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How Market Research can help the world ‘Leave no one behind’

A not-to-be-missed session organised by the ESOMAR Foundation (Part 1)




On 12 September, the ESOMAR Foundation will participate with a full session on ‘Making the World a Better Place’ at the ESOMAR Congress 2017 in Amsterdam. Over 1,000 insight, research and data experts from all over the world will gather in Amsterdam to discuss business and societal issues and how creativity, innovation and insights can influence decision making.

The ESOMAR Foundation will take stage with a key topic that promises hope and raises important issues on “How Market Research can help the world ‘Leave no one behind’ *

*“This is the people’s agenda, a plan of action for ending poverty in all its dimensions, irreversibly, everywhere, and leaving no one behind,” said Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary general, at the launch of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s)

It’s 2030 and the world is celebrating the achievement of the UN’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals:

The Market Research Community is justly proud of the very valuable contribution it has made to the achievement of those Global Goals – particularly to the ‘Leave no one behind’ directive – and is hosting a huge party for all those involved, since the work, and its effect on the achievement of the Global Goals, has transformed the image of the industry in the last decade, demonstrating the relevance of real MR to both the Data Revolution and the CSR agenda. Graduates now clamour to join the industry, which is seen as innovative, forward looking and socially responsible

This session will be a ‘call to action’ both to our experts and our young researchers. Case studies will set the scene and a panel discussion will focus on:

• What can the MR Industry do to achieve this vision?
• How can we better use the data we already have and the surveys we do?
• How can we promote and demonstrate the value of Qualitative and Ethnographic data to Donors and Policy Makers?
• How can we mobilise our experts and energetic young researchers?
• How can we really make a difference?

Gunilla Broadbent, ESOMAR Foundation President and Phyllis Macfarlane, ESOMAR Foundation Treasurer, will lead the programme. Speakers and panelists representing different stakeholders (organisations, NGOs and research agencies) will animate what it promises to be a not-to-be-missed session in Amsterdam.

This is a unique opportunity for the ESOMAR Foundation to take an active part in the 70th anniversary ESOMAR Congress. Watch this space for more news on the programme. For more information contact us at:


Measuring the nature and scale of violence against women in the EU

What is violence against women and why does it matter?

Violence against women (VAW) is one of the most systematic and widespread human rights violations across the world. The United Nations defines violence against women as;

any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or private life[1].”

 Examples of violence against women include; physical violence, sexual violence including rape, psychological violence including stalking, control or denigration as well as female genital mutilation, forced marriage, and honour crimes.

Most violence against women is perpetrated by men. These can be intimate partners – the people with whom women are either in or have been in a relationship with or other people such as family members, colleagues, acquaintances or strangers. Therefore, violence against women is embedded in gendered social structures and closely interrelated with gender inequality, poverty and economic dependence.

VAW is systematically underreported to the police or other agencies so the scale of the issue is not reflected in official data. Furthermore, intimate partner violence is often seen as a “private” matter of the home, which makes women less likely to speak out. This matters because it means that decision-makers, practitioners, non-governmental organisations and other actors don’t have the data needed to make informed decisions and to develop targeted policies to address and prevent it.

 In response to a lack of comparable data on violence against women, the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights[2] (FRA) commissioned a consortium led by Ipsos MORI[3] to conduct the first EU-wide robust and comparable survey on the extent, nature and consequences of violence against women, as reported by women. Ipsos MORI oversaw the data collection, contracting affiliated agencies in each country to carry out the fieldwork.

What methods do you use to collect reliable data on sensitive subjects?

Due to low levels of reporting to the police or other agencies and the difficulties associated with holding perpetrators to account through the judicial system, population based surveys provide the most accurate estimates of the prevalence of violence against women.

In 2012, Ipsos MORI on behalf of FRA conducted a face-to-face survey with 42,000 women across the 28 Member States of the European Union[4]. The survey included questions about physical, sexual and psychological violence, childhood victimisation, sexual harassment and stalking (including the role of the internet). The survey consisted of 1,500 interviews with women in each country, with the exception of Luxembourg where 900 women were interviewed. The women were selected from the general population to participate using a multistage random (probability) sampling approach. The sampling approach is important because it ensures that the results are representative of the female population aged 18 – 74 years living in each EU Member State and increases comparability of the survey results between countries.

Interviewing women about their experiences of violence is a delicate and sensitive situation. The aim of a survey of this nature is to encourage the respondent to disclose her experiences of violence to the interviewer without causing re-victimisation or re-traumatisation. For example, some women may be traumatised or experience distress when recalling and describing these events. Others may have repressed the memory of the abuse, and yet others may have never spoken about their experiences.

To address the sensitivities, interviewers were trained using a survivor-centred approach. Some techniques used in this approach include;

  • Having an all-female interviewing team
  • Not mentioning or defining violence, only asking about specific actions
  • Only conducting the interview in a private setting so as to avoid retaliation
  • Providing information about local support services when asked

As a result, many respondents, including some of those who had not talked to anyone about the violent incident, were ready to share their experiences with the interviewer and appreciated the fact that they were asked about a topic which they considered very important. Ipsos MORI delivered the final dataset and technical report to FRA, who completed the full analysis of the results.

What happened as a result?

Headline findings show that 33% of women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence since the age of 15, while 5% have been raped since the age of 15. Just 33% of victims of partner violence and 26% of victims of non-partner violence either contacted the police or some other organisation (such as victim support) following the most serious incident of violence. The results of non-reporting of incidents of violence highlight the importance of using population based surveys to gather data on this issue[5].

