The Sarah DaVanzo Interview

April 19th, 2019

Sarah DaVanzo works at the intersection of innovation, marketing, branding, trends and culture. In her current role within the L’Oréal Group (USA), she has developed agile innovation methods to help brands sync with trends, anticipate change, improve relevance and design for the future.

In this podcast Luminaries editor Kay Corry Aubrey talked with Sarah about her work, the importance of curiosity and the methods she uses to detect trends that have led to a 73% futures prediction accuracy rate. Sarah suggests that we need to demystify AI. “I like to say AI is artificial ignorance – it’s not that smart. It’s basically taking in huge amounts of data links or data oceans and looking for patterns and trying to learn from those patterns. But humans have to train it still, so it’s years, hours, and so much human interaction to train AI into what to look for and what to see.”

The Barbara Rugen Interview

April 19th, 2019

In 2014 Barbara Rugen was a recently retired QRCA member. She and her husband joined the Peace Corps and were sent for two years to the African country of Namibia. As she now observers, “Never once did I think I would be called upon to use my qualitative background. To my surprise, I found that my skills could make a significant difference there.”

She primarily worked with the Nama, a population of marginalized communities within Namibia. There were a small number of Nama in positions of influence who wanted to uplift their people but were unsure how to do so. Barbara was able to provide assistance through qualitative sessions which explored Nama attitudes and behavior. The research provided insights to help these leaders frame recommendations for Nama capacity building and develop an action plan.

In this podcast we discuss the findings from these interesting explorations and what Barbara learned about conducting qualitative research for the capacity building of marginalized populations.

While you’re on the podcast site, be sure to check out the archives for discussions with interesting folks and a variety of topics from Co-creation to becoming a Master Moderator.

Philip Denning, Cincinnati’s Director of Community & Economic Development

December 4th, 2018

In casual conversations with architects and developers, I’ve heard interesting accounts of exploratory meetings and interactions that are conducted with community stakeholders during a community planning process. Of interest is the work of Philip Denning, our guest on this edition of the VIEWS Podcast. Prior to joining the City of Cincinnati, where he is director of Community and Economic Development, Phil’s work for a New Orleans architecture and planning firm involved him with vital community engagement projects post-hurricane Katrina.  Beyond the world of marketing, it’s qualitative research in action.

These community meetings are often very large group sessions. Listeners will note the tie-in with the March 2018 VIEWS podcast with Missy Carvin about the World Café Technique.

And speaking of previous podcasts, be sure to check out the archives for discussions with interesting folks and a variety of topics from co-creation to becoming a master moderator.

The Joseph Coughlin Interview

September 20th, 2018

In 1900 the average American lived to age 47, today this average has increased over 30 years to 79. By 2050 21% of the US population will be over 65 and this aging trend is worldwide. Yet, outside of sleeker looking adult diapers and products that help people when they fall and can’t get up, consumer product companies have largely ignored this cohort even though their spending power is $8 trillion dollars in the United States alone.

Joseph F. Coughlin is the Founder and Director of the MIT AgeLab, which for the past twenty years has focused on creating new ideas, products and services that help people live fully productive and engaged lives as they age. Joseph also recently published the highly acclaimed “The Longevity Economy: Unlocking the World’s Fastest Growing, Most Misunderstood Market”, which explores the insights on aging and the business opportunities that he and his team have discovered since the AgeLab was founded in 2009.

In this podcast Luminaries editor Kay Corry Aubrey sat and talked with Joseph, to learn more about his work and ideas as well as the innovative techniques he and his team use to learn from older people around the world.

Missy Carvin

March 9th, 2018

In the latest episode, QRCA Views Podcast Editor Foster interviews Missy Carvin from New Directions Consulting, Inc., about her experiences using the World Café process for finding deeper connections with others.

Recalling a presentation of this technique at a QRCA conference, Foster called on Missy’s expertise to assist him with the development of several successful client workshops during the past year.

The World Café is a fascinating approach to holding conversations with meaning. In this structured but flexible methodology, participants are able to explore Questions That Matter; whether those questions are related to great social change, uncovering consumer motivations, or planning for the future of a group or organization. Missy has successfully facilitated several World Café conversations, for a range of not-for-profit organizations.

The World Café podcast just may whet your appetite for the use of this technique. Join us at

John Seigel Boettner

June 26th, 2017

In the latest episode, QRCA Views Podcast Editor Mike interviews John Seigel Boettner from Teen Press, an organization started at Santa Barbara Middle School that helps middle school aged kids learn the ins and outs of conducting interviews.

