This article was written by Judith Staig, founder of ContentWrite. It is sponsored by: 

The recent MRS conference, Impact 2021, was the most diverse and inclusive ever, both in terms of the amount of content around diversity, inclusion and equality (DI&E), and the profile of the speakers who took part.

I’m proud to say that Impact 2021 has the most ethnically diverse line-up we’ve ever had and also makes headway towards the neuro- and socio-economic diverse programming I am committed to us sharing with our audiences.

Jane Frost CBE,

CEO, MRS

It was clear from the conference that DI&E is at the top of the agenda – both corporate and individual. The Me Too and Black Lives Matter movements have changed the conversation and the pandemic has been a source of disruption in numerous ways. We have a huge opportunity, as restrictions lift, to build on these changes. Remote working is here to stay and can help to level the playing field for access to our industry to include people who can’t afford to move to London, or who have accessibility issues, or who need more flexibility to fit work around their lives.  We can use more digital methods to reach out to the seldom-heard voices that will make our research richer and more representative.

It’s hard to do justice to all of the great DI&E content at the conference. If you want to know more:

But as a summary, here are ten key takeaways – things you can do to drive change - from the most diverse MRS conference ever, Impact 2021.

1. Remember the power of the individual; even little things can help. Take action – don’t just align yourself in sympathy – get up and do something.

 

Everybody, no matter what their role, in whatever organisation in our sector, is in a really powerful position to make a difference.

Michael Brown,

Founding Chair, MRSpride

 

2. But also know you aren’t alone. We are all in this together – look at how you or your organisation can collaborate with suppliers, clients, partners and competitors to share ideas and best practice.

 

Collaboration is the new competition

Michelle Gansle,

Senior Director, Foresight, Innovation and Growth Insights, Mars Wrigley

 3. Get a mentor – or be a mentor – or both.

 

The mentoring programme has been life changing

Amanda Hammond,

Commercial Research Executive, ITV

4. Look at your hiring policies and push your recruitment agencies to be more inclusive.  Is it really necessary for everyone to have a top degree from a top university?

 5. Join MRSpride, CORe, WIRe or &More for support and networking.

6. Share your experiences with others. This is particularly empowering for young people coming in to the industry – especially if you are willing to share your challenges and early failures. SignificantInsights is a great resource for personal stories.

 

CEOs should remember that time when they were starting out, they were vulnerable, and they had no clue what they were doing… tell that story so the next generation can see.

Theo Francis,

Founder & Director, GuineaPig Fieldwork

7. Educate yourself and be curious. Read Belonging for practical tips about what you can do within your organisation, and ask for recommendations to learn about other cultures, races and experiences.  Read ‘What is it really like to be a minority researcher?' to understand some of the struggles and get recommendations for great content.

8. Ensure your organisation signs the MRS Inclusion Pledge. This is not just for corporates, SMEs can sign too.

9. Think about the research methods you are using and how they can be more inclusive. Talk to clients, suppliers, agencies and stakeholders about the benefits. The MRS has launched a steering group to address inclusivity in sample - for more information, visit the group web page.

 10. Use your superpower – listen, think about your biases and be humble and reflexive.

 

In our industry, we have a superpower; we are trained to immerse ourselves into the world of others.

Elaine Rodrigo,

Chief Insights & Analytics Officer, Reckitt Benckiser

Resources and further reading

In addition, the MRS and the DI&E Council are leading on these issues and have many resources that can help.

Finally, if you need further information or support on any of these issues, the MRS offers guidance in each of the following areas:

 

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