As the last of the Christmas trees linger on the streets of London's Clerkenwell, may I take this last opportunity to wish you all a very good 2020, or may be the first opportunity to wish you a happy new Chinese year of the rat.

It was delightful to see the MRS Awards in December surpass themselves once more, and it was great to be able to celebrate so many winners. No matter what your feelings were on the results of the general election, I could only be pleased on behalf of the sector that the polls had a good election this time round.

We launched, together with press regulator Impress, new guidance on the reporting of polls and this has been very well received. The immediate task this year is to create new guidance to go with our new Code of Conduct, please look out for this-I am sure you are already deeply aware of the new Code’s contents.

As we gear up for the first Impact conference of the new decade I am delighted we are pioneering a new venue and a new format but also some really exciting headline speakers addressing the issues we will face in the next 10 years. One of the highest priorities we face is of course climate change and I am delighted that Extinction Rebellion will be on stage to start a discussion of what our sector can contribute on this vital issue; on Brexit and Europe we will have Professor Anand Menon; on identity, inclusion and creativity we will welcome joint Booker prize-winner Bernadine Evaristo and Caroline Criado Perez will challenges on bias in an age of data. You can see all our key speakers here.

To ice the cake some really inspirational client leaders from BT, Tesco, Carlsberg and PepsiCo amongst others are also taking time out to share their perceptions of the key challenges. I know you will all support this world leading event in the research calendar!

As we begin a new decade we have taken time at MRS to consider what our focus will be for 2020 and beyond. MRS will be concentrating on three core themes which I know will resonate:

  • A significant re-focus on professionalism and ethics, on the standards and expertise that differentiate us from DIY. There is a brand new Code of Conduct, but more than that, the exposure of bias in data which has been so heavily discussed must give us the opportunity, if not the responsibility, to contribute to the identification and mitigation of bias wherever there is a risk.
  • A shared narrative around Intelligence Capital. We need, like the advertisers, to speak with a consistent voice. To argue the value of what we do not just as ROI but as a corporate asset that delivers growth. We will publish the second stage of Intelligence Capital this year.
  • Ensure opportunity & Inclusion in the sector so that we become a profession which attracts diverse talent and which enables its talent to reach its full potential.

I look forward to seeing many of you at Impact 2020 and over the coming months to listen to you directly about your views on the new decade.


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