By Roben Allong, Lightbeam Communications (M/WBE), New York, New York, firstname.lastname@example.org
Welcome to the third quarter of 2022! COVID-19 appears to be headed toward our rearview mirrors. We’ve changed and adapted our attitudes and behavior to the new and constantly evolving normal. H.G. Wells is quoted as saying, “Adapt or perish, now as ever is nature’s inexorable imperative.” Who was Herbert George Wells and why does he matter? He was an Englishman who wrote a few classic sci-fi page-turners you may be familiar with, such as The Time Machine (1895), The Invisible Man (1897), and The War of the Worlds (1898). As H.G. Wells surmised during his time, I believe QRCA must learn to adapt quickly to this new landscape—as it evolves—lest we invite our own demise.
He was prescient for his time, anticipating events like war and nuclear bombs. But who could have anticipated the unleashing of nature’s COVID-19 virus and its impact? Combined with other global and planetary events, we are being forced to re-orient our attitudes and behaviors. This reorientation has spurred waves of qualitative research to explore what it means today and in the future. QRCA has become more relevant than ever!
Before new leadership ascends, it’s probably a good time to take stock of where we’ve been, as well as look toward the future—to adapt accordingly. Just as Elon Musk with SpaceX and Jeff Bezos with Blue Origin are charting new courses beyond Planet Earth, so too should QRCA consider and stretch itself as a professional organization to lead the way forward for the benefit of its membership and the industry as a whole.
It’s no secret that qualitative research is experiencing a global boom in demand whether UX, CX, MRX, etc. The future has never looked brighter; QRCA never more resilient. Our end goal is to ensure QRCA is the #1 hub for all things qualitative. While our past focused more on conducting in-person research, our future is harnessing available technology to meet our respondents, as well as members where you are, by providing more networking, upskilling, mentoring, and business development that increases member benefit value.
To address these emerging industry and member needs, QRCA is successfully partnering with the RIVA Training Institute and Burke Institute to deliver more up-to-date and relevant content to members. In the meantime, Qualology—QRCA’s learning hub—over the past year has created courses on privacy and creativity, and continues to provide more relevant learning led by industry experts.
This year’s annual conference in San Diego was extremely well received by 200+ attendees, all focused on Reimagining, Rethinking, and Rediscovering qualitative research to better understand our evolution. Recordings of various sessions are now available on Qualology. Next year’s conference in Charlotte promises to be filled with even more future-forward content, interactive sessions, and connection opportunities. QRCA’s Inclusive Culture Committee established a new annual scholarship, the Lloyd J. Harris Scholarship, to specifically address the educational needs of underrepresented researchers. The organization has also awarded deserving Young Professionals and Global Researchers. These are but a few of the initiatives that volunteer leadership—Committee, SIG, Chapter, and Special Task Force leaders along with Board members—have executed in the past 12 months.
In recognition of their efforts, in our Connections newsletter and on LinkedIn, QRCA thanks each month extraordinary volunteers whose contributions have elevated member experiences. Thanks also to the extensive work of various specially appointed task forces that conducted management, website, code of conduct, and communication audits to find new ways to improve user experience.
As I complete my term as QRCA President, I am humbled, honored, and grateful for the opportunity to lead the organization—to help navigate and successfully adapt to the churning “change” waters we’re in. I now pass the Presidential baton to my successor, Michael Mermelstein, who will have the honor and privilege of serving you. Borrowing the words of NASA mission control when John Glenn took off in that 1962 Friendship 7 capsule on the first manned orbital space flight… Godspeed to you, Michael, and to the newly elected Board members.