FORMER UK prime minister Margaret Thatcher infamously proclaimed “there is no such thing as society” in 1987 but it is not an opinion futurist Mark McCrindle would share.
The social researcher, author and professional speaker has made a career out of analysing modern society’s trends and actions.
He is heading to Mornington this month to share some of his insights as a guest speaker as part of the Frankston and Mornington Peninsula Business Breakfast Series.
Mr McCrindle established McCrindle Research nine years ago and has made it his business to tell corporate clients and governments about societal shifts on the horizon.
The company conducts focus group research and collates and digs through data to make statistics clear to more than 100 corporate and government clients.
He regularly appears as a social research commentator in the press and on TV and radio on shows such as Channel Ten’s The Project, ABC News 24 and Channel Seven’s Sunrise.
“I was working towards a psychology degree and my goal back then was to become a psychologist but I actually preferred sociology more, looking at society rather than individuals,” he said.
“We try to help people understand the trends and changes to come. We all spend so long focused on what we’re doing now or the technical aspects of our industry that we forget to observe the changing external environment and technological shift.”
He said his presentation in Mornington is a good chance for businesspeople to find out how changing demographics, including the coming of age of those born from 1982 onwards, commonly referred to as Generation Y, will impact on their companies both as consumers and employees.
“[Companies] can suddenly find they’re good at what they do but they’re no longer relevant to the society we live in.”
Planning for change is essential for a business aiming to thrive in a technological advances and the rise of social media, according to Mr McCrindle.
McCrindle Research itself has had to adapt to change over the past decade.
“When we began as market researchers it was just all about statistics and reports but these days it’s about a ‘summary card’ to communicate to stakeholders and visual presentations and animated visuals … social media and multi-media presentations didn’t exist when we started.
“It’s about visualising stats – taking it out of percentages and pie charts – and communicating in a simple and a quick way rather than having to read through a table.”
McCrindle Research’s move to incorporate graphics and multi-media in its presentation of statistics gleaned through research has been recognised by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. The ABS awarded McCrindle Research a Statistics Excellence Award in 2013 for “excellence in using statistics in the media”.
The award came just two years after ABC’s Media Watch show questioned some of McCrindle Research’s survey methods in its earlier years.
Mr McCrindle is unfazed by the criticism.
“If you develop a career that’s out there, you’re going to have people who have a go. We’re all about conducting quality research.”
– Mark McCrindle will talk about Trends transforming the business landscape: thriving in times of unprecedented change at Mornington Racecourse on Tuesday 17 March, 7-9am.
The FMP Business Breakfast Series is hosted by Frankston Council, Mornington Peninsula Shire, Frankston Business Network, Monash University and Mornington Peninsula Regional Tourism. See frankstonbusinessnetwork.com.au/fmpbrekky for full details.