Environics began as a start-up focused on public affairs polling. These days, however, we go a lot deeper than that traditional public opinion work. We’re focused on understanding how governments and corporations can engage the public and engage communities, so our work in Corporate and Public Affairs is more complex and more effective. And of course we now have specialists in a wider range of fields, who understand the challenges our clients are facing in particular industries, and use research-driven insights to help them solve problems and succeed.
It’s hard to imagine now but when I was a kid, you didn’t know what other ordinary people thought. You could talk to people you knew personally, but mostly you just heard from people who had a platform: columnists and politicians. So I was attracted to surveys as a unique window onto my society.
Over time the research field has only gotten more interesting. The tools we have today—like our social values survey methodology—are much richer than anything I imagined early in my career. And the social values approach in particular has a huge number of applications. Whether it’s in Consumer Insights or in our Health and Pharma practice, we can use values to really get underneath people’s attitudes and behaviours and understand the “why.” And of course with the computation power we all have now, possibilities for new angles and insights are proliferating all the time. Our proprietary platforms MDConnect and PatientConnect, for instance, are bringing a level of clarity to the health care market that would not have been possible even a few years ago.
Like many businesses, ours has changed a lot in response to this environment of incredible connectivity and many-to-many communication we all now inhabit. Surveys can still have a lot of value depending on what you’re trying to achieve, but a research-driven consultancy like ours has a lot more tools in the toolbox than we used to. In our Digital Innovations practice, for instance, we’re solving complex business problems by leveraging combinations of primary research, broader market research, and tools that track public conversations. We say “a survey if necessary but not necessarily a survey.”