Happy new year from Shore

I’m going to do more on the blog this year, he promises again – but this time he means it. But just to put 2017 behind us, I hereby recycle the Christmas tree of The Onion’s inestimable review of the year. Do yourself a favour and take a gander at the big stories of the year: The Onion Review of 2017.

A couple that I particularly loved. This is beautifully done:

Screen Shot 2018-01-02 at 12.38.00

The full text is worth reading, so well written – here: Earth’s orbit story

And I do like the expression on the woman on the left’s face in this:

Screen Shot 2018-01-02 at 12.24.04

So it’s back to work. Hoping to reconnect with some old collaborators in 2018. The last two years in particular have been super busy and it’s easy just to focus on delivering the projects and fall out of contact with old muckers. So I’ll be saying hello again to people and getting out of my coccoon a bit more.

Part of that is making sure I get booked onto some good training courses. I’ve signed up for two already, one with a sense of excitement and one with, being quite honest, some trepidation.

The exciting one is through the AQR, for whom I have been an “ambassador” for several years. It’s a two-parter on the impacts of Behavioural Economics (https://www.aqr.org.uk/calendar/info.shtml?event=EV18BE1), first session being at Wallace Space in Clerkenwell on 25th January, delivered by Crawford Hollingworth and Caroline Hayter. I was lucky enough to be at the AQR’s inaugural session on BE when it was bursting through into qual research consciousness back in 2011. The review of how clients see it now (session 2) will be particularly interesting.

The one I’m a bit nervous about, because it may involve me having to expend time and money on admin, is an online course run by Lesley Cooley, on General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). I am doing it because these important rule changes kick in in a few months and I need to see what Shore needs to do to be compliant. I am not anticipating a barrel of laughs, but it fits neatly with another bigger resolution for 2018 – possibly the most boring resolution I or anyone else has ever made – putting more effort into the admin side of the business. I have tried to shove this Cinderella into the basement with only a bucket of water and a mop, but it’s time to give Shore admin some sunlight this year. Especially with new quarterly accounting requirements starting in the Spring too.

If you haven’t shot yourself by this stage, in a post that started brightly, congratulations. But actually I do feel genuinely refreshed and ready to go, after a quiet close to 2017 that gave me time to catch up with myself. 2017 was a good year for Shore, which I measure by the variety of projects, the number of personal firsts and the enjoyment I’ve had in my work (and it was decent financially too, if you’re being all traditional businessy about it). Highlights of 2017 included:

  • running a longitudinal online and offline piece tracking and comparing the daily working lives of financial professionals in different roles
  • interviewing some of the country’s leading doctors about their careers and plans
  • making segment films with my trusted videographer and director of BBC3’s “The Rapper Who Chopped His Penis Off”, Tim Crawley. What Tim makes of my film projects having hung out with Wu Tang Clan collaborators, I know not. I certainly can’t be accused of not “keepin’ it real”. I mean, Eccles on a wet Tuesday morning …
  • sorting the hell out of the coffee aisle in big supermarkets, from a shopper perspective
  • moderating and analysing one of the most complex online communities ever, I think, on a food innovation project. Wowzer.
  • some initially angst-inducing but as it turned out, really successful fieldwork in the same room at Home Sweet Home, a few months apart, on two very different projects. The project on electrical goods packaging in particular was one where I really wondered how it would go, but it ended up really quite a vintage night’s groups. It’s great when the challenging topics come through and produce a bit of magic like that – and big thanks to Podengo for getting the brilliant participants on that one.
  • helping a fantastic copy writing agency with their clean up of a thicket of pensions communications
  • highlight of the year probably, no offence to other projects: listening to teenage boys talk about their attitudes to relationships. Only a small part of a much bigger project, but it is just so fascinating to see how young people are growing up now, particularly with mobiles now acting as almost part of themselves, with all the dangers that brings. Good news is, I think there is much to be optimistic about, on that side of life anyway.

Hoping for a good crop of projects to educate and entertain myself and others in 2018. If nothing else, it takes my mind off Brexit.

Published by Simon Riley

Qualitative researcher in the UK. I listen to people from all walks of life and think about what it all means. I work for leading brands, media companies and government.

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