QRi Consulting are proud to be FutureBrand’s global research partner for the FutureBrand Country Index 2019 launched recently. https://t.co/zkCjNQmffd
Last week the ESOMAR Foundation hosted the third webinar of the series Qualitative Research for Not-for-profit organisations. The webinar focused on examining and showcasing how different forms of qualitative research can be used to help support non-profit organisations.
The online event was hosted by Phyllis Macfarlane (GFK & Esomar Foundation) and featured Simon Patterson, Founder and CEO at QRI Consulting and Philly Desai of UK-based international development consultancy Turnstone Research.
Dubbed the ‘Now’ Age, alternative lifestyles, through greater awareness, new platforms, apps, stores, and brands have gained momentum leading to a rise in agnostic spirituality in the mainstream. Mindfulness is an example of an alternative philosophy being increasingly practiced in the West, having been adapted from Ancient Eastern Traditions. As with many lifestyle paths, there is an individual element and a collective element. Individuals practice Mindfulness as a part of their daily lives, but some companies are also practicing Mindfulness by encouraging it on an individual level. Research suggests that practicing Mindfulness is beneficial to the practitioner, so are the companies feeling the same benefits as the individual?
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness, the ancient Buddhist meditation practice, has become a hot topic in Psychology recently. This 2,500 year old practice can be briefly defined as a focus on the present; individuals have a tendency to ruminate about the past and/or rush towards the ‘ungraspable’ future which never materialises. Not being fully present can lessen ability to consciously participate in the present moment and distort perceptions of reality.
Practitioners notice the physical sensations in their body during meditation and the swirling thoughts in their brain. Using non-judgmental awareness of the present, the aim is to observe these sensations without reacting to them. Meditators gradually recognise the fleeting nature of sensations, including pain, anger and frustration. Over time, practitioners learn to quiet the mind and can result in individuals who are less agitated, more focused and easier to work with.
Who Practices Mindfulness?
Aside from the discussions in Psychology circles, Mindfulness has become a buzzword and it is expanding out into the Business world of Industrial Psychology. Large companies, such as General Mills in the USA, have adopted mindfulness practices, and openly encourages employees to practice it by equipping their buildings with meditation rooms, as well as yoga facilities, all designed to reduce stress, and train the mind to be more focussed, clear, creative, and connected. Google offers a course to its employees called “search inside yourself” which was so popular the company created entry-level versions such as “neural self-hacking” and “managing your energy”.
Mindfulness is a growing movement, even being practiced in some schools through the ‘Mindfulness in Schools Project’, which is managed in collaboration between psychologists at Oxford, Cambridge, Exeter and Bangor universities.The benefits of practicing mindfulness seem to be clear, and many large and successful businesses are adopting the practice.
Does all this mindfulness do any good?
There is evidence that suggests that some of its techniques can provide psychological and physiological benefits. Practicing mindfulness can improve self-regulatory efficacy via “neuro-plastic changes in the anterior cingulate cortex, insula, temporo-parietal junction, fronto-limbic network, and default mode network structures” (Shonin et al. 2015). To put it simply, mindfulness can cause neuro-plastic changes in neural pathways, which is generally (but tentatively as much of the research is dependent on self-report measures rather than clinical diagnostic interviews) agreed by psychologists to be a good thing as it can cause:
Greater self-awareness and emotional self-regulatory capacity
Modification of immune pathways
Greater levels of relaxation
Greater control over stress
Growth in spiritual awareness
Cynics might argue that a walk in the countryside has similar benefits. But it’s not unreasonable to suppose that, in a world of constant stress and distraction, sitting still and relaxing might do some good.
As Schumpeter of the Economist observes, “the biggest problem with mindfulness is that it is becoming part of the self-help movement—and hence part of the disease that it is supposed to cure. Gurus talk about “the competitive advantage of meditation”. Pupils come to see it as a way to get ahead in life. Western capitalism seems to be doing rather more to change eastern religion than eastern religion is doing to change Western capitalism.”
But if it does help relax and focus the mind, and therefore improve the performance of individuals and corporations, then is that such a bad thing?
The QRi Team x
Shonin, E. et al. (2015) Mindfulness in psychology – a breath of fresh air? The Psychologist 28 (1): 28-31
The Mind Business, The Financial Times Magazine
Please read our paper on the Origins of Qualitative Research given at the 8th Biannual Worldwide Conference on Qualitative Research, 13-15 April 2016, Vienna, Austria.
For the third year QRi Consulting are pleased to announce the FutureBrand Index 2016 launched at the London Stock Exchange on Thursday 21st July 2016
With the upcoming Olympics in the beautiful city of Rio, many will be travelling there to explore its beaches, mountains, famous landmarks (as well as the sporting events!). However there is a different, somewhat darker, side to the city, one which the locals do not really have an interest in to explore.
Here’s our latest ad campaign
The paper ‘The influence of Bill Schlackman on qualitative research’, in the International Journal of Market Research, Volume 57, Issue 5, 2015, by Simon Patterson and Francesca Malpass is about Bill Schlackman’s fundamental influence on qualitative research in the UK. This follows the paper ‘In Search of Excellence: The influence of Peter Cooper on Qualitative Research’, in the IJMR, Volume 54, Issue 5, 2012 (Peter Cooper was the founder of CRAM International)
QRi are proud to be FutureBrand Latin America’s independent global research partner for the Latin America Country Brand Report 2015/16. This exciting report on 21 Latin American countries ranks: