The Advancing Research 2021 program is—surprise!—research driven. Our curation team has interviewed a variety of industry thought leaders to identify important opportunities to advance the practice of research.

Read more about the story of the conference from Steve Portigal, one of our curators.

Theme 1

Researchers Thriving In The Organization

The researcher holds a singular position at any organization: they straddle the scientific and humanistic spheres of a company. They’re both the conscience and the auditor, connecting the worlds of academia and commerce. It’s this duality of purpose—both analytical and empathetic—that draws researchers to the field and allows them to effectively locate the right data, understand the stories behind them, and interpret meaning. But it can also make for a precarious existence. To thrive in the modern organization, the researcher needs to develop specific skills to help leverage their unique position as assets and become true leaders of the organization.

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Theme 2

Research as Applied and Evolving Practice

We’re great at listening and empathizing, but as we create design and tech solutions for the 21st century, our research practices must evolve. To develop strong research skills across our teams—and to become valued partners in our organizations—we must broaden our perspectives about human experiences to address a range of socially relevant problems. This track will explore the myriad ways we apply the practice of research, from rigorous methodology and measurement to outlining frameworks that are human-centric, as continuous evolution into experiences that reflect both innovation and inclusivity.

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Theme 3

Research Impacts the Organization

Impactful research must integrate the broadest and most diverse range of expertise, experiences, and perspectives across the range of user and customer experiences. How do we ensure that researchers know how to synthesize and connect the insights we generate with the strategic goals of the companies, leaders we work with, and equities for which we advocate—while not losing sight of human-centered values that brought us to the field in the first place?

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