One year on: reflections on my first year in Research

Josef Lockey has just completed the Incite Analyst Programme (alongside Lauren Daniels and Harvey Barr) and will soon be joining the STRAT7 Advisory team as an Senior Analyst.

But before he gets swept up in the world of innovation and customer centricity, he reflects back on his first year at Incite and his introduction to market research.

A year of firsts

It’s hard to believe that it has been a year since I joined Incite. Whilst to many one year may not seem a significant milestone, for me it is a year that has been marked by firsts and numerous development opportunities.

Coming to research for the first time I would have found it incredibly difficult to pinpoint what practice or methodology I wanted to be pursue if I’d had to make that decision off the bat.

The Incite Analyst Programme gave me the opportunity to spend three months in each of the Incite practices (Health, Consumer and Services) as well as the STRAT7 Advisory team, giving me both a breadth of exposure to a whole host of different client problems and project approaches as well as providing me the opportunity to work with a large variety of different colleagues. But perhaps most importantly, it gave me a greater understanding of which direction I would like my career to progress in.

Additionally, having three month periods dedicated solely to either quantitative or qualitative work has allowed me to completely immerse myself in different approaches and ways of thinking, ultimately become a better researcher with skills that transfer across methodology and practice setting.

Getting out my comfort zone

The environment of learning and development has been incredibly refreshing. Other colleagues have been remarkably patient in lending their own time to teach me a new skill or share their experiences on how to approach a problem I have not encountered before.

Of my own accord I tend to lean more towards quantitative work, with qualitative being a relative weakness for me. My prior apprehension towards qual work arises directly from my comparative strength in quant, resulting in a feeling of not meeting my own standards (something I’m sure many of us struggle with).

So being put forward to moderate my first qual IDI, and thus un-burying my head from the sand was (perhaps unsurprisingly) the most nerve wracking experience I have had this year and one I would otherwise have happily shied away from. However I’m grateful that others care enough about my development to volunteer me for these opportunities, and that I was able to overcome this mental hurdle to bridge what would else have been a gap in my skills.

Having the opportunity to denote preference to which team I would like to join at the end of this year has ensured that I can align myself with a position that best suits my strengths and interests whilst still providing me enough room to continue to grow. With all four of my rotations complete and my progression to Senior Analyst cemented within the STRAT7 Advisory, I can reflect on what I have learnt during this year whilst also focusing my efforts on further developing the skills I need to excel in my new role.

I have no doubt the next year will also be one that is full of firsts and nerve wracking experiences, but with the Analyst Programme firmly under my belt, I couldn’t be better prepared.