In today’s fast-moving world, researchers have to avoid being seen as researchers, people on the outside looking in, according to Rhiannon Price of Northstar Research. The shared economy encourages a culture of give and take, millennials are more interested in experience than ownership and the psychology around social media – the use of hashtags, likes etc – speaks of being part of something bigger. Distance does not facilitate relationships, she argued. At the same time, clients want quicker results – and often they want to be part of the process.

At MRS Impact (London, March 2019), three brands outlined how they have tackled this particular issue.

Future cereal club

The pressure is on at Nestlé Cereals, a big player in a category under attack from sugar campaigners and facing a influx of new challengers – from both niche players in the sector and new entrants wanting a piece of the breakfast pie. But with annual targets to meet, short-term thinking has tended to take precedence in the innovations team. “Our approach to innovation can often be quite reactive and quite feasibility-led,” admitted consumer insights manager (innovation) Kelly Laher; it can often feel like “we’re rehashing the same old ideas or just simply following our competitors”.