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

Research is now omnipresent. Every modern organization has a research practice, and with increased democratization of research comes a huge level of responsibility. That means we need to evolve to include new practices, while sticking to the core pillars that define good research. But, which practices are sacred and which need to be changed? How do we stay innovation-driven, yet focused on socially-relevant experiences? And how do we ensure the kinds of insights we’re generating are at once inclusive and representative? The solution is right in front of us: by celebrating the rigorous, human-centered focus that informs research practice, we can ensure responsible research and tell a more holistic story.

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Theme 3

Research Impacts the Organization

What does truly impactful research look like? Who does it touch, and how can we assess its effect? Put simply, the goal is nothing short of organizational and social transformation. That often translates to profits, but growth needs to be a result and not the sole rationale. Research cannot progress without shining a harsh light on every inequity in our process and acting upon them. And change needs to be implemented with an interdisciplinary approach to transform the organization. It’s only when everyone has equal footing in the process that we can be human-centered and focused on usability, while remaining inclusive and anti-racist and make large-scale and impactful change.

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