FRA released the results of the study in March 2014 and the information collected has allowed FRA to make a number of recommendations on how to address this issue and better protect the human rights of women in the EU. Examples include amongst others;

  • Member States should take particular note of the needs of victims of gender-based violence when applying the EU Victims’ Rights Directive
  • Member States should ratify the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combatting Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (Istanbul Convention) and the EU should follow suit

In the days following the launch of the results, FRA recorded more than 1,500 news articles and broadcast items referencing the results of the survey. At EU level – as an example – European Commission has used the results to justify funding for awareness raising campaigns to tackle violence against women, while Members of the European Parliament and civil society organisations have found in the survey results a tool which supports their calls for better victim protection measures, for example through the ratification and implementation of the Istanbul Convention.

To make the empirical data accessible to a wide audience FRA used a variety of dissemination techniques. This includes official publications, press releases and speaking at events to raise awareness as well as data visualisation tools and video presentations. Please visit the project website here for more information.

Ipsos MORI has built upon the methodological skills its team developed during this project by continuing to deliver population based surveys that explore issues related to violence against women with partners in Asia, Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa.

[1] General Assembly Resolution 48/104 Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women, 1993


[3] Ipsos MORI worked with HEUNI and UNICRI in the delivery of this study

[4] For full details of the project please refer to the FRA’s main results report found here;

[5] FRA, Violence against Women: an EU-wide survey – Results at a glance, Luxembourg: Publication Office of the European Union, 2014,

If you wish to know more about this project please contact: Sara Grant-Vest, Research Director, International Social Research, Social Research Institute, Ipsos MORI | | @ipsosmori



Shedding Light on the Digital Grey Areas of Teen Dating Violence: Co-Creation Research


In 2007  the Family Violence Prevention Fund partnered with the Ad Council and R/GA to create a campaign to prevent teen dating violence both now and as teens mature and enter adulthood.  Our initial research found that teen dating had gone digital and teen dating abuse online had followed. This emerging area became our focus.

Research was conducted at key points of the year-long development process. Because we wanted to understand how teens interact with each other in a digital environment, we created that environment and then brought respondents in to interact with it.  At every point in the research process, respondents created artifacts—words, pictures and ideas—that did not just inform the subsequent campaign, but literally became part of the campaign.

In early 2009, the site and multimedia campaign was launched to draw teens’ attention to the issue of digital dating violence and to help them “draw their digital line” by deciding for themselves what’s right or wrong rather than be lectured by adults.

The campaign included banners, social media, TV, print, radio, outdoors and a mobile site. At the website teens could view content, as well as create and share videos, call out cards and more. The campaign helped start a conversation in the media on teen dating abuse and in the first few months led to over 300,000 visitors, 200,000 video views and 28,000 call out cards sent.

Please take a look at this short video to learn more about the challenge, the research, development of the campaign and to see the creative in action.


Research Phase I (2007 – 2008)

First we reviewed existing academic and secondary research. Next we needed qualitative research to get a deeper, more nuanced and current understanding of the situation – including teens’ social norms, and vernacular. And we needed nationwide input on a tight timeline.

Abby Leafe head of New Leafe Research partnered with Judith Oppenheim, research director at RGA, and the team in developing innovative research methodologies to meet budget, timing and diversity constraints; leverage new digital research opportunities; and create an environment where teens would be comfortable participating and being open. Ben Smithee head of The Smithee Group conducted the male friendship groups.

  • Online Immersion: This phase explored the language, attitudes and behaviors of teens regarding dating. For a week, they recorded their lives and experiences in words and photos on their own ‘blog’ created for this research.  This included structured activities and open-ended forums.

Figure 1:  Teen blogging interface


  • In-home friendship circles (14 in 3 cities): The next phase built upon these learnings using friendship circle discussions conducted in the home of a host teen who recruited same sex friends.  The first step was getting the host parent’s permission. We included structured discussion and  loosely directed conversation about their dating life and language.

Figure 2: Portion of Language Dictionary which emerged from early qualitative


Next we held creative development work sessions with creative teams and teens.

  • Creative development workshops:  We had 5 same-sex friendship groups of 3-6 teens per group. It was important to ensure authenticity and excitement in the campaign experience, language, and look and feel. We had a mixture of exercises such as word sorts, word mapping, and sketching, as well as exposure to work-in-progress concept stimuli.

With the input from the creativity workshops, R/GA developed a revised set of concepts for exploration with a new set of teens.

  • Concept evaluation groups: Friendship circles evaluated the creative overall as well as specific components.
    • Concept review: Feedback on campaign elements, including mobile, out-of-home, print, TV, radio, and web site.
    • Creation stations: The concept for the campaign web site included a host of interactive tools, including a fairly robust video creation application, an interactive quiz and an ‘i-card’ creator. The room was set up as a ‘laboratory’ with two distinct “creation stations” where respondents were asked to try the tools, and specifically to create their own video in responses to the creative elements they previewed during the focus group.  Respondents were provided with a host of everyday props to use to create their videos, including, dolls, toys, puppets and so on.

Figure 3:  Content created by respondents with group stimuli


Phase 2 (2009) 

A second phase of research was conducted to provide guidance on how to strengthen individual campaign elements or to add additional components.

  • The first stage used  in-home friendship focus groups to explore the current campaign
    • In addition to a general discussion about their lives, friendships and romantic interests more structured activities included sorting photographs of celebrity couples into the categories of ‘the good,’ ‘the bad,’ and ‘the ugly.’  Lastly, each group was given the opportunity to visit to give their impressions of the site in general.