The story of Teen Press is quite unique. John is a film buff and often uses film as a teaching aid. Years ago, when the Santa Barbara International Film Festival was coming to town, John wanted to give his students a chance to talk to some influential filmmakers so he them apply for press credentials and taught them some interviewing skills; but one important lesson he impressed upon his fledgling journalists was to go beyond the questions that Hollywood types get asked all the time; Who are you wearing? What’s your relationship status? What’s it like working with so and so? Instead, he wanted his kids to uncover what these people are like as human beings. And that’s why, at one red carpet event, they handed Amy Adams a burrito!

John, and some of his former students, presented at the QRCA Annual Conference in January of 2017 where they inspired attendees with their unique approach to interviewing celebrities on the red carpet. Our QRCA Views Podcast Editor Mike Carlon caught up with John after the conference and recorded this interview. We hope you enjoy it.


Steve August

March 9th, 2017

In the latest episode, QRCA Views Podcast Editor Mike interviews Steve August, Chief Marketing Officer of FocusVision, about the history and future of qualitative research.

A true visionary, Steve is a digital and mobile qualitative research pioneer. He created Revelation in 2007, the trailblazing online platform for mobile diaries, insight communities and bulletin boards. Revelation was acquired by FocusVision in 2014.

With all that success, you might think that Steve’s career started in research, but you would be wrong. Before Revelation, Steve was a singer/songwriter with a pretty eclectic background. He was a dude in the truest sense of the word who suffered from, as he calls it, career attention deficit disorder. He was into clay animation, video documentary, and webmastering in the very early days of the Internet as a commercial medium.  Prior to helping his wife Kimberly, in the market research business, he was in museum exhibit development.

But I think it is people with those types of backgrounds who have the ability to see the world just a bit differently than the rest of us, who can spot problems that the rest of us can’t see and have the ability to put thought into action in order to pursue solutions.

Listen up as Mike and Steve talk about the history of online qualitative research, the rise of mobile as a qualitative research vehicle, and the future of hybrid online/face to face qualitative research.

Marc Engel and Pascal Patenaude

December 28th, 2016

Marc (Left) and Pascal (Right)

Listen in as QRCA Views Podcast Editor Mike Carlon interviews Marc Engel and Pascal Patenaude on applying the art of improv in qualitative marketing research.

Marc was in two improve/sketch comedy troupes in LA with a name you might recognize, Kristin Wiig. He is also a standup comic. Pascal studied improv as part of his training at the National Theatre School of Canada. Listen as they discuss the practical applications of improv in the qualitative process including role-playing in workshops, reliving experiences with a product or brand, and in ideation.

You will walk away with the knowledge that at the heart of improv is the willingness to embrace things that many of us find discomforting including making mistakes, taking risks, and opening oneself up to vulnerability; kind of sounds like what we do as moderators! Also, consider that great qualitative researchers are those who are full of wonder, have a passion for following their noses, and generally enjoy pursuing some kind of truth. These same characteristics are also true of successful improvisers. As such, the idea of a marriage between improv and qualitative marketing research may not sound so strange after all.

Jen Golbeck Interview

September 9th, 2016

jen-smallListen in as QRCA Views Podcast Editor Mike interviews Jennifer Golbeck from the College of Information Studies at the University of Maryland.

If you are in the majority, you share a lot of your own life on social media; services such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram account for a significant amount of Internet traffic and people are sharing massive amounts of data about themselves, their attitudes, and their brand preferences through these services.  In the marketing community there are what seem to be never-ending arguments about how this active and passive sharing of data by consumers will impact the research industry and Jen Golbeck certainly has a point of view on it but it may not be what you think!

In this podcast you will hear Jennifer’s point of view that data collected from social media will enhance, rather than replace, most of the techniques that qualitative researchers use to understand behaviors and perceptions. To understand why she feels so strongly about this, you will have to listen in!

Randy Scher Interview

May 6th, 2016

Listen in as QRCA Views Podcast Editor Mike Carlon interviews Randy Scher of iPowering Motivation about the use of hypnosis in qualitative research.  In this interview, Randy dispels some common myths around hypnosis and discusses its practical applications in qualitative research. For example, as people can remember things vividly while “in state,” Randy discusses how memories of early brand experiences can be shared and how stories of those experiences can help brands better understand the relationships they have with consumers.  Hypnosis also helps to uncover brand associations below the level of conscious thought, where modern neuroscience suggest most brand decisions come from.

Randy is a former Consumer and Market Insight Director at Unilever and championed the practice of using hypnosis in qualitative research to better understand Unilever brand experiences.  He now runs iPowering Motivation, a consultancy designed to drive attitude & behavior change to solidify Brand Growth & Loyalty through unique and powerful targeted Consumer programs.  An accomplished musician, Randy now resides in the West Palm Beach area of South Florida and can learn more about Randy and iPowering Motivation by visiting