The New Frontier: Intro

The New Frontier: Intro

Vivivsum’s new blog series on innovation in Market Research by 2050


Over the next few months, we are going to be exploring where Market Research will develop by 2050. It would be an understatement to tell you that the field of Market Research is going to undergo some fundamental shifts in methodologies, underlying philosophy, and organizational relevance in the next 35 years. In fact, the field of market research is going to transform radically in a short amount of time thanks to the dawn of the Innovation Age. Before we dive into what these transformations will look like by 2050, we would like to explain where these transformations have emerged from.

How did we get here?

In the 20th century humans lived in a disconnected world before the invention of the microprocessor, computer, internet, and modern day cell phones. There was no Wikipedia, Skype, WhatsApp, Facebook, or Twitter to connect us.  We can see over time, with the development of the telegraph, telephone, and spread of radio how culture evolved to be more connected between marketers and consumers. It wasn’t until television became widespread in the 1960s that we began to see a true acceleration in the field of mass marketing.  Today consumers are connected through the Internet: a massively powerful, distributed, immediate, always on, peer-to-peer human network of trust and information.

The Innovation Age

Humans have made great advances since 1800 as we’ve come through the Industrial Age (1712-1950) to the Information Age—enabling human population to grow from 1 billion to 7.2 billion in just two centuries.

The Information Age began with the advent of commercially available computers in 1950 and ended with the start of the Innovation Age. Now, as we enter the Innovation Age (2016-2050), we are now entering the most exciting time in human history for creators and innovators. While we already have robots, 3D printing, self-driving cars, and customized medicine, and 50% of humanity with access to the internet… the Innovation Age promises more technological advancements than our minds can handle, literally.

The chart below shows a summary of the accelerated rate of technological progress we have seen in the past 500 years. Imagine this rate continuing the next 20 years…


Connectivity in 1995 was a copper phone line. Today it’s a Facebook live post that can mobilize 200,000 Facebook followers in just a few minutes. In the world of 1995 we had telephone booths, faxes, and desktop computers. In the world of 2015 we have cloud services for everything. Even our thermostat and dishwasher is connected through Bluetooth.


The world is moving from no-one having access, to only a few having access through direct-ownership, to everyone having access on-demand at a lower cost. No longer do we all need to own a car, have a land line, or even own a home. All we need is a laptop, a smartphone, and the cloud, and we can access any service anytime.


You can monitor your heart rate and sleep via a smartwatch.  You can check your blood sugar via Bluetooth-enabled smart contact lenses. Every device will be connected to the cloud and managed remotely. The “internet of things” has arrived.

Increases in the Spread of Ideas

The Industrial Age took 238 years, the Information Age 65 years, and The Innovation Age just 35 years.

The rate of progress is a function of the rate of ideas spreading, which itself is a function of the speed of communication and the depth and breadth of interconnection among our species.

Rate of Progress = F (Rate of Ideas Spreading)

Rate of Ideas Spreading = F (Speed of Communication Tools x Level of Species Interconnection)

And of course, the rate of ideas spreading across our species is faster than ever before due to rapid speeds of communication and a much greater depth and breadth of global interconnection than ever before.

The New Frontier of Market Research

This brings us to the new frontier of Market Research. We find ourselves as a tipping point for our field. Surrounded by questions, challenges, and opportunities. At Vivisum we are hearing this chatter from our clients. Here are just a few questions we are hearing to get you thinking:

  • What will market research become in the innovation age?
  • Will this new “innovation age” lead to the death or our field or rebirth for market research?
  • What does it mean that over 3.5 Billion humans now have access to the cloud?
  • How will automation, artificial intelligence, and machine learning change things?
  • Will the field see a decline due to technology?
  • Will our field be less “human”? Is it possible to automate human centered design?
  • Will we have data on top of data on top of data? Where will big data go?
  • With all the passive ways we can now collect data, what does this mean for market research and regulation?
  • How will we keep up with rising regulations on our field?
  • What happens to the project managers of our field? Will they be specialized? Generalized? Eliminated? Automated?
  • How will eye tracking and neuromarketing effect market research?
  • What role with market researchers play within their companies?
  • How will these new insights be actionable?

Over the next few months we are going to be examining these questions more in-depth. Including sharing our thoughts and points of view on how we believe the new frontier will develop. Our journey into this new frontier will begin with Vivisum’s insights on Market Research Technologies. Stay tuned in March for an in-depth look at some of the emerging technologies in market research.


  1. “Creating a Better World” by Founder of Hive, Ryan Allis and Contributors,
  2. “Internet Users as Percentage of Population.” World Bank. Google Public Data Explorer, n.d. Web. 16 Apr. 2014.
  3. “Planck Reveals an Almost Perfect Universe.” European Space Agency. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Apr. 2014.
  4. “History of the World in Two Hours.” YouTube. The History Channel, 23 Sept. 2012. Web. 18 Apr. 2014.
  5. Mortimer, Chambers; Hanawalt, Barbara, et al. The Western Experience, 8 th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2003. pp 474.
  6. Heilbroner, Robert L. The Worldly Philosophers. Page 25-31. New York: Touchstone. 1999.
Kelly Phoenix is a Senior Consultant and Head of Systems at Vivisum Partners. Her expertise is in strategic consulting, project management, PR, marketing, and business development. Email Kelly at kelly.phoenix@vivisumpartners.com