Mindlab

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Mindlab's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Mindlab is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

www.themindlab.co.uk

THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
44 | MINDLAB
Managing Director Duncan Smith
The Mindlab team at the
Brighton Office
Mindlab is a fundamentally new type of market research
company. Essentially, they are scientists working in
the area of consumer decision-making, predominantly
in the areas of brand research, advertising effectiveness and
product research. The purpose that drives them is uncovering the
real motivations of consumer behaviour. Most market research
relies on opinion surveys, working on the premise that people
know why they behave the way they do. Mindlab, however,
believe the contrary: that many of our true motivations are
concealed from consciousness. On that basis, they don’t simply
ask people what they think, but instead measure “gut feelings”
and “intuitive responses”, as these offer a more accurate insight
into human behaviour. Managing Director Duncan Smith tells
The Parliamentary Review
more.
Our goal is to help our clients understand what motivates their customers’ behaviour,
with a view to helping them get the most out of their products or services. We work
with clients such as Diageo, Walgreens Boots, Colgate-Palmolive and Channel 4, as
well as charities such as the RNIB and the RSPCA.
We have driven and passionate young staff, and, being based in Brighton at the
Sussex Innovation Centre, we have employed many Sussex graduates over the
years. In this day and age, empowered and engaged staff show a strong preference
for working for a company that has social and ethical values that align with their
own. To ensure we are part of this change, we are using profit to champion our
FACTS ABOUT
MINDLAB
»Managing Director:
DuncanSmith
»Founded in 2005
»Located in Brighton, East
Sussex
»Services: Brand, advertising
and product consumer insight
»No. of employees: 23
Mindlab
45MINDLAB |
DIGITAL, CULTURE, MEDIA & SPORT
innovative tools, which promote
meaningful social change, and,
alongside this, we are conducting pro
bono research for charities close to
ourhearts.
Conscious and unconscious
thinking
The psychology of decision-making
is now considered in most large-
scale consumer insight projects. The
fundamental idea underlying our
approach at Mindlab is the distinction
between “System 1” and “System
2”, which was developed by the
Nobel prize-winning economist Daniel
Kahneman and popularised in his
book,
Thinking, Fast and Slow
System 2 refers to the rational,
conscious and deliberate strategies we
use to make decisions, such as making
a list of pros and cons. System 1, on
the other hand, comprises a set of
quick and dirty rules of thumb which
the brain uses when it doesn’t have
time to use System 2. Over the last
century, psychologists, neuroscientists
and economists have identified many
of these heuristic strategies and
investigated the ways in which they
drive our decisions.
Shopping is driven largely by System 1.
Whether online or in-store, customers
are confronted with an incalculable
number of different options and
factors to consider. With each
product embedded in a competitive
marketplace, it’s only those that grab
your attention and appear superior
that survive. Confronted with such an
overload of information, the shopper
does not have nearly enough time to
make each choice in a rational and
deliberate way and must therefore
fall back on the automatic and
unconscious strategies.
This poses a problem for traditional
market research, for System 1
operates largely outside our conscious
awareness. If, therefore, we simply ask
consumers why they decide to buy a
given item, their answers will not reveal
the true drivers of their behaviour.
Mindlab combines such “explicit”
approaches with newer methods that
identify implicit attitudes. For example,
we get people to make lots of quick,
simple decisions under time pressure.
By measuring the speed and accuracy
of their responses, we can infer how
confident they are in their choices and
identify the associated concepts that
underlie theiropinions.
How do we cope with
35,000 decisions a day?
Whether online
or in-store,
customers are
confronted with
an incalculable
number of
different options
and factors to
consider
BEST PRACTICE REPRESENTATIVE 2019
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
44 | MINDLAB
Managing Director Duncan Smith
The Mindlab team at the
Brighton Office
Mindlab is a fundamentally new type of market research
company. Essentially, they are scientists working in
the area of consumer decision-making, predominantly
in the areas of brand research, advertising effectiveness and
product research. The purpose that drives them is uncovering the
real motivations of consumer behaviour. Most market research
relies on opinion surveys, working on the premise that people
know why they behave the way they do. Mindlab, however,
believe the contrary: that many of our true motivations are
concealed from consciousness. On that basis, they don’t simply
ask people what they think, but instead measure “gut feelings”
and “intuitive responses”, as these offer a more accurate insight
into human behaviour. Managing Director Duncan Smith tells
The Parliamentary Review
more.
Our goal is to help our clients understand what motivates their customers’ behaviour,
with a view to helping them get the most out of their products or services. We work
with clients such as Diageo, Walgreens Boots, Colgate-Palmolive and Channel 4, as
well as charities such as the RNIB and the RSPCA.
We have driven and passionate young staff, and, being based in Brighton at the
Sussex Innovation Centre, we have employed many Sussex graduates over the
years. In this day and age, empowered and engaged staff show a strong preference
for working for a company that has social and ethical values that align with their
own. To ensure we are part of this change, we are using profit to champion our
FACTS ABOUT
MINDLAB
»Managing Director:
DuncanSmith
»Founded in 2005
»Located in Brighton, East
Sussex
»Services: Brand, advertising
and product consumer insight
»No. of employees: 23
Mindlab
45MINDLAB |
DIGITAL, CULTURE, MEDIA & SPORT
innovative tools, which promote
meaningful social change, and,
alongside this, we are conducting pro
bono research for charities close to
ourhearts.
Conscious and unconscious
thinking
The psychology of decision-making
is now considered in most large-
scale consumer insight projects. The
fundamental idea underlying our
approach at Mindlab is the distinction
between “System 1” and “System
2”, which was developed by the
Nobel prize-winning economist Daniel
Kahneman and popularised in his
book,
Thinking, Fast and Slow
System 2 refers to the rational,
conscious and deliberate strategies we
use to make decisions, such as making
a list of pros and cons. System 1, on
the other hand, comprises a set of
quick and dirty rules of thumb which
