In conversation with Lindsay Wright, Director at Incite

In continuation of our popular ‘in conversation with’ series, we recently caught up with Director Lindsay Wright, who shared with us why she loves working in research and her advice for those new to the sector – as well sharing the new habit she’s trying to form, and some surprising skills!

Grab a cup of tea and read on…

1/ What led you to a career in insight?

I found market research accidentally, whilst seeking opportunities for my sandwich year during my degree. I immediately knew it was right for me though, essentially because I am a nosy person who likes to know about everything! I need evidence and balanced arguments to make decisions, so it was a perfect fit. I spent 12 months as a research assistant with Nestlé UK, learning how insights are uncovered and implemented in organisations, then completed my final year at university before heading out into the world of market research.

2/ What’s a mistake you made early in your career, and what did you learn from it? 

I remember making a mistake when setting the controls on sampling, which led to the wrong composition of people being interviewed. My learning? Preparation is key – as Benjamin Franklin said, “by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” Check absolutely everything at the set-up stage… because rubbish in = rubbish out. A more amusing hiccup that I recall was with translation for international research, so now I always think carefully about how our English phrasing might be mistranslated. We had a statement in a survey about valuing the natural environment, with the descriptor “fitting into nature”. The translation came back literally as “being camouflaged” … fortunately, our back translation quality procedures caught that one!

3/ What advice would you give to a newbie?  

As a junior exec, my boss at the time said to me “If it looks interesting, it’s probably wrong!”. I wouldn’t go that far, as insights professionals we enjoy our job precisely because we find out interesting things. But what I would say is always ask “why?”. Delve deeper, cross check and validate, and collaborate with others to get a rounded perspective. Curiosity is key for success in our business.

4/ What’s one thing you’re learning now, or learned recently?  

Having joined Incite in the past year, it’s been great to meet and work with many smart people who each bring a new perspective. One thing I particularly like about working within Incite is our consultancy toolkit for bringing structured ways of thinking to the challenges that business share with us. I’ve really enjoyed practising and honing my skills in applying these ways of thinking to the understanding of a problem, the design of a solution and the development of compelling, action-oriented narratives.

5/ How do you organise your day?  

Towards the end of the day, I like to check my calendar for tomorrow’s meetings and do a quick list of the things that need to be achieved so I know what’s coming and I can log off with a clear mind. In the morning, I first work through any unread emails, add to my to do list and then triage and prioritise, allocating a time during the day, or a day later in the week to get things done. I live by lists – if it’s not on a list, it doesn’t get done. I re-evaluate my plan throughout the day and try to only read emails at set points to avoid distractions.

6/ Are you an early bird or a night owl?  

I would say a night owl. I’m known in the office for late lunching. Then there’s lots to get done at home after work, and this often results in a late dinner and bedtime!

7/ What’s one thing you’re currently trying to make a habit?  

A colleague recently shared Dr Michael Mosley’s book and podcast “Just One Thing: how simple changes can transform your life”. I’m trying one that he mentions – to ensure that I stand up for 2-3 minutes every hour. Like many others, I could easily spend 10 hours sitting each day, but getting out of your chair is said to raise your heart rate, lower blood sugar and burn a surprising amount of calories as well as protecting your bones and posture. I’m trying to combine this with “micro-breaks”, which can improve creativity and productivity.

8/ What topic could you give an hour-long presentation on with little to no preparation?  

How to put up a tent, tie a waterproof bedroll and light a fire for dinner. All skills I learned as a Girl Guide on group camp, and which I now share with the girls I volunteer with as a leader within Girlguiding. It’s about helping girls discover the best in themselves and developing their skills and confidence through fun, friendship, challenge and adventure, empowering them to make a difference as they go through life. And I’m still learning too; growing and having adventures through the time I spend with the Guides.

If you fancy a chat about how to put up a tent, please get in touch.