FEATURE25 March 2020

Hive minds

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Features Impact UK

Hadley Coull, founder of Headz, writes about the rise of independent researchers, strategists and consultants coalescing under new insight and strategy ‘collectives’.


A new kind of insight partner has emerged in recent years in response to changes within our industry, and our culture. 

Insight collectives are semi-formal networks of independent researchers who work together on an ad hoc basis, often remotely. With reduced overheads for office space, support functions and such like, collectives offer value to clients, while allowing senior researchers to focus on doing what they love.

Their growth has been driven by the increasing need for specialist skills and expertise in insight and strategy. More and more, client challenges require bespoke solutions and inputs from a range of experts. Brett Templeton, founder of Plural Thinking, explains: “The business of marketing consultancy has become more specialist. Clients are looking for high-level advice, and tight, efficient thinking inspired by multiple source learnings. Big agencies are trying to sell units of activity, and clients don’t want units of activity. Clients want answers to their questions.”

Collectives excel at this kind of cross-specialism work, as they can ...