Figure 4:

  • The second stage included an online video diary, a texting journal and a survey of respondents’ social networking pages.
    •  Daily written and video based activities covering role playing, tech usage demonstrations, problem/solution creation
    • Texting the moderator each time they were engaged in a digital communication with a romantic interest
    • Documenting each time they saw, read or heard something that fit the theme of “digital grey areas’
    • Texting a “status update” at regular intervals (e.g.hourly) to help paint a picture of “a day in the life” of today’s teens

Figure 5: Prioritization of digital infractions
















A Less Charitable Cashless Society? – Tapping Into New ‘Tap To Give’ Technology


The shift from a cash-carrying to cash-less society in the UK has been incredibly rapid, with the effects of the shift to contactless increasing in the past year – there are now over 100 million contactless cards in issue in the UK and over 350 million contactless transactions were made in December 2016 alone. Although this shift to using digital transactions has been lauded by many as proof of new technological advances making our lives easier, it has also created challenges and barriers to charitable giving that charities and brands must tackle together to overcome.

For many of us who don’t carry cash – or at least not in the same way we did 10 years ago – we are unable to donate our spare change to those in need as we used to do. In the Netherlands an ad agency recently released a new solution to this growing tension; a jacket, to be worn by homeless people that not only keeps them warm but also allows passers-by to donate €1 by tapping the contactless payment area. The money that is donated can then be redeemed in shelters for food, a bed and a bath, and those who donate can be sure that their donations are being used as they would wish.

This isn’t the first foray by charities to try and encourage us to donate using our contactless cards – Cancer Research UK have trialled contactless donation terminals in central locations, and the Blue Cross attached contactless donation points to dogs to create the world’s first canine fundraisers – ‘Tap Dogs’. The move to cash-free is forcing charities to rapidly innovate, but this can be incredibly beneficial to their fundraising. The children’s charity NSPCC said that their recent trial using contactless donations set at a fixed amount of £2 actually increased their average donations, because people are less likely to donate small coin denominations.

Part of the reason why contactless donations have captured people’s imaginations is due to the new kinds of interaction that they provide. Contactless technology is often criticised for diminishing human social interaction, but some charities have creatively flipped this expectation on its head. The Blue Cross have used dogs to create a human-canine interaction, but Cancer Research UK have also used contactless technology to trial new interactive window displays. When a contactless donation was given, the shop windows displayed a video showing the difference that can be made by the money given. Not only does this innovation close the gap between giving to charitable causes and seeing the effects of that donation, it is also available 24/7, and utilises the physical space on the high street that the charity already has at their disposal.

Contactless donations have also taken off because they tap into our need for everything to be on demand and instantaneous. Talking to someone in the street, filling out endless clipboard forms and having to stay involved and engaged through endless emails and letters doesn’t fit with our new, fast-paced, more demanding mode of living. By using contactless donations, charities can combat this problem of a more time-poor, less patient society, by giving supporters more autonomy over their donation.

At Kantar Added Value we believe that brands should play a vital role in shifting and shaping changes in culture. We’d love to see charities partnering with other brands in this area to fully explore all innovation opportunities; people want to donate money to worthy causes, but they now expect this to fit in around their lives with as little effort and fuss as possible. Mastercard have already voiced their concerns about the growing gap between those who have access to bank accounts, and those who are cut off from the rest of society and denied opportunities because of their dependence on cash. Mastercard and other financial services brands could work to resolve this issue by backing a charity contactless campaign, such as the jacket for homeless people, to provide more credibility and confidence for those who decide to donate on the street. Alternatively supermarkets could encourage in-store charity donations by offering to round up transaction amounts, from say £6.59 to £7.00, with the extra money going straight to the customer’s charity of choice, to provide a seamless donation experience.

Although the evolving digital economy offers solutions and possibilities for many, we must be careful as a society to ensure that those without access to it are not excluded entirely – and brands should play a vital part in helping to bridge this gap. Charities also need to ensure that they are not left behind by changing societal behaviours, and that they continue to innovate and explore new modes of charitable giving.

In Brief…

We wanted to examine how technology is changing and how people use it to interact with culture. We worked with the Cultural Strategy team at Kantar Added Value and utilized cultural scoping and trends research to explore how things manifest and change in culture.

 For this work we used qualitative trends research, and looked at the actions of brands in the charity and financial sector to draw strong conclusions about the changing nature of charitable giving. For this piece of work we looked specifically at technology and how the most emergent and switched on charities were using this to their advantage.

We now have a greater understanding of how new digital technology is shifting cultural and societal behaviors, and have developed a strong call to arms for brands to become involved in the charity sector. This research has shown how the third sector can stay abreast of but also drive cultural change, and how they can work collaboratively with brands. The research encourages charities not to see these cultural shifts as problems but opportunities to stay relevant and a part of peoples lives.


Hannah Robbins – The Cultural Practice at Kantar Added Value

ESOMAR Foundation attended the UN Word Data Forum (WDF) held in Cape Town, January 15-18, 2017

A review by Phyllis Macfarlane

 “The Missing Millions” and “Using Data to Understand People’s Values Priorities and Desires” were the two sessions were the ESOMAR Foundation took stage! 


I was very fortunate recently to represent ESOMAR Foundation and Paragon at the United Nations’ very first UN Word Data Forum (WDF) which was held in Cape Town in January.

So what is the WDF? Here’s the official version: Following one of the main recommendations contained in the report entitled “A World That Counts” , presented in November 2014 by the United Nations Secretary-General’s Independent Expert and Advisory Group on Data Revolution for Sustainable Development, the Statistical Commission agreed that a United Nations World Data Forum on Sustainable Development Data (UN World Data Forum) would be the suitable platform for intensifying cooperation with various professional groups, such as information technology, geospatial information managers, data scientists, and users, as well as civil society stakeholders.