the brain uses when it doesn’t have
time to use System 2. Over the last
century, psychologists, neuroscientists
and economists have identified many
of these heuristic strategies and
investigated the ways in which they
drive our decisions.
Shopping is driven largely by System 1.
Whether online or in-store, customers
are confronted with an incalculable
number of different options and
factors to consider. With each
product embedded in a competitive
marketplace, it’s only those that grab
your attention and appear superior
that survive. Confronted with such an
overload of information, the shopper
does not have nearly enough time to
make each choice in a rational and
deliberate way and must therefore
fall back on the automatic and
unconscious strategies.
This poses a problem for traditional
market research, for System 1
operates largely outside our conscious
awareness. If, therefore, we simply ask
consumers why they decide to buy a
given item, their answers will not reveal
the true drivers of their behaviour.
Mindlab combines such “explicit”
approaches with newer methods that
identify implicit attitudes. For example,
we get people to make lots of quick,
simple decisions under time pressure.
By measuring the speed and accuracy
of their responses, we can infer how
confident they are in their choices and
identify the associated concepts that
underlie theiropinions.
How do we cope with
35,000 decisions a day?
Whether online
or in-store,
customers are
confronted with
an incalculable
number of
different options
and factors to
consider
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
46 | MINDLAB
Growing pains
There are many strains on a company
as it grows, and every area has its own
challenges – one, which was key to
our success, was to work out how all
teams here work and collaborate. We
painstakingly dissected the process
from proposal to debrief, looking at
how we can improve all aspects of
how we operate. Documenting and
streamlining processes helped us
through the times when our workload
was at maximum capacity.
One of our biggest challenges has
been maintaining the right company
culture with increasing staff numbers.
When there were only a handful of us,
it was easy to articulate our personality
and what we stood for. As the
company grew to 20 members of staff,
however, we needed to determine a
collective vision of what Mindlab is
and where we want to be. With expert
guidance, we collectively determined
what we want our culture to be and
what we need to do to get there.
At the heart of this vision is our
determination to make Mindlab the
most trusted market research company
in our sector, with the parallel goal of
leading by innovating. Our passion for
this industry means that it’s more than
just about the money; we genuinely
want to understand people in order to
help people. Our clients should enjoy
a friendly working relationship with
us, and when they challenge us, they
create opportunities for us in terms of
recommendation and repeat custom.
Planning for a future world
We are fortunate to have doubled
turnover year-on-year since 2015,
reaching a current turnover of £2.2
million – and we have done this,
moreover, sustainably (a value we take
seriously). We are focused on tripling
the number of key accounts and plan
to embed ourselves yet further within
the companies we currently work and
partner with.
We will expand our company through
technical innovation and an inbound
marketing strategy based around
educating potential clients – treating
them as partners from the start. We
are also investing heavily (in terms of
both time and passion) in our testing
platform, which allows us to test
perceptions and attitudes globally.
This intelligent platform learns about
people as we interact with them. We
look at every component so we can
make it quicker, more intelligent and
more effective.
Our customised toolchain for conducting
online experiments continues to develop
as an automated analysis engine with
AI support. It is designed to run across
all media platforms alongside our
software, which acts as a factory for
building web applications customised to
any given experiment. We will continue
to innovate by making test creation and
analysis scalable, intuitive and faster.
Our capabilities are now limited only by
our imagination and what is possible in
a web browser.
Our aim is to transition from being
a market research company into
a combined research agency and
technology provider. Both local and
global partnerships will be critical to
sustained growth, so we are keen for
effective collaborations in what we
know will be an exciting journey.
We will expand
our company
through
technical
innovation and
an inbound
marketing
strategy based
around
educating
potential
clients
With so much choice
on offer, people use
mental shortcuts when
shopping
47SEVENTH ART PRODUCTIONS |
DIGITAL, CULTURE, MEDIA & SPORT
Co-director Amanda Wilkie
Our Brighton offices
Seventh Art Productions is one of the oldest independent
production companies in the country and is the largest
independent producer of art and history films in the world.
The company has made over 250 films, many of which are iconic
and groundbreaking. Writer, director and producer Phil Grabsky,
internationally renowned for his award-winning documentaries,
leads the enterprise with an ambition of mixing the new with the
old. He and his co-director Amanda Wilkie tell
The Parliamentary
Review
that, in the UK today, too many young people are not
taught enough about history and art, which greatly limits the
full range of their potential creative and social experience. First,
though, they discuss what is meant by best practice.
For decades we have been making documentaries that have featured on every major
UK and international television channel. More recently, they have also featured
around the world in cinemas. Our ambition is, and always has been, to make
extremely well-crafted films that inform, entertain and inspire. The films we produce
cover a wide array of subjects, including classical music, fine art and history, as
well as social and global issues. In recent years, we have become the pre-eminent
independent producer of art films for cinema, television and digital platforms.
In the 1990s, many in the entertainment industry – including our domestic
broadcasters – believed that art films were commercially moribund, that there was no
audience, but we saw things otherwise. Passion and artistic flare have the power both
to attract the existing audience (which we know exists) and to create new audiences,
whatever the subject matter. We stuck resolutely to our mission and, gradually,
FACTS ABOUT
SEVENTH ART PRODUCTIONS
»Co-directors: Phil Grabsky and
Amanda Wilkie
»Founded in 1984
»Located in Brighton
»Services: Film production and
distribution
»No. of employees: 16
»The originator of the global
cinema brand EXHIBTION ON
SCREEN
»Its four films on Mozart,
Haydn, Beethoven and Chopin
are widely regarded as among
the finest ever made
»exhibitiononscreen.com
»seventh-art.com
Seventh Art
Productions

