptions, conception not at time of peak-fecundity
Live blogged at MRS in London. Any errors or bad jokes are my own.
Moving more with cancer by Emily Fu and Justin Webb
- 77% of people with cancer are not active to recommended levels which reduces consequences of treatment, reduces comorbigiteis, reduces disease progression, decreases mortality
- Imagine you have cancer and what would keep you from being more active, physical abilities are not as influential as you think, people have a huge knock to their confidence, feel depressed and vulnerable and frightened
- Social support and social pressures are influential on behaviour, family is all about sit down and rest be safe, they fear injury or psychological damage
- There is social stigma around cancer, around scars, and being self conscious, cancer is invisible for many people
- For some types of cancer, finding a bathroom is a huge problem for getting enough activity, physical symptoms of cancer and surgery are problematic
- People who were active planned it around treatment cycles, built things up slowly, didn’t get disheartened if they couldn’t do as much as they wanted
- Need to reeducate via media – don’t take it easy if you’ve got cancer, get moving! Let people know exercise is safe. Created a ‘Get Active Feel Good’ pack for people and families
Creating a buzz around gender equality by Philly Desai and Nasir Nansir
- Gender discrimination in Nigeria – violence, leadership, decision making
- Five year program working directly with young people, empower through self-esteem, increase positive attitudes, change the rules by securing laws and budgets that respond to women’s needs
- Must influence wider society through marketing communications types of activities
- Quant study to explore attitudes and social norms, what do I believe, what do others believe, what attitudes and behaviora do not match up
- Violence against women is widely condemned but common in practice
- Younger people support women’s having more leadership but they expect resistance from society
- Needed to create a brand identify which appealed to young people but does not alienate men
- [by the way, these notes are being written as my friend and diversity advocate @RayPoynter sits on an #AllMalePanel in the next room. He must be horrified.😦 ]
- Created a radio drama, created posters and billboards promoting diversity and 50/50
- Www.iampurple.ng – website targeting young people on mobile [bet this site is truly mobile friendly!]
- Site has 1 million visitors and 30 000 registered, have celebrities and popular people driving engagement
- Men must be seen as partners, need to message to appeal to men, ‘our strength is not for hurting’
- Craft messages that appeal to subconscious of target audience
Learning for tomorrow by Jackie Hughes and Catriona Ferris
- It’s hard for big brands to “do good”
- #Lifebouy campaign is about washing your hands more often to stay healthy which means buying more soap
- It has to be at the heart of the brand purpose, functionality is no longer enough, brands with a purpose are growing faster, need to create a purpose
- We learn by doing and experiencing, context, role playing
- Let’s create a classroom, students, and bring experts to spark inspiration, bring insight in, get creative work going
- Did one in London and one in Mumbai, brought in typical experts from India and Vietnam
- What is the meaning of education? More blackboards? More books? More kids?
- There was playtime, colouring, books just like a real classroom
- Spoke to moms and kids, spoke about real concerns about attending schools, fear of violence and rape, conflicts with kids working schedule, teenage pregnancy, as well as their hopes and dreams
- Sending kids to school is like setting them free
- They wanted to activate the first day of school
- Led to unicef campaign about the first day of school, first day of school means they are so grown up, one of the most important days of their lives, it’s on their way to their profession in life, it’s giving them a beautiful future, these are the first steps
- Persia is helping 10 million children get a quality education. #FirstDayOfSchool
Live blogged at MRS in London. Any errors or odd comments are my own.
