FEATURE5 July 2021

Ian Douglas – Research Hero

Features People

The Market Research Society has launched the Research Heroes programme to celebrate the sector’s unsung heroes. Ian Douglas has been named one of the Research Heroes for summer 2021.

Ian Douglas, director, telephone operations, Ipsos Mori

Ian Douglas

Ian Douglas led the transformation of Ipsos Mori’s call centre in Edinburgh into a Covid-19 secure hub, using the company’s ‘CATI@Home’ network. The operation also experienced an uplift in volume as fieldwork was migrated from face-to-face research.

Douglas was nominated as a Research Hero for being “personally ‘on the ground’ throughout the worst of the early waves of the virus, carrying the additional load while colleagues were obliged to shield”.

Additionally: “Ian consistently went above and beyond in making himself available and providing pastoral support to Ipsos Mori’s telephone interviewers throughout the pandemic.”

What is the biggest challenge you have faced during your career?

It was when Covid-19 really hit us all in the UK in March 2020. There was multiple considerations and priorities that had to be considered and we were at times writing a new rule book daily as things changed. We had to make sure that our clients’ work was being delivered as seamlessly as possible, ensuring our colleagues were up to date with what we could, and couldn’t, do and, critically, making sure our team were safe while transferring from a mainly in-house to a mainly home-based team. Through all these changes the team reacted superbly to all the challenges we faced, but we never stopped or lost a single day to the pandemic, which I am immensely proud of.

What will be the next big trend or development in the research industry, and why?

From an operational viewpoint, I can see multi-device research taking off more and us needing the flexibility of having multi-modal ways of connecting with participants. I also think participants will be more precious around their time and how they connect with researchers, so doing things in bitesize chunks will be much more appealing to them, and in the way that they want to communicate, which may differ in certain sections of the research.

Who inspires you as a researcher?

It might sound cheesy, but the participants. I still really enjoy listening to people giving their views and opinions on all the topics we cover. I’ve learned that you can never second guess what someone will say. The wide and diverse range of things that you hear really helps you challenge your own thoughts and beliefs at times.

View the full list of Research Heroes for summer 2021

Research Heroes is an ongoing programme throughout 2021, with a second tranche of Heroes to be published in the autumn.