So, basically it was a very big (enormous, in fact!) conference, attended by practically all the world’s National Statistical Offices, plus everyone else who is interested in the world achieving the UN’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, with the objective of getting everyone to collaborate and cooperate better, in order to achieve the goals.

 Let me set the scene for you…

  • There were 1500 + delegates, all extremely diverse in terms of nationality and job profiles (and gender!)
  • It was held in the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC – sorry for the number of acronyms in this post!) – which had an ‘enormous’ auditorium for Plenary sessions
  • There were lots of very senior and illustrious attendees from the UN, and from every National Statistical Office (NSO) in the world.
  • The NSO’s were probably the most numerous amongst the delegates
  • The NSO’s in general are rather anxious about the measurement demands of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s): 17 goals, 169 targets, 230 indicators. ie 4x the work compared with  the old Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)! –  but with no sign of increased budgets. As you can imagine – this led to a lot of discussion about capacity building.
  • The very major theme from the UN was that the NSO’s can’t do this alonecollaboration and partnership were the key words which were repeated over and over again – the NSO’s  need help from NGO’s, Civil Society and the Private sector (ie people like us!). But they are clearly rather frightened of this prospect, not having a lot of experience of collaboration with the outside world – and perhaps a little sceptical as well?
  • There was an awful lot of talk of the ‘Data Revolution’: Government has so much data now – it can be used for good – to serve the people.
  • In general there was huge optimism from the senior UN and major country Statisticians about SDG’s: getting rid of inequality, using data for the public good – that there is a way forward, but they recognise that it will mean change – for the NSO’s, for everyone.

What was the Conference all about?

It was a 3 day conference, and each day there were 2-3 Plenary sessions, plus 3-4 parallel sessions of 6 separate themes or streams (so each separate stream session was attended by 100-200 delegates!)

The six pre-defined nominated themes or workstreams were as follows:

  • New approaches to capacity development for better data
  • Innovation and synergies across different data ecosystems
  • Leaving no one behind
  • Understanding the world through data
  • Data principles and governance
  • The way forward: A Global Action Plan for Data

And of course there was lots of networking, and an extremely lively conference dinner!

What did we actually do there?

Representing ESOMAR Foundation and Paragon, I took part in 2 Panel sessions – one in the ‘Leaving no-one behind’ stream – which is a general call to action from the UN to help the poorest everywhere. We did a session on ‘The Missing Millions’, where we discussed how we could measure these difficult populations (eg Street children, the homeless, people living in institutions, people displaced by conflict etc etc – not an easy task!) and further understand how to help them through real research to fully understand their situation. Our audience here was mainly NSO’s and they were rather sceptical about: How were we actually going to do it ie quantify the populations? Was there political will to do it? And where was the funding going to come from?  All excellent questions – we had a good and lively debate!

And the second panel that I participated in was in the ‘Understanding the World through Data’ workstream  – we conducted a session entitled ‘Using Data to Understand People’s Values Priorities and Desires’. Basically we were arguing for attitudinal and qualitative data to  understand how to guide more effective actions. Actions which take account of what the actual people think. After all we have very appropriate skills to apply!  Here our audience was mostly NGO’s and Civil Society, and they were very supportive and enthusiastic about the arguments – so we had another excellent debate!

Altogether, every session I went to was interesting, informative and full of passion.

 The messages I heard most consistently throughout the 3 days were:

  • A reluctance to move away from ‘hard’ statistics on the part of NSO’s (and the UN Statisticians – note that only a handful of the indicators are perception based)
  • A recognition that the NSO’s must innovate and modernise
  • That data quality is very important
  • Collaboration, collaboration, collaboration – ‘we can’t do it by ourselves’ – so collaboration is being proposed to the NSO’s as the only way that the goals will be achieved
  • Coordination – to share ideas and avoid proliferation of work
  • Open-ness: sharing of ideas and experience, partnerships, dissemination of data for SDG’s. Government data is public property.
  • Dis-aggregation: a new realisation that data is only really useful if it can be disaggregated eg by gender, region, income level. (Data must be accurate, timely, disaggregated)

All very realistic and thought provoking ideas.


Every session I went to – whether it was about Data Journalism, geo-mapping, whatever – was extremely interesting. Everyone was passionate, enthusiastic and innovative.

But after all, if you are with 1500+ people who all want the world to be a better place – you are going to be inspired!

And I certainly was. The issue is to engage with this audience and get our voice, as market researchers, heard.

I came away having made contact with people that I had only spoken on the phone to before, with lots of new contacts, and many ideas for projects to start us to have a bigger impact.

Watch this space!!!

Phyllis Macfarlane is a Member of the Board and Treasurer of the ESOMAR Foundation

New Generation Data Solutions to Understand True Attitudes toward Global LGBTI Human Rights

Imagine if you could ask people across the whole world what they really think, and imagine that they were to answer with brutal honesty and complete anonymity, about an issue that is a criminal offense in huge swaths of the world and is highly divisive and politically charged.

In 2016, RIWI, a global survey technology and data firm, partnered with ILGA (International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association) to conduct the largest global study on attitudes towards LGBTI people. Over 96,000 respondents provided their real opinions on LGBTI people, marriage equality, gender and sexuality expression, and human rights.

This breakthrough collaborative study was particularly special since by using RIWI’s Random Domain Internet Technology (RDIT™) the project team was able to conduct the survey in 65 countries, including in many which criminalize same-sex activity with imprisonment, stoning or even death. Critically, citizens were able to provide their responses voluntarily, anonymously and securely. A study of this magnitude, on this topic or on other sensitive social and related policy issues, would not be possible using traditional research methods where in-person participants are usually very unwilling to come forward due to fear of persecution and ostracism.

