█ At Ipsos, you work with massive amounts of information, with so much more processing and computational capacity than when you started. What are the most significant changes to the polling industry you have seen?
░ I’d say there are three.
The first one is that research innovation used to be driven principally by the academic community and by government. Research innovation is not driven by those groups as much as it used to be, and this is particularly true of global research. So this concept of “global measurement” has become a big area.
[A] whole information-gathering infrastructure has been built to practice social science
If you go back to the political culture or social research work that was done in the ’50s and ’60s, these were huge undertakings. Now, however, we can do studies on that scale each week—it’s not an overwhelming burden to actually collect data. Basically, a whole information-gathering infrastructure has been built to practice social science.
The second change is this idea of a global average, that you can now actually start measuring the world, and the resulting capacity to use public opinion research to reflect that common voice. That possibility never really existed before because the technology didn’t exist.
The third major change is that technology is invariably moving online. Most global research is now done online. We have more ways of contacting people these days than have ever been possible.