FEATURE24 January 2023

ED&I – from problematic to progressive

Features Inclusion Insight Alchemy

Pressing problems demand practical solutions. That’s what the ED&I lunchtime workshop aims to deliver at MRS Insight Alchemy 2023. And we need your input.

Change is coming. Equality, diversity and inclusion (ED&I) has become a topic embedded in the policy documents of most research industry organisations. But progress is not even, and it’s not moving as fast as most of us would like.

Last year’s report Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in the Market Research Sector made it clear that the time for talk has passed. Action is needed, and that goes way beyond well-crafted HR policies and awareness campaigns. Leaders signing the MRS Inclusion Pledge is a just the start – showing commitment to action and specific pathways to address failures of ED&I in their organisations.

We’ll be gathering in the summer to explore the issue further – expect a heavy emphasis on the practical. And at Insight Alchemy 2023, we’ll be running a discussion about defending representation in research – a crucial question as the users of insight pare back budgets, lean on algorithms and risk losing the voices of people at the margins.

But thanks to the MRS ED&I Council and the purpose networks – MRS Pride, MRS Unlimited, MRS Social Inclusion Group, CoRe and WiRe – we’re also able to host a special lunchtime workshop focused specifically on the frontlines of ED&I in market research organisations.

The format is simple. We’ll be creating a safe space to discuss the experiences, challenges and wins for non-privileged groups in the research industry. The facilitation group will feature representatives from the five networks and will tackle commonly encountered inclusion issues. They’ll draw on delegates’ and their own experiences to explore how to manage them in the moment – as well as what longer-term change we can effect to address them.

Evidence matters, of course. And that’s where you come in. We want the ED&I workshop to reflect the reality of people in the research profession – not in the abstract or aggregate, but drawing on your experiences to promote a practical debate on solutions.

Send us your ED&I challenges

So if you’re planning to come along to the ED&I workshop (and even if you’re not…) we want to hear from you. If we can share ideas for taking practical steps forward to transform our workplaces from meaning well to taking action it will be time well spent.

  1. Give us one key challenge you think your organisation faces in becoming more inclusive and equitable.
  2. Tell us something you’ve heard or experienced that you feel indicates some of the problems with driving an ED&I agenda. It might be a ‘microaggression’ you wondered how to challenge; an excuse for inaction you’ve heard; or maybe an organisational or administration barrier to action. (We don’t need names…)
  3. And inspire us with an ED&I goal – something short- to medium-term you think might be a realistic step in the right direction, and that you’d love to see happen this year (in you, in your organisation, or even across the industry).

We encourage you not to share names or identifying details.