Initial findings from the Global Attitudes Survey show that sentiment toward the LGBTI community has emerged as more favourable over the past five years across the world, but the findings reinforce that acceptance is far from a reality in dozens of countries around the world. Some interesting findings include:

  • 34% of respondents say that their opinion on LGBTI people has become more favourable in the last 5 years. 67% of respondents think that human rights should be applied to everyone, regardless of sexual orientation. 43% of respondents from the African continent believe that being a sexual minority, transgender or intersex person should be illegal.
  • 68% of respondents answered that they would be very or somewhat upset if their child said they were in love with someone of same gender (when gender is defined in the legacy binary sense of only ‘man’ and ‘woman’).
  • 36% of respondents in Asia, 34% in Latin America, and 21% in the Middle East, North Africa and Eastern Europe support marriage equality.
  • 41% of respondents from the Middle East and North Africa agree that companies should be allowed to fire LGBTI employees on the grounds of their sexuality or gender expression.

While the findings demonstrate that attitudes toward the LGBTI community are slowly becoming more favourable, the study also reveals that acceptance and equal rights are far from a reality in numerous countries around the world.

The data collected by RIWI and ILGA are proving to be vital in developing tools for advocacy, planning and funding of sexual orientation and gender identity movements, and are helping move LGBTI discussions away from the ‘anecdotal’ to the ‘actual’, through facilitating actions based on credible global evidence.

Attitudes toward the LGBTI community is just one of many issues where the global NGO and development communities are increasingly looking toward tapping into innovations in global citizen data and new insight generation in order to support data-driven and evidence-based policy making, measurement and evaluation, and citizen engagement initiatives.

Global social research is clearly one area where the global market research and Big Data industries are situated to not only ‘do well’, but also ‘do good’.

By Eric Meerkamper, Global Head, Citizen Engagement, RIWI Corp.

RIWI ( is a global survey technology and sentiment measurement firm that captures opinion in any country and region in the world using its patented Random Domain Intercept Technology™ (RDIT).

Telling: helping charities to improve their fundraising

“Our goal was to help charities to act better by listening in a different, radically open way (‘anders luisteren – beter doen’)”







Telling was started bij Ineke van de Ouderaa and Ferro Explore to help charities to improve their fundraising in a fundamental way by shifting the focus from ‘raising funds’ to ‘creating, cultivating and nurturing a meaningful story that people want to connect with’. So the primary goal is ‘connecting’ to enable a more sustainable ‘asking’.

Our goal was to help charities to act better by listening in a different, radically open way (‘anders luisteren – beter doen’). Our hope is that if the charity sector does this, they will collect more overall. They will raise more funds and be able to make more of an impact on society.

The method is open to all charities but tested with two: ‘Kinderfonds MAMAS’ (helping South African ‘Mamas’ to take care of children) and ‘De Nierstichting’ (‘Kidney foundation’).


In essence our method can be described as ‘story listening’. Each participating charity send out a mail to a part of their contributors to invite them to share a story about their experiences with charities, using one question only:

Suppose you are at a birthday party and for some reason the conversation turns to the subject of charities. The guests exchange their stories about experiences they had and what those meant to them. What stories, experiences or anecdotes would you share in this situation?

After the story was told, we asked the contributors to answer a few questions about the story they shared. One of these questions was ‘if your story is about a charity, which particular one is it about?’ But other questions were also asked, such as ‘What is the emotional tone in your story?’ (very negative, negative, neutral, positive, very positive), or ‘To what extent does your story show trust in the charity?’ (A lot of trust, trust, neutral, not so much trust, hardly any trust or even distrust). In this way we build a narrative database, containing not only the stories, but also the meaning of the story from the perspective of the teller. We used Sensmaker for this.

We hosted workshops with a multidisciplinary team of each charity, using cognitive edges ‘archetype extraction method’. The aim of this workshop was to submerge in the stories, and to discard the conscious and unconscious biases. The stories were plastered on a wall. We used creative methods to be able to make the solutions more out-of-the-box. The outcome of the workshops was threefold:

  • a list of ‘archetypes’, representing unconscious frames of interpretation;
  • embedded out-of-the-box solutions for the specified problem, allowing opportunity for action to be taken;
  • an experience; embodied, emotional knowledge that is able to cut through the natural defence system we have as humans.

The combination of subjecting the group to the story without any interpretive frame, followed by a combination of processing tasks that speak to both our ‘conscious’ and ‘subconscious’ faculties, was a guarantee for embodied learning, based upon openness and connection.

In a final workshop we worked together with the charities in connecting their internal passion and idealism with the view of their contributors in a meaningful way. This helped them to become more fundamental in their approach to cultivate an understanding, but extremely pragmatic in how to use this understanding and convert it into action.


The process described above creates more than just ‘findings’. It energizes. It also lead to significant actions, and therefor improved their existing practice:

  • In this case the findings motivated MAMAS to create a concept for a new TV show — a show that again proved to be extremely successful. Over 5.000 new donors voluntary signed up by going to the internet or calling the call centre; all attracted by the message of ‘MAMA POWER’, the lean and mean organisation, the leading role of African women etc. In short, MAMAS got the message from it’s donors and then repeated it in the larger world of the tv audience.
  • For the Nierstichting the profound learning –the gold– was that they need to stick even more to the core of their message. This was an important finding for them, and it would not have come across so easily in a regular research. Because of being exposed to the raw stories, it became clear that the ‘basic story’ is simple. The Nierstichting also understood that it had to invest more in the core activity of encouraging people to become a donor after death, or to facilitate being a living donor, since this is such a powerful story to be associated with.

