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Podcast: Horst Feldhaeuser on the ever-blurring line between humans and technology

On the first episode of our new market research podcast, Horst Feldhaeuser delves into that ever-blurring line between humans and tech, bringing insights from his 20+ years in the market research sector.

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On our first episode of our Now That's Significant, a market research podcast, we were joined by Horst Feldhaeuser, Infotools’ Group Services Director. Horst has more than two decades of experience in market research, marketing, and business consulting. He has been regularly approached for his views and insights in the market research sphere. During the interview, Horst delved into the ever-blurring link between humans and technology.


We asked him what the most significant thing that he would be discussing on the episode. He said that “if you're working in market research and insights and you're willing to use the power of technology you will probably still have a job in 10 to 20 years time.” He stated that with the rapid pace at which the industry is growing and evolving, those who aren’t willing to utilize technology to help them do their jobs might be left behind. He acknowledged: “I think for most of us, we will still have a role to play.”

He went on to explain further. Horst has long been a proponent of balancing human talent with the benefits of technology. Technology can’t replace what people bring to their jobs - ideas, intuition, feelings – which we use to make the best decisions we can. Technology can help to speed up and guide the process, but there always needs to be space for the human element. He gave a couple of examples from real-life in which the human touch and emotions can easily be lost, such as the production of music or AI-driven predictions for things like sports outcomes.

He said that what technology does do well is free us up to do what we’re “good at” by creating efficiencies and streamlining tasks. In market research, technology can do things like quickly sort the data, giving us giving us a time to play around and give us extra time to feed our curiosity to get at the real insights. It can handle repetitive, mundane tasks, and even give some guidance on where to dig in deeper for the answers in the data.

The truth is that companies do need to adopt new technologies to meet demands for speed and efficiency, but they really should go through the process with people in mind – making sure the “machines” complement the people. Horst recommended taking it one step at a time, finding out where each challenge or hurdle to adoption may lie, to minimize disruption. Instead of dumping a new system or process on people all at once, use a solution for a single project first, take those learnings, make improvements and then expand. He also says having senior leadership on board with new technology adoption and a dedicated project manager to smooth its implementation can help streamline the process.

To close, he talked about questions companies need to answer before they undergo a technology implementation. What are the biggest sticking points in my company's current workflow when it comes to delivering quality insights faster and at a better price? Where can new technology positively impact these key deliverables? What level of disruption are we comfortable with when it comes to adopting a new solution? And have we chosen a technology partner that can help us through that disruption? What about the people - do our current team members have the right skills and appetite for the new solution?

To hear more about balancing technology adoption with human skills and talent – listen to Horst on our podcast here: https://pod.co/now-thats-significant

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