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13 Jun 2017

2017 Ginny Valentine Badge of Courage Awards announced at IIeX Atlanta

On Monday, June 12th, Fiona Blades, representing the Research Liberation Front and Clark Jones, Coca-Cola, representing this year’s judges, announced 6 winners of this year’s Ginny Valentine Badge of Courage Awards for Bravery in Market Research at IIeX North America.

Unlike conventional market research awards, which typically celebrate marketing success or the rigour of a clever methodology, the Ginny Valentine Badge of Courage is awarded to those who fought long odds and showed exceptional determination to produce great market research. The awards are designed to recognize researchers wherever they work - within client companies or as suppliers. And in the 6 years since its inauguration, nominations have come from around the world from every part of the research industry.

Ginny Valentine, a UK based semiotician and researcher who died in 2010, had a distinguished career in which she challenged traditional market research and evangelized for the adoption of new thinking to improve the discipline.

Evoking her memory and example, this award recognizes researchers who stand out in an industry not often known for bravery, for their contributions developing new research approaches, setting up new ventures, persevering through controversial projects, pioneering new approaches in a client organization, or even facing physical danger in the course of their work.

The 6 award winners for the 2017 Ginny Valentine Badge of Courage Award represent 9 individuals and a research team:

  • Dan Foreman, of Hatted for risking reputation and investment in the cause of innovation

  • Michael, Arnie and the Middle Eastern teams of Kantar TNS and their affiliates, for perseverance and determination to tell the stories that need to be told

  • Steve Lacey of SLS Strategy for the pursuit of minority voices

  • Julie Fuller, of the Fuller Research Group for sticking her head above the parapet to challenge recruitment status quo

  • Marc Brenner of the MRS, Lisa Edgar of the Big Window and Wendy Mitchell, for giving a platform to people who are normally not heard

  • Pravin Shekar, of Cando for taking positive discrimination towards disability to awesome levels

This year’s distinguished panel of judges included Gayle Fuguitt (Foursquare), Clark Jones (Coca-Cola), Joel Rubinson (Rubinson Partners), Priscilla Tavares (LATAM Airlines), and Annelies Verhaeghe (Insites Consulting).

On the process of selecting the winners, John Griffiths from the Research Liberation Front who founded the awards in 2011 with Fiona Blades said

“6 years on, it is encouraging to see how individuals are pioneering diversity. This is a dominant theme of the bravery awards this year, just as the research industry is waking up to diversity as an issue.  The political uncertainties of the last year has shown that research plays a unique role in representing outliers too. Research that contents itself with aiming for the average is simply not good enough. Ginny Valentine would be so proud to see the legacy she put in place. We are grateful for the work of our distinguished panel of judges. Our congratulations to the worthy winners.”

The event took place at The Barrelhouse bar just down the street from the Insight Innovation Exchange North America 2017 conference in Atlanta run by GreenBook, who have lent their support to this initiative to promote bravery to the research industry in their international IIeX events and in their online publications.