Breaking down siloed working to bring greater industry collaboration

Day One Podcast: Insights Room 101

Episode 04: Crispin Beale

On The Day One podcast – Insights Room 101, hosted by Hannah Mann, our guests describe three of their worst insight industry pet peeves and aims to lock one of them away forever in Room 101, much like the popular British TV show.

On the fourth episode we have, Senior Strategic Advisor and Special Advisor at mTab and Behaviorally – Crispin Beale. Crispin walks through three trends in insights culture that he wishes to banish away forever. He describes each of the three and offers his opinion on how we could solve these irksome problems in the insights world. The main pet peeves Crispin describes are: acronyms, the abuse of artificial intelligence, and silo mentality. For each of the three pet peeves, Crispin describes his own experience and offers reasons why the world of market research would be better without these banes.

Sharing some highlights from his career, Crispin talks about some of the organisations and charities he helped found. He’s most proud of a project where he helped raise millions of pounds for the NSBCC, a children’s fund, and presented it at Buckingham Palace to a great response. Crispin also shares a funny story from his early career where he was trying to market broadband when it was still a new technology. He remembers one particularly eager survey respondent who wrote that he was excited to purchase “broadbean.” Also come to find out that that person didn’t even have internet access, so it’s likely their marketing efforts sort of fell flat on that one.

For his first item to be banished into Room 101, Crispin chooses acronyms, which are the “bugbear” of his life, he says. For example, NPS refers to the net performance score, but that’s not enough, and the acronyms get longer to be applied to more things. Crispin thinks that plain language is just (if not more) effective than using a hodgepodge of acronyms that may be hard for people to understand. There is a misconception that people will think you’re more intelligent if you use jargon and big dictionary words. But in fact, research has shown that the opposite is true, and that you’re more likely to win over your audience to your intellect if you speak plainly, and in a language that’s simple to understand.

His second item to be tossed into the void is artificial intelligence—or, more aptly, the notion that artificial intelligence will act as a panacea for all society’s ills, and the adherents of that worldview. Crispin clarifies that he thinks A.I. itself is not necessarily the bane, but the people who think we won’t still need human engineers and researchers to contextualize the findings of artificial intelligence in the future. “It’s the people who are abusing it who are thrown in,” he says. The people who think they won’t need a human with business acumen on the other end that’s the problem. He even thinks that artificial intelligence adoption may need to be accelerated in the industries where it will help processes the most.

And for Crispin’s third and final bugbear to throw into the darkness of Room 101 forever, he chooses to remove what is called silo mentality. The biggest issue here is that people believe their issues are singular and local instead of global, which has businesses competing on the same issues rather than working together to beat them. One example of this (and probably the most important one) is about sustainable energy and mitigating the climate crisis. Crispin points to this as an interest that all companies have, and they should be working together on solutions to combat climate change instead of sinking their heels into a silo mentality.

Crispin hates single-use plastic more than anything else, and he wishes he could throw those into Room 101, too. He believes the government should step up and ban plastic shopping bags and straws. It’s up to us to make these changes if we want to correct climate change at all.

In the final moments, Crispin and Hannah both choose silo mentality to banish forever, saying “working together makes us stronger, and it’s the way forward.”

About – Crispin Beale:

A marketing, data, and customer experience expert, Crispin has served as CEO and board member at a whole host of companies across the UK. He’s even launched companies of his own and helped them turn their losses into profits. He’s an evidence junkie and is thrilled to make connections in the data. And somehow, Crispin also finds the time to tend to his llama, geese, and guinea fowl at his farm in North Downs.

 Relevant Links:

Crispin’s LinkedIn.