FOCI Speaker Spotlight: John Havens

We recently sat down with Future
of Consumer Intelligence 2014
keynote speaker John Havens, who is also founder
of The H(app)athon Project, Author of “HACKING H(APP)INESS- Why Your Personal Data Counts and How Tracking
it Can Change the World.” Havens discussed with us the importance of the humanization of data, the
impact of technology on market research, 
the new buzzword ‘data science,’ among much more.
Havens has recognized and experienced, first hand, the
evolutionary changes happening in the market industry as of late. We are
fortunate to have him share this critical insight with our FOCI community. This year, FOCI explores the emerging role of decision
science and the convergence of knowledge points – insights, foresights, social
science, marketing science and intelligence with technology as a central driving
force and profound connector.
We are barraged by information – and within this sea of data
we must remember to think of the problem we are trying to solve and how we can
we use this convergence of information to better understand people.  Translating the new “understanding”
into future opportunities means that the role of a researcher is changing. FOCI
accelerates disruptive innovators in the research space and pushes people to
take risks, to think outside of traditional research methods and insights
gathering and explore new and alternative tools and technologies. FOCI will
bridge the gap between what people say they are going to do and what they
actually do.
Here is what Havens had to say:
IIR: A big theme
of this year’s conference is ‘humanization of data.’ Why do you think
understanding PEOPLE (not consumers) presents an opportunity for strategic
Havens: Defining
someone as a “consumer” already defines them by a behavior
(consuming) versus measuring them in the larger context of wellbeing or other
metrics.  People do a lot in their lives outside of purchasing/consuming
so taking these things into account (health, happiness, career) provides a lot
of opportunity for strategic action.
IIR: How is
technology not only changing how we do things, but also how we understand the
world, business, and people?
Havens: Technology
can be a lens to see people in a new light.  Literally, this can happen
with something like Google Glass or similar augmented reality
technologies.  While there are huge opportunities for positive change with
these technologies and how they’ll help improve our lives, it’s also critically
important at this juncture in time to analyze the ethical implications of these
types of tools today.  The lenses or filters we choose to view the world
through can narrow our vision as much as expand it.  
IIR: How has
consumer intelligence strategy and action planning helped drive your business?
Havens: In my
current work, I’m focused on measuring individual and collective
wellbeing.  We’re not focusing specifically on consumers.  However,
gaining analytical insights based on subjective wellbeing (how people rate
their wellbeing/happiness) and other similar data drives the foundation of what
we do.
IIR: How has the
role of ‘the researcher’ changed?

Havens: In
regards to analytics, research can now be done with large data sets of existing
information versus creating customized surveys and individual research. 
So in many ways, in those types of situations, “researchers” are
becoming “analysts.”
IIR: Describe a
situation where you’ve taken a risk or thought outside the box of tradition
market research methods. How did that benefit your business?
Havens: We’re
still young in our work/research, but our use of passive sensors in mobile
phones is what we hope will distinguish our work in the wellbeing arena. This
type of work has not been done that much yet to the best of our knowledge.
IIR: Where do you
see the emerging space of marketing science and role of data scientists in the
next five years?
Havens: I think
IT and marketing departments will essentially become as one pretty soon. 
And they should.  There’s currently a huge disconnect between CMO’s and
CIO’s and how those two departments can effectively communicate and work
IIR: How has the
increasingly connected consumer affected market research?
Havens: How have
they not?  There’s more data than ever before contributed not just
directly by consumers.
Want to hear more
from John in person? Join him at Future of Consumer
Intelligence 2014
in Los Angeles, CA in May. To learn more about the event
and register, click here:
John Havens 

About the Author:
Amanda Ciccatelli, Social Media Strategist of the Marketing Division at IIR USA, has a background in digital and
print journalism, covering a variety of topics in business strategy, marketing,
and technology. Amanda is the Editor at Large for several of IIR’s blogs
including Next Big DesignCustomers 1st, and ProjectWorld and World Congress for Business
, and a regular contributor to Front End of Innovation and The Market Research Event,.
She previously worked at Technology Marketing Corporation as a Web Editor where
she covered breaking news and feature stories in the technology industry. She
can be reached at Follow her at @AmandaCicc.