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Celebrating Change
65 Years
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For some, evolution, or “change,” represents a wonderful opportunity; for many others, it poses a grave challenge to the accepted norm; but for all of us, such change is now an undeniable and omnipresent element of daily life.

Celebrating Change
Finn Raben

In the 18th century, the Scottish enlightenment movement expounded “adapt or die” as the basis of social progress, an idea picked up by Erasmus Darwin, an English physician of that period and a key thinker in the English Midlands enlightenment movement. It was his grandson–Charles–who then adopted and adapted this concept to biology, and thus was born the theory of evolution.

For some, evolution, or “change,” represents a wonderful opportunity; for many others, it poses a grave challenge to the accepted norm; but for all of us, such change is now an undeniable and omnipresent element of daily life. As developments in technology, travel, media and communication enable us to bring the world closer together, faster, more regularly and more frequently, “change”–ironically–becomes the constant, common denominator of life that we need to celebrate more!
The challenge for “change” is that the human condition is pre-wired to reject it. We are much happier in ‘the comfort zone,’ doing things ‘as we’ve always done’ and decrying the fact that things are no longer ‘as they used to be.’ Yet, we must acknowledge that positive societal, cultural and technological development is almost always associated with disruptive change: the collapse of the Berlin wall, the “Arab Spring” of 2011 and the democratisation of mobile media are a selection of events from modern history that illustrate this particular fact. The market research industry is undergoing a similar period of positive disruption. Whether you wish to identify the primary catalyst of this change as globalisation, the rise and rise of the internet, the recent economic crisis or something else entirely, I will leave the choice to you. The fact is that our industry is experiencing an unprecedented period of change and will continue to do so to meet the ever-evolving needs of our clients.
To keep pace with these developments in our industry, ESOMAR has also had to evolve. The association today happily embraces an ever broader range of responsibilities on behalf of its members, across more borders and in many different markets than ever before. Who would have thought we would be where we are now, when the association was founded 65 years ago?
During this time of evolution within our association, we are very proud to have marked one thing that has NOT changed… namely, the constant desire of ESOMAR members to embrace, discuss and sometimes provoke the necessary change to keep our industry vibrant and relevant. As part of our 65th anniversary celebrations, I am both delighted and honoured to present you with this collection of essays from just a small sample of the large number of researchers worldwide who encourage, apply and celebrate such change in our industry and beyond.
As Robert F. Kennedy once said: “Few will have the greatness to bend history itself; but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total of all those acts will be written the history of this generation.” I hope this collection of provocative thinking may inspire you to change an even bigger portion of events in our industry, and celebrate the key role our industry can play!

Warmest regards,

Finn Raben
ESOMAR director general

Date of publication:April 2012

ISBN: 9283102576

Order Code: CELEBRATING CHANGE

Number of pages: 128