Thursday, January 30, 2014

FOCI Speaker Spotlight: John Havens

We recently sat down with Future of Consumer Intelligence 2014 keynote speaker John Havens, who is also founder of The H(app)athon Project, Author of "HACKING H(APP)INESS- Why Your Personal Data Counts and How Tracking it Can Change the World." Havens discussed with us the importance of the humanization of data, the impact of technology on market research,  the new buzzword “data science,” among much more.

Havens has recognized and experienced, first hand, the evolutionary changes happening in the market industry as of late. We are fortunate to have him share this critical insight with our FOCI community. This year, FOCI explores the emerging role of decision science and the convergence of knowledge points - insights, foresights, social science, marketing science and intelligence with technology as a central driving force and profound connector.

We are barraged by information - and within this sea of data we must remember to think of the problem we are trying to solve and how we can we use this convergence of information to better understand people.  Translating the new "understanding" into future opportunities means that the role of a researcher is changing. FOCI accelerates disruptive innovators in the research space and pushes people to take risks, to think outside of traditional research methods and insights gathering and explore new and alternative tools and technologies. FOCI will bridge the gap between what people say they are going to do and what they actually do.

Here is what Havens had to say:

IIR: A big theme of this year’s conference is “humanization of data.” Why do you think understanding PEOPLE (not consumers) presents an opportunity for strategic action?

Havens: Defining someone as a "consumer" already defines them by a behavior (consuming) versus measuring them in the larger context of wellbeing or other metrics.  People do a lot in their lives outside of purchasing/consuming so taking these things into account (health, happiness, career) provides a lot of opportunity for strategic action.

IIR: How is technology not only changing how we do things, but also how we understand the world, business, and people?

Havens: Technology can be a lens to see people in a new light.  Literally, this can happen with something like Google Glass or similar augmented reality technologies.  While there are huge opportunities for positive change with these technologies and how they'll help improve our lives, it's also critically important at this juncture in time to analyze the ethical implications of these types of tools today.  The lenses or filters we choose to view the world through can narrow our vision as much as expand it.  

IIR: How has consumer intelligence strategy and action planning helped drive your business?

Havens: In my current work, I'm focused on measuring individual and collective wellbeing.  We're not focusing specifically on consumers.  However, gaining analytical insights based on subjective wellbeing (how people rate their wellbeing/happiness) and other similar data drives the foundation of what we do.

IIR: How has the role of “the researcher” changed?

Havens: In regards to analytics, research can now be done with large data sets of existing information versus creating customized surveys and individual research.  So in many ways, in those types of situations, "researchers" are becoming "analysts."

IIR: Describe a situation where you’ve taken a risk or thought outside the box of tradition market research methods. How did that benefit your business?

Havens: We're still young in our work/research, but our use of passive sensors in mobile phones is what we hope will distinguish our work in the wellbeing arena. This type of work has not been done that much yet to the best of our knowledge.

IIR: Where do you see the emerging space of marketing science and role of data scientists in the next five years?

Havens: I think IT and marketing departments will essentially become as one pretty soon.  And they should.  There's currently a huge disconnect between CMO's and CIO's and how those two departments can effectively communicate and work together.

IIR: How has the increasingly connected consumer affected market research?

Havens: How have they not?  There's more data than ever before contributed not just directly by consumers.

Want to hear more from John in person? Join him at Future of Consumer Intelligence 2014 in Los Angeles, CA in May. To learn more about the event and register, click here:

John Havens 

About the Author: Amanda Ciccatelli, Social Media Strategist of the Marketing Division at IIR USA, has a background in digital and print journalism, covering a variety of topics in business strategy, marketing, and technology. Amanda is the Editor at Large for several of IIR’s blogs including Next Big DesignCustomers 1st, and ProjectWorld and World Congress for Business Analysts, and a regular contributor to Front End of Innovation and The Market Research Event,. She previously worked at Technology Marketing Corporation as a Web Editor where she covered breaking news and feature stories in the technology industry. She can be reached at Follow her at @AmandaCicc.
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