- We are suffering from a compassion deficit
- Europe has failed on the referendum, problem with asylum in first country of because that puts the load on only a couple countries, people in camps and traveling want to go to Germany or Sweden because Angela find a warmer welcome than England, and Swedish system for asylum is much better and quicker, England has it wrong and feels hostile to people coming
- Taking 3000 children is not very many, England has facilities to look after them
- We have compassion fatigue
- Even if we can’t take adults we really should take the children
- Migration has become a key part of Europe debate even though it has nothing to do with it
- Politicians job is not only to listen to population but sometimes to lead and try to change opinion [YES, the population doesn’t always know what is right]
- Britain took 80 000 people during the war, during severe depression so we can certainly do it again, there is a moral responsibility
- Hopes Britain says in Europe, being out would be worse, makes no sense to pay and not have a voice at the table, have had peace in Europe since 1945
- Anyone who goes to a hospital will see employees from all over the world and that is true in the tiniest of towns, people detach themselves from reality of regular experience, chicken tiki masala is the national dish but it wasn’t born here, it’s how people want to perceive themselves
- You see yourself like this but you’re actually like this
- Politicians should turn mirror back on people to see who is caring for them, it’s a world wide population all around you all the time
- Many organizations are trying to help refugees,people have given up their jobs to work in refugee camps, people don’t like the cruelty or hostility or compassion fatigue
- Asylum seekers get five pounds a day for living (not accommodation/utilities) and they need volunteer help, lots of people want to sponsor individuals or families, even today like during the war a lot of people want to help
- Big vs small government, govts decide on war and social welfare but you can’t have a bunch of people deciding on it, you need a govt deciding, we elect govt and yes they can tell us what to do, on the side of big govt although they do stick their hands a little bit too far
- Scandinavian countries are showing some severe hostility as well
- How do we get around the fear? Introduce people, meet the ‘other’, buddying kids in schools works well [my school did this during the ‘boat people’ phase and all the kids were so eager and proud to be a buddy]
- We’re all guilty to selectively using data that suits the argument you want to take, data may change your argument if you look at ALL the data, politicians need to look at MR data and the other data
- End of life Liverpool care pathway – designed by a professor, palliative care consultant, horrified by how people were dying in regular hospitals, it was a matter of luck for whether you got decent care dignity and privacy to die well, it is guidance for nurses and doctors to care for people, stories starting appear in newspapers that the pathway was for death and just killing people who were going to die anyways, govt didn’t see this problem until too late and no one trusted their internal review, never thought they would have to withdraw the pathway, “I LCP’d him”, people weren’t reading the guidance, they were just doing the checklist not following up on the checklist, the brand had become toxic and they had to withdraw it [makes me sad they lost what should have been a good thing😦 ]
- If you want high quality care of dying people, you need access to speciality palliative care advice 24/7 and this is mostly not available, all doctors have not received palliative care training because no one checks if they have attended those classes, a GP has received the training now, anyone who trains in this country must now be trained and tested on palliative care, hospice was developed here and passiative care is still not fully available here
- The care programs are based on market research, asked people what makes for a good death, some small samples of people talking about their own death, people need adequate pain relief and there is no excuse for anyone to die in pain, people also want privacy and dignity but all of our preferences are different, many people are terrified of being by themselves whereas others want to be completely alone, there is inadequate research in end of life care because it’s just not a fashionable movement, research of death is still very cancer based but that’s not how we’re dying anymore
- It’s a disgrace what’s happened with math and science teaching in Britain, go into schools and talk to the kids about how important math and science is, kids needs to know math matters, outsiders need to go into schools, people from outside used to go to institutions of all sorts but now we’re so careful about protecting kids that no one can access and mentor them anymore, MRS needs to get into school, “learn statistics for fun and profit”. [LOVE this, each one of us needs to visit schools and share our love for data and science]
- How do we get ethics to the top of discussion, not legal compliance. Get in during the drafting of legislation. Make your rules clear to data protection people. Stand up and shout. Be loud and clear.
Live blogged at MRS in London. Any errors, bad jokes, or comments in  are my own.
The power of small data in understanding the unknowable by Cordelia Hay
- Used mobile Qual to understand voters, they were frustrated and disillusioned with politics
- Ethnographic approach helped understand what really was happening
- When so many important political events happen, things like a boy band can make people completely ignore the news
- People were more concerned with national issues over local issues
- People mattered much more than policy even though they say only policy matters
- People really only cared about the economy
- The winning party had people rallying around one single issue not many different issues
- Small data provides diagnosis, deep insight into specific audiences, Behavioral insight, vivid, co-creative and ethnographic
Notes from a pollster: how to move forward rom GE2015 by Tom Mludzinski
- Narrative was driven by polling, race was neck and neck of top two parties
- Campaign rolling average had them identical
- Tried looking at difference between online polls and telephone polls
- 70% of telephone polls had a conservative lead but 56% of online polls had a labour lead
- We will have a new set of problems five years from now so need a broader more durable solution
- Using different methods of assigning unknown votes led to different results – squeeze questions, asking who they’d like to see as prime minister, who they related to
- Start by trying to get a national rep sample of voting population, but we don’t know who will actually vote, and people can’t predict their own behaviours in terms of whether they will vote
- They considered that past voting was a better predictors of future voting
- But this time, 12% more than predicted said they do and did vote
- Older people are much more likely to vote, bottom ten turnout constituencies were labour constituencies
- Correlation extremely strong for social grade, higher affluence is higher turnout
- Maybe turnout was the biggest problem
- Online is more likely to want to remain in EU, maybe it’s also age and Internet access
Heuristics, hatred, and hair: forecasting elections the system 1 way by Tom Ewing and Orlando Wood
- Fame, feeling, and fluency
- Fame – if it comes readily to mind it must be a good choice
- FLuecy – if I recognize a brand it must be a good choice
- Feeling – If I have a feeling about a brand it must be a good choice?
- Asked people to list out as many political candidates they can think of, ask how they feel about those candidates, and then ask if the candidates has distinctive assets whether personality policy or physical characteristics
- Trump is dominant and out in front of Hillary by a hair
- People named Clinton and trump easily, but Donald trumps hair was more recognizable than other candidates
- This election will be the lesser of two evils
- Hillary has much more “happiness” than trump but both trump and Hillary are hated by the electorate
- Trump has an advantage in fluency, most distinctive appearance, he owns the conversation
- People know all of his slogans
- Only #FeelTheBern is ahead of trump
- Republicans really hate Clinton but democrats love her. Replicants really like trumpt but they are far more frightened up him
- Hillary is more associated with the trappings of office and does better than Joe Biden
- When feeling is taken into account, they think Hillary will win
Live blogged at MRS in London. Any errors or bad jokes are my own.
