The impact of 'Impact 2017'
I love the MRS Conference. I love spending two days surrounded by my comrades. I love my annual catch-ups with the same people I always vow to have lunch with within the next 365 days, and then don’t. I feel lucky that it’s become part of my annual social (and intellectual) calendar.
I love the fact that however hard the organising committee strive (I assume) to lay ‘theme’ across submissions and sessions (this year it was Impact with a capital ‘I’), it’s often delightfully hijacked by global and local fissures along with the sheer will, velocity, and personality of the keynote speakers – who in my view were more stellar this year than ever before. Okay, it might have been cheaper to watch some TED talks or go to a ‘how to…’ event to see people like Oliver James, Caitlin Moran, Dan Snow, and Hannah Fry…but choosers shouldn’t be sniffy beggars.
The themes that bubbled up eloquently amongst the speakers and panellists (and are now simmering away in my intellect):
- You should say the word disruption a lot nowadays. If you say disruption with emphasis, you will look as if you are a disruptor. That makes you look like a jolly good thing and quite an important person. I am not very disruptive.
Note to self: work on that.
- Being ethical is also a jolly good thing. The more ethical you are, the more people will like you and the more they will buy your stuff if you are a big company.
Note to self: hone ethics.
- The internet might implode soon. Or it might not implode soon, but something has to happen at some point because all the famous people who are on the internet are tired of the lawless wild wester-y (or should that be Westeros?) of it all. I have yet to be trolled so I probably shouldn’t complain.
Note to self: don’t comment – just in case.
- Being a woman is another good thing. If you were a woman at this year’s conference you were lauded and celebrated for simply turning up. I’m totally up for sisterhood in principle. I’m just not great at group hugs.
- Finally, David Bowie will reign long in the hearts and minds of researchers. I pity the other dearly departed of the last year as they quite simply didn’t get a mention. Who knew market research was so zig and zag? Maybe it happened when I wasn’t looking.
Note to self: be more Bowie.