I was fortunate to have the opportunity attend the GRBN International Workshop Day, which kicked off MRS Impact Week, and was asked to share my thoughts on the day. Overall, I thought that a lot of ground was covered during the sessions, and I found the day to be both engaging and productive.
ROI of Insights
The day kicked off by diving into the BCG / GRBN report on the ROI of Insights. It proved to be a complex topic with much data to support both the benefits as well as the process to calculate the internal ROI. It was interesting to see the data on the expectations clients have on their agencies when it comes to measuring ROI, and the data illustrated that agencies  have an opportunity to develop their relationships with their clients if they can do a good job supporting them on demonstrating business impact. The end-client panel discussion on ROI was fascinating, as the clients discussed how they were going about demonstrating the impact of their work, and the challenges they have with this. A couple of things which struck me from the discussion were 1) the importance of both the internal and external briefing documents and 2) the importance of getting feedback from stakeholders on the impact of the research on their decision-making.
  participant engagement
This was the second topic covered during the day and I found the content to be excellent and actionable for consultants, agencies and corporate insights professionals alike, with an appropriate balance of presented content, panelist insights and attendee workshop activities, and I came away with several useful ideas that I could implement in my firm. Much of the content reflected common sense and respect for our research participants. That validation, however, is valuable and can be used to support our advice to clients regarding issues such as excessively long surveys and overly complex designs. The panel discussion involving data collector, agency and end client representatives brought home just how multi-faceted the issue of participant engagement is, and how everyone involved in the research process has a role to play in creating better experiences for participants. The workshop session allowed for excellent interaction among the attendees and there was a lively discussion on what changes to the participant experience would be most impactful, as well as on the challenges involved in implementing those changes.
Feedback from others
Taking the opportunity to talk with some of 35 or so people attending the Workshop Day, I found I was not the only one to get something out of the day. Here are some of the comments I heard:  Thank you so much for preparing the ROI information and sharing it with us today.  It gives me a new way to potentially pitch the value of our work to our execs.  – Corporate insights director Before today, I believed that participant engagement was the responsibility of my research partnersNow I realize that I, and everyone on my staff, needs to be aware of opportunities to enhance our participant experiences.  Not only is it a reflection of our brand, but can also be one of the inputs we use to calculate and demonstrate our internal ROI. – Corporate insights director I’m extremely passionate about participant engagement.  I would recommend this workshop to anyone who influences research design.  And while the ROI Workshop is primarily targeted to corporate decision-makers, I enjoyed the exposure to how they may potentially measure and validate their internal worth.  It will make me a more aware and valued business partner. – Online panel representative It was great to see stats about the impact of engagement, as this gives me the business case to invest more time and money in participant engagement Agency director It is incredible to now have a framework we can work with to showcase our work and prove our value Corporate insights director
How to improve?
There was much to absorb throughout the day.  Given the wealth of actionable information, perhaps future GRBN workshops could concentrate on a single theme (ROI or Participant Engagement) rather than  cover both in one day? It would also have been nice to have had more time for the interactive workshop session. We learned that shared experiences was a major benefit of this event, and a bit more time to learn from others would have been beneficial. Kevin Menk Strategic Resource Partners