- Why do stories work? Lets us understand what it is like to be someone else.
- Stories are what make us human
- Why do people tell stories? We want to communicate with other people. We don’t want to live in perfect isolation.
- Poweropints and numbers are fine but we don’t get an emotional response from that
- Stories reduce chaos to order, seek order shape and balance, sense of ending and world is okay
- Stories don’t have to be nice but you form an emotional bond and you have to care
- Jaws – sharks goes into public beach an eats person. Now that’s boring but a story turns it into a problem to be solved.
- Every story is fundamentally the same – go on quest, overcome problem, meet romantic partner, all is well.
- Why do we want to see more stories if they are basically all the same? Well, we don’t know that, plus it’s the power of curiousity of what happens next
- It’s all driven by curiousity, also happens in advertising, in politics.
- We cannot cope with chaos and randomness, we have to wrap it in a narrative
- Stories are how we learn
- Tragedy – I expected good but got bad
- Heroic story – I expected bad but got good
- First half of story is you get the information, second half is you respond to the information, halfway through is when everything changes
- Best writers didn’t study structure and yet they all use perfect structure
- Ronald Reagan was good at making a large group of people empathize with him and delineating an enemy
- Politics is the power of story, people get elected based on their story, it can be a very simple story
- People don’t respond to logic, they respond to story
- AirBNB, two guys with nothing and nobody believed in them but they went after their dream – it’s the Cinderella story
- Narrative advertising is amazing when you don’t even have to name the brand
- Google commercial of man missing an old friend who is then found by daughter who searches Google, implication is they have reunited a continent
- Most powerful stories are when the audience infers the story, more emotional involvement, show not tell
- Never give the answer until you obsolutely have to
- Politicians need a goal and lots of people who will sympathize with the goal. Bernie has a great story, Hillary doesn’t seem to have a story
- [John is a fun speaker! Lots of good tweets, head over to the #MRSlive twitter stream]
Live blogged at the MRS conference in London. ANy errors or bad jokes are my own.
Chair: Elina Halonen. Panel: Colin Strong, Nick Baker, Cat Wiles, Nick Bonney
- Half of people in the room think their jobs won’t be replaced by computers [for me, yes, large parts of my job but definitely not all of it]
- Most professions think technology will disrupt someone else’s profession
- Most #MRX is quite custom, fairly hierachical structure, managed by individuals, this models exists everywhere
- More people will be figuring out how can we streamline our work, how we can streamline our systems, and our research
- Are the innovations so far sustaining innovations or are they genuinely innovate? Balance is more towards sustaining innovations, not disrupting innovations
- Rise of cognitive computing, Google computers win human games [but do they chit chat over coffee? Chuckle with you? Empathize? ]
- Rise of anticipatory computing [do computers kiss booboos on the knees of toddlers?]
- Rise of personality computing, musical tastes, sexual preferences, data trails reveal all. Do we really need to ask questions? [do computer know when an effect size of 0.69 is more meaningful than an effect size of 0.73?]
- Software can now analyze the data and tell the story [can it start with an interesting anecdote about my dad that pulls everyone in and puts them on my side?]
- What used to be a huge multi country study is now simply a Google search
- Qual is at risk also, needs and attitudes based on pictures etc scraped online
- The rise of machines will happen [because people like me demand it]
- There will always need to be a human touch whether through curation or creating
- Creativity is scrappy and raw and joins things that aren’t obvious
- Computers are always programmed and told by people, they lack the cultural framework that people learned
- What is the trade off? Researcher goes through data and pulls out their favorite bits [based on p-values or effect sizes? Yes computers do that, but humans see WHY]
- Maybe junior researchers should be worried about automating taking their jobs
- Will automating give us more time to think except what happens is that everything is just more sped up
- Is our thinking now programmed into how to make a PowerPoint slide out of the info? [this is what I saw all around London this weekend. Everyone has a fancy camera now and it’s turned into “here is a thing that could have a picture taken of it” rather than “oh my god this is amazing, I want to remember it]
- Life would be boring and predictable if it was all automated? Like a Disney movie? [yet more foreshadowing for my presentation!]
- We tend to define ourselves by the research method and tools we use, but those tools are becoming rapidly out of date even though we’re improving them, they are sustaining innovations
- Now you need a black belt in analytics
- Need more diverse teams, journalists, facilitators, designers, analytics all in the research department
- Cadbury’s gorilla would never come out of a computer [nor the old spice dude or the geico commercials!]
- [Brands are all about empathy, can a computer be sufficiently empathetic S when it truly matters?]