We feel that our approach is highly valuable to society and NGO’s in special. The main reason for this is that in combines openness, connection and action in a very natural way. It is a profound way of discarding unknown biases and really connect with society.

By Jochum Stienstra, Director & Owner, Ferro Explore!

It’s all in a name: The power of case studies in inspiring action

Note: An abridged version of the ESOMAR study “Leveraging and Empowering Cambodia’s Other Half” is available here

When initially conceptualizing our study, Leveraging and Empowering Cambodia’s Other Half, the need for the research was clear. What we didn’t realize at the time, however, that our selection of the research methods would be the most critical piece regarding the study’s actionability. I’d like to walk you through my experience, which demonstrates how the inclusion of a compelling narrative aided the study’s resonance among both NGOs and the research community.

Let’s start at the beginning.

Need for the research

Gender inequality is a pervasive issue in Cambodia, manifesting itself in daily life in the form of domestic violence, a culture of male impunity, higher suicide rates among women, limited involvement in politics and public leadership among women, and lastly, the education of Chbab Srey (“code of moral conduct for women”) in the public school system.

Chbab Srey is a traditional poem written prior to the 1860s in Cambodia’s pre-colonial era. Certain lines in Chbab Srey (translated) include:

“Remember that you are female so don’t say anything that implies that you are equal to your husband.”

“You must serve and trust your husband, don’t make him feel unsatisfied.”

Additionally, there is an insufficient amount of publically accessible data on Khmer gender issues, and none specifically exploring gender across generations.

Further, from a global perspective, studying gender is relevant as women comprise half the population and even the most developed markets still have work to do (e.g., pay equity issues in the U.S., U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2015).

Given the scale of the issue, my colleagues and I were particularly drawn to exploring Cambodian gender dynamics. The aim of the study was to understand the current state of gender (in)equality in Cambodia, particularly analyzing differences across gender and generations.

Let’s talk about methodologies

We chose to conduct a survey and in-home interviews. A nationally representative survey was necessary as it was important for the findings to be projectable to the larger population. We included a qualitative component (in-home interviews) in order to unearth applications of the trends we learned from the survey research and to gain richer insight into Cambodian women’s lived experience at a personal level.

Study takeaways

At a macro level, the survey research revealed:

  • Education: There’s a staggering disparity in the education gap between men and women, however, younger cohorts are quickly closing the gap (distinct divide between Cambodians under and over 30)
  • Media: There’s lower internet penetration and digital device ownership among women than men, however, a sizeable and growing number of women (more than half) have access to a smart phone and/or computer
  • Chbab Srey: Cambodians still support Chbab Srey, however, most acknowledge that it’s being practiced less now than in the past
  • Traditional gender roles: Traditional gender roles are still the norm, however, views are slowly becoming more progressive, driven by younger women

The study made a broad array of recommendations, both relevant to Cambodia (e.g., encourage a ban on teaching women to adhere to Chbab Srey in the public school system, promote diverse role models, encourage civil participation and activism, etc.) and applications to other markets (e.g., speak out against traditional codes of conduct that persecute certain groups, encourage women to become financially independent from men, invite men into the conversation, advocate for Internet access and digital literacy, and encourage women to support each other, etc.).

While these findings isolate key gender gaps and provide suggestions for a way forward, they don’t evoke a particularly strong emotional response.

And that’s where the case study came in.

Toward the end of the study we included a case study, the story of Channa*. This allowed us to provide a real, compelling narrative about the personal journey of a rural, uneducated Cambodian woman’s rise to becoming a community thought leader and a financially independent entrepreneur through technology and non-institutionalized education. In particular, the case study demonstrated the power that digital literacy can have, especially for empowering rural, uneducated women.

The Story of Channa
How technology and informal education is changing the lives of rural, uneducated women







The Impact

Dissemination of the study came in two forms:

  1. My colleague, Sao Layhour, and I presented the study at the 2016 ESOMAR Congress
  2. A team of researchers at Kantar TNS presented the study to various Cambodian and international NGOs (e.g., Palladium, BBC Media Action, ActionAid, and RoCK Cambodia) who have a vested interest in understanding and helping women thrive

In both cases, the case study – the story of Channa – was the component that spoke to listeners/readers.

In addition to positive feedback from ESOMAR Congress attendees, the case study enabled the study’s larger survey findings to be heard among the NGO audience. We’re proud of the following outcomes of this research effort:

  • One of BBC Media Action’s focuses this year is advocacy work promoting internet usage and digital literacy to galvanize employment among Cambodian women and promote economic independence. They especially found the case study inspiring for conveying the aforementioned mission and agreed with the study’s recommendation about promoting diverse role models, another of their initiatives. BBC Media Action publishes noteworthy case studies on their website and is hoping to feature “the story of Channa” from the research. In addition, they are hoping that Channa will be interested in appearing on a BBC Media Action program that showcases role models who overcame obstacles, in this case oppressive traditional values and lack of education
  • ActionAid intends to use the study’s findings related to Chbab Srey, traditional values and gender-based division of labor to develop an awareness-building campaign to promote gender equality
  • Palladium plans to lean on the research’s learnings surrounding female vs male decision-making in order to inform their program planning for electricity and water supply

Using cases studies to humanize quantitative findings

While the survey was more time intensive, the case study brought the study’s findings to life and inspired others into action. My best advice to organizations embarking on a research effort is to incorporate a qualitative research component (e.g., in-depth interviews, observations, in-home visits, focus groups, etc.) into quantitative studies. Doing so translates findings into something human and relatable to your audience, which in turn motivates people to act.