www.themindlab.co.uk

This article was sponsored by Mindlab. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Michael Gove.

Rt Hon Michael Gove's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Michael Gove

This year's Parliamentary Review comes at a momentous time for parliament, as we collectively determine the destiny of the United Kingdom. 

On October 31, the UK will leave the European Union. The successful implementation of this process is this government's number-one priority.

Three years after a historic referendum vote, we will deliver on the decisive mandate from the British people. Trust in our democracy depends on it. Until that final hour, we will work determinedly and diligently to negotiate a deal, one that abolishes the backstop and upholds the warm and close relationship we share with our friends, allies and neighbours in the EU. But in the event that the EU refuses to meet us at the table, we must be prepared to leave without a deal.

As the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, it is my job to lead on this government's approach, should that scenario happen. Preparing for Brexit is my department's driving mission. But while I am leading this turbocharged effort, the whole of government is committed to this endeavour.

Ministers across Whitehall are working together to ensure that every possibility is considered, every plan is scrutinised and every provision is made. A daily drumbeat of meetings means that we are holding departments accountable, so that preparations are completed on time.

The chancellor has confirmed that all necessary funding will be made available. And we have mobilised thecivil service, assigning 15,000 of our most talented civil servants to manage our exit from the EU.

We will make sure that on November 1, there is as little disruption to national life as possible. Our trade relationships will continue to thrive, thanks to agreements with countries around the world worth £70 billion. Our country will remain secure, thanks to nearly 1,000 new officers posted at our borders. And the 3.2 million EU nationals now living and working among us can remain confident, with absolute certainty, of their right to remain in the UK.

Above all, our goal is to be transparent. Soon, we will launch a public information campaign so that citizens, communities and businesses are ready and reassured about what will happen in the event of “no deal”.

In my first few weeks in this role, I have travelled to ports and tarmacs, borders and bridges, all across the UK –from the seaside of Dover to the rolling green hills of County Armagh. I have heard from business owners and border officials, farmers and hauliers. They are ready to put an end to uncertainty. And they are ready to embrace the opportunities ahead.

Our departure from the EU will be a once in a lifetime chance to chart a new course for the United Kingdom. Preparing for that new course will be a herculean effort. But this country has made astounding efforts before. We can do it again.
Rt Hon Michael Gove
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster