Who is the Steve Jobs of Market Research?

 Just back from running some groups in the US where Apple came up a lot (guess the category!) and while I was there Steve Jobs launched the new Apple iPad. It struck me that Steve Jobs himself launched the product, not an internal inventor or a marketing guy but the CEO himself. Of course we have come to expect this from him and other technology CEO’s, they are often very innovative individuals with a passion for their products.

But where is the equivalent in research? Most big research company CEO’s strike me as good (or bad) business people, more deal makes than innovators. I must admit I don’t know many personally so that is just my impression.

If I am right then this may help explain the lack of innovation our industry suffers from, direction tends to come from the top and if they are focussed on deals and accounts then of course that will be what the rest of the people worry about.

Any ideas? For starters I would have said Adrian Chedore at Synovate but he has now retired, John Kearon at Brainjuicer qualifies as an innovative CEO but they are still relatively small. I would love to be proved wrong!
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Steve is the Chief Happiness Officer of Spring Research. His work focuses on understanding consumer motivation and behaviour and he was instrumental in developing the Snakes & Ladders approach to exploring the purchase journey. This work won the ‘Best New Thinking’ award at the MRS Conference and also led to Spring winning the industries Innovation award. As part of the 38th Floor Group, Steve is also a partner in both MESH Planning and Tuned In Research.

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