Because, after all, what’s the point in conducting research if it doesn’t inspire action?

  • *The name of this participant has been changed to respect her privacy

By Rebecca Norris, former Research Director at Kantar TNS Cambodia

Kantar TNS Cambodia is the fastest-growing customized market and social research agency in Cambodia. Based in Phnom Penh, we lead the industry with our high standards of data collection and innovative tools that enable us to get to the heart of our client’s issues.


Enabling a Full Life to People with a Mental Disability

How research can help to give everyone a voice


Customer centricity is the core strategy of many organisations. How can we put clients at the heart of each organisation, delivering a better, more tailored and more streamlined customer experience? Often easier said than done. Especially when your client  is not a typical customer. One of the most challenging aspects of market research is to actually give everyone a voice.

Since 2013,  Beautiful Lives has worked together with Philadelphia. Philadelphia is one of the largest health care facilities in the Netherlands for people with severe mental disabilities. The vision of Philadelphia is to put its clients first. Developments in the Dutch health care landscape however show that an ongoing focus on reforms and efficiency can be at the expense of customer centricity and indeed have led to a strong focus on numbers and benchmarks. Philadelphia, however, believed that profound client understanding could reshape its care programs: built around people’s needs, rather than being gripped by incremental performance improvements.

To gain a true client perspective we realised that we had to find ways to involve the actual clients into the research. Philadelphia, a vivid supporter of the idea, asked us to start the project with their client group that shows ‘behaviour that is difficult to interpret’, which is more precise, instead of defining them as mentally disabled. It is us who have to put more effort in understanding people who behave and think differently. A true challenge for any market researcher! To accomplish this we combined several sources and methods with a main focus on making sure that we used methods that allowed clients to express their needs in an accessible manner and within a safe environment.

From the start we were fully aware of the fact that having a conversation with clients would require more than interview skills. It would require us to build relationships with people who often have difficulties trusting others, to interpret their non-verbal behaviour and sometimes to judge if clients would unintentionally get provoked. This consideration led to the choice to train Philadelphia coaches to do the client interviews. These staff members all have expertise to understand clients, but do not work with them on a daily basis. In this way we avoided that clients would not dare to share their genuine opinion because of their dependency on their care takers.

The first step in the research was the request to clients, family members and caregivers to take part in a self-directed photography task.  In this way we created a natural, participant led set up, that helps participants to feel at ease. These pictures were the start of the conversations with clients and family members; a playful, engaging  and at the same time substantial approach. The photos and the conversations helped us to understand the most important needs, even more so when it was impossible to express them in words.  We chose to talk with clients and family members in in-home settings as this is the trusted context in which they feel comfortable. It helped to put the stories and pictures in a more complete context. The Philadelphia coaches moderated the client interviews and during some interviews a researcher was present as well. In focus groups with caregivers from different care locations, we discussed their perspective on the well-being of their clients. These approaches combined with self-directed photography, provided us valuable direction and input to the interview guides and set-up for the conversations. Finally, at the end of the data collection period we joined thinking with the coaches at a series of analytical workshops. Until today they are still important ambassadors of the outcomes of the project.

The project created a new paradigm within the organisation.  Philadelphia decided to develop their complete client care program based on the output of the project.  They defined core values for the group of clients whose behaviour is difficult to interpret. These values were then translated to all of Philadelphia’s care domains (physical care, housing, day care), basically indicating how care givers should care for clients. The values are now also leading in the annual evaluation interviews with caregivers. They  provide clarity on mutual expectations to the client’s family. Also, self-directed photography became a tool that is used more often within the Philadelphia organisation, as it turned out to be a valuable way to give a voice to those who are often difficult to understand.

We are proud on the impact our work has in the Philadelphia organisation. It’s a key learning to us that if we can listen to their clients, clients all over the world, irrespective of their capabilities to express themselves, can be listened to and acted upon. This research shows that no matter how hard it is too reach out to certain groups of people, a little more effort and creativity pays!

By Gaby Siera, Maurice Palmen and Iris Aarts, Beautiful Lives

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When market research helps combat extreme poverty

How international values-based surveying provides the Global Goals community with strategic knowledge and tactics for engaging new allies.



On 25 September 2015, the 193 countries of the UN General Assembly convened in New York and adopted the 2030 Development Agenda. This was the beginning of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) campaign, which was supported by numerous organizations and social movements. The SDGs  encompass 169 targets summarized in 17 Global Goals. The first Goal is “No poverty”, which aims to end poverty in all its forms everywhere.

Based on World Bank figures, the world is already halfway in eradicating extreme poverty. In 1990, 1.9 billion people lived on less than $1.25 per day. By 2015, this number had dropped to 836 million, a decrease of 56%[1]. The decrease has been most impressive in South & East Asia and the Pacific Region.


The main question is to which extent the general public is aware of the steep decline in extreme poverty and how awareness can be raised. The purpose of the research project is twofold. First, we aim to contribute to a better-informed discussion on the progress in poverty alleviation in order to help generate momentum for the SDGs campaign. Second, we seek to identify and profile promising groups in society – the frontrunners – which can assist the SDGs campaign in engaging more people globally. Values-based surveying makes it possible to identify frontrunners around the globe, understand who they are, what motivates them and what kinds of narratives the Global Goals  community (mainly governments, charities and involved companies) can use to resonate with the frontrunners and possibly turn them into ambassadors of change.

