FEATURE19 June 2017

Young researcher Q&A: Alex Wheatley

Data analytics Features Innovations People Technology UK

Alex Wheatley of Lightspeed is &more's – MRS’s new network for young professionals – young researcher of the month for June. He discusses why he hopes to see his entire role automated within 10 years. 

Alex Wheatley crop

Name? Alex Wheatley

Job title and company? Innovation researcher at Lightspeed

Where do you live? London

How long have you worked in market research? Three years

Was becoming a market researcher accident or design? Accident

Please elaborate… As a fairly recent graduate I was keeping my options open and looking at a mixture of industries and positions. An offer came in for an interesting position that sounded like my perfect balance of scientific rigour and creativity so I jumped at the opportunity.

What the best thing about my job is… the freedom to apply myself to solving the problems I see as pressing.

The worst thing about my job is… seeing research projects that regress to the status quo due to demands for ease rather than results.

My dream job would be... novelist/ vineyard owner.

What’s your favourite methodology? I actually think the best research is done with a mixed approach, so it’s hard to choose one particular method. What I will say is that I see great innovation in what technology lets us measure beyond just peoples’ answers to questions, and I think this layers a greater depth to the insights we can gather.

What are your work ambitions for the next five years? To focus my actions in a way that has a tangible impact on the way we conduct online surveys; because I think if we don’t adapt the people we can reach will diminish.

Favourite brand? Leica

What bit of your job will be extinct/automated in ten years’ time? I hope the whole thing! If we can give everyone access to tools that let them ask questions to a mass audience in an engaging way, then my advice won’t be needed and the people’s voices will be heard much more easily.

If you weren’t working in market research what would you be doing? Fixing old cameras, watches and fountain pens.

What would be your advice to anyone contemplating joining the industry? Question everything.

What’s the most useful mentoring/career advice you’ve been given? Go for it. Market research is a home for the curious and it’s diverse enough that you can find your niche.