IIeX: A Kaleidoscope of Fresh Ideas

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IIeX in Amsterdam has always been like a kaleidoscope of fresh ideas in the industry. In this conference, attendees can choose between four simultaneous tracks with presentations and panel discussions about a wide range of different topics. This is why any review of the event will be subjective. However, this is also the charm of this conference: it’s impossible to not find relevant topics and to leave the event with a plethora of inspirations. Here are some of my personal takeaways on a couple of topics:

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is certainly one of the most trending topics at the moment. I have listened to presentations sketching AI solutions for data collection, analysis and reporting, but it seems that there is still a way to go. The whole discussion reminded me a bit of the teenage sex analogy: a lot of people speak about it, some claim to have experience with it, but basically it’s a new territory for everyone. However, it seems to be plausible that AI can change our industry within the next five to ten years and that it will affect all parts of the value chain.

Behavioral Data & Implicit Measures

Many presentations followed the trending shift from asking participants to observing them. Some speakers had a rather pessimistic view on the topic, by acknowledging that surveys can be burdensome for the respondent. For them, observational data is a mere work-around to get at least some feedback. Other speakers embraced the new possibilities arising from integrating conscious, unconscious and emotional data to get a more holistic and realistic view on consumers.

In my opinion, surveys are far from being dead. In any case behavioral data and implicit measures can help us to further contextualize survey data, if necessary.

Big Data & Data Integration

For the first time, I was left with the impression that Big Data got somehow adapted from our industry and that the initial nervousness is finally gone. One key to success was the integration of different data sources, e.g. linking transactional data from websites to survey profiles. As we have conducted such projects at Norstat already, I was quite curious to see similar cases. For many projects, the main challenge was making all the data accessible and manageable to data users. Or, as one speaker put it: “The quality of the insight is only as good as its delivery”.

Dashboards & Storytelling

And in fact, a lot of talks were about reporting insights in the right way. My conclusion is, that the technological solutions are changing rapidly, even though this change doesn’t quite affect the fundamental capabilities of humans and organizations to cope with information. Here, stories seem to provide the best value and have the biggest impact. This is why the role of technology is rather supporting the human storytelling than replacing the researcher. So this was maybe the most groundbreaking insight of all: it’s not the amount of data we collect, nor the fanciness of our technology. At the end of the day it’s only about companies employing humans to make sense out of human behavior to solve human problems.

These were certainly just some sparkling impressions from the IIeX-kaleidoscope. All in all, I was left with a lot of new ideas and inspirations. I can definitely recommend this conference and hope to see you next year.