Motivaction International conducted the second Glocalities survey in 24 countries among the general public. In the syndicated survey various questions on poverty and the SDGs were included. The outcomes show that 87% of people around the world are unaware of the steep decrease in extreme poverty, believing instead that global poverty has either stayed the same or increased over the past 20 years. Only 1% of people across the globe actually know that extreme poverty has halved, as is the case based on the World Bank figures.


The huge discrepancy between people’s perceptions and reality indicates major challenges in efficiently communicating progress in the fight against extreme poverty.


The research was set up by Motivaction International and took place between December 2015 and February 2016 in two phases. Motivaction worked closely together with international fieldwork partners SSI and Lightspeed GMI.

In the first phase of the survey, 56,409 respondents from 24 countries participated[2]. In this phase the questions that we use for building the values based models and instruments were incorporated. The questions about the SDGs and poverty were posed during the second phase of the project, in which 26,492 re-contacted people from the first phase completed a follow-up questionnaire

The Glocalities database contains more than 2,500 variables covering a wide spectrum of people’s lives, values, preferences and behaviors. When analyzing data, we employed triangulation – using multiple instruments – in order to validate findings and offer robust insights. We used the following tools in the analyses:

  • Trends and values: These are statements describing sociocultural phenomena in society that influence people’s behavior and choices profoundly. We integrated a set of 38 trends that are internationally active and 50 everyday life values statements.
  • Values cards: 48 visual representations of fundamental human values, based on values inventories from the work of social psychologist Milton Rokeach and cross-cultural researcher Shalom Schwartz. The usefulness of the cards lies in the fact that they activate an additional sense of the respondents – their vision – in order to ‘map’ their values profile.
  • Archetypes: Narrative techniques to express the core message in ways that tap into universal feelings and instincts among people. In this way, organizations and brands can have a better positioning and maximize the fit between the values and messages that they want to express and the storylines that resonate with people.

Preparing, writing and releasing the report was a journey in itself. Due to the aim of the project to have impact and raise awareness, we asked several experts from academia, governmental bodies and the charitable community to contribute to the report by giving feedback and advice. The experts consulted include among others Jan Peter Balkenende, former Dutch Prime Minister, Karel van Oosterom, the Dutch Representative at the United Nations in New York, Herman Wijffels , Professor of Sustainability and Social Change at Utrecht University, Matt Grainger, Head of Media at Oxfam International and Michael Sheldrick, Advocacy Director at The Global Poverty Project / Global Citizen. The survey was supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. We released the report in partnership with Oxfam International and Global Citizen with the objective to help shape anti-poverty work.

The report was launched in New York on 22 September 2016 on the occasion of the first anniversary of the Global Goals. The findings were presented to a highly motivated group of young activists from across the globe, in cooperation with Global Citizen. The full report, the press release and an animated movie clip with the outcomes can be downloaded at


The findings in the report are valuable for the charitable community in several ways. First the results make clear that the vast majority of people around the world believe that global poverty has either stayed the same or gotten worse over the past 20 years, when the exact opposite is true: it has more than halved. The scale of pessimism and misunderstanding could threaten the tough job of pulling “the second billion” out of extreme poverty.

Oxfam Campaigns Director Steve Price-Thomas said in the press release of the report:

“The halving of global poverty is the biggest unsung success story in recent human history. The achievement shows what is possible – but also highlights what remains to be done. We still have a long way to go and need public energy now more than ever. The success could start to reverse quickly if we don’t tackle with equal passion the rise of inequality and abuses driven by conflict, land grabs and climate change.”

Global Citizens advocacy Director Michael Sheldrick said:

“These findings bear out the fact that more of our supporters are coming from countries where great transformation or high economic growth are taking place. For example, in the top 10 countries represented on one of our Facebook channels, among the 156,000 followers are from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nigeria, The Philippines and Kenya. The key is now providing those who believe their actions can make a difference with a way to get involved and to help, including by raising awareness amongst other parts of the public.”

Martijn Lampert, Research Director Glocalities said:

‘’Now we are half way to eradicating poverty, it is time for more enhanced public engagement strategies to help finish the job’’.

People’s opinions and knowledge about the developments with respect to extreme poverty differ depending on who and where they are, what they do and what they believe in. The report proposes smarter new ways for governments, donors and NGOs to engage different people in different countries.

The research resulted in a clearly-defined profile of the frontrunners (full description can be found in the report). For example, these people often already occupy influential positions in society, leadership and the business community. However, in order to gain the highest leverage and really make a difference, it is imperative to promote initiatives that are proven effective. Most importantly, the analyses reveal that storylines and frames which have a strong fit with the ‘ruler’ archetype (setting goals and working towards realizing them) are appealing  among the frontrunners, while people from the charitable community more naturally resonate with storylines conforming to the ’caregiver’ archetype.

Secondly, information about the frontrunners’ lifestyle and media usage was included, which allows identifying promising channels for communications. We recommend, for example, to start with launching a collaborative platform for the Global Goals.

The creative communications material below this blogpost (an animated movie clip and a shareable infographic developed by Motivaction) contributed to the sharing of the findings by the partners.

Motivaction shared the report with the executive office of the Secretary General of the United Nations and the Special Adviser on the 2030 Agenda. With the help of Oxfam and its local affiliates the report was covered by Reuters and newspapers around the world. Examples of publications include:

The New York Times column by Nicholas Kristof, which was inspired by our survey findings, caught the attention of Bill Gates, who posted a the following tweet about the topic: Bill Gates.


[2] Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Russia, South Africa, South Korea,  Spain, Sweden, Turkey, United Kingdom and the United States


For more information about the survey:






By Martijn Lampert, Research Director Glocalities at Motivaction Internationaland Panos Papadongonas, Researcher Glocalities at Motivaction International