From The President – Winter 2021-22

QRCA is comprised of a broad community of market researchers who specialize in qualitative research. A strong sense of community is what has and continues to make QRCA such a great organization. The powerful sense of community that exists has always been a core strength.

By Roben Allong, Lightbeam Communications (M/WBE), New York, New York, robena@lightbeamnyc.com 

The Power of Visioning 

I am so excited that 2022 is almost here. I envision a 2022 that leaves behind the remnants of this pandemic and opens the door to new opportunities. Personally, as a new year approaches, I don’t really spend a lot of time reflecting. While looking back to spring forward can enhance outcomes, I think it’s also a bit overrated. So, I often spend a good amount of my year-end time visioning. Visioning, for me, is like traveling with my mind’s eye into the future so that I can work to turn my dreams to reality sooner rather than later. When thinking about the future of QRCA, I hope you’re as excited as I am to attend the upcoming 2022 conference in San Diego. It’s quite an ambitious conference—harnessing technology with both a virtual summit scheduled for January 12–13 and reigniting our in-person component January 19–21. The 2022 theme is REimagining REsearch—quite apropos for our industry. 

What I like about the power of visioning is the notion of reimagining what can be and finding ways to think differently. Whether it’s to bring about new solutions or create new ways to adapt and implement, the notion of visioning is accessible to everyone. In this case, I refer to visioning as simply a purposeful practice that can help you determine and plan for a desired outcome. It can be a solo affair or you can invite friends and/or colleagues, but for visioning to be effective, it should be purposeful. Otherwise it’s just daydreaming. While we all love daydreaming, the visioning I refer to can and should be intentional. You don’t need any fancy tools or projective exercises to be good at this (although some can help). 

You may already be a practicing visionary. But if you are not, as the new year approaches, I invite you to look less at what happened in 2021 and try visioning for 2022. Start with charting the next year’s course as a qualitative researcher, whether in-house, freelance, or small practice owner. What do you envision that looks like now or should look like going forward? How can QRCA play a role? One benefit of QRCA membership, as you know, is the shared camaraderie among us that can provide advice and help you practice next-level visioning. For example, as president, to help me think about our organization’s goals and what success looks like, I often reach out to a diverse set of our members to help envision how QRCA can meet the needs of our evolving industry. 

While the pandemic has thrown us a proverbial curveball, I’d like to believe we all can learn from Branch Rickey’s playbook. For those who don’t follow baseball, Branch Rickey is most famous as the manager who broke baseball’s color barrier by hiring the great Jackie Robinson. The lore goes that Branch Rickey was inspired in 1903 when he saw the ill-treatment received by a Black catcher, Charles Thomas, on the Ohio Wesleyan baseball team coached by Rickey. Thomas was not allowed to get a room at the hotel where the rest of the team stayed because he was Black. Everybody knows the story from there—baseball was integrated when Jackie Robinson was signed to the Montréal Royals forty-two years later in 1945. Branch Rickey was also a visionary responsible for a host of amazing accomplishments such as developing baseball’s minor league farm team system and first full-time spring training facility in Florida. 

The point: Branch Rickey was an ordinary guy from Ohio who started with a small vision of seeing what baseball could be, not looking back at what it was. We’re all ordinary researchers who can have extraordinary vision if we keep looking forward to turn our dreams into reality. We all have the power, and together we make QRCA stronger. 

Have a great 2022 QRCA Conference and year. I hope to see you in San Diego. Please come up and say hello. I look forward to visioning with you! 

Best regards,
Roben Allong