OPINION17 June 2019

How to avoid wasting research

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Avoiding waste is the environmental mantra now; but it can also be applied to research and insights as Matt Taylor explains.

When the financial crisis started to bite in 2007/08, I was working on a project focused on the future of environmentalism. Just a year before – and for the first time – the environment had overtaken the economy as the most important issue facing the UK in regular polling.

At the time, a significant number of consumers were happily paying more for products that didn’t harm the environment, but many commentators expected the green movement to subside in the face of financial pressures. Instead, green behaviours became even more widespread because of the desire to minimise waste and so save money.

I was just a couple of years into my career, so minimising waste was drilled into me – but when we talk about how our industry is changing, we often default to how studies must be run faster and cheaper. We rarely put the same effort into thinking about minimising waste, and this misses a huge opportunity.

Numerous studies have ...