CEO Adam Froman speaks about innovation in research at Brock

The founder and CEO of consulting and data collection firm, Delvinia, Adam Froman visited Brock on November 2 to speak about innovation and his company’s efforts to change the way research is done. The talk, which was co-hosted by the Department of Political Science and the Goodman School of Business’ Centre for Business Analytics, was the second in the ‘Innovation Speaker Series’ featuring executives and entrepreneurs coming to Brock to share their stories and insights.

Adam-Froman-headshot

Froman spoke to the Brock University community about how technological advances have altered strategies that firms to collect data. The talk detailed Froman’s work with other academic institutions and how his business model has participated in changes in technology.

Delvinia, which defines itself as an ‘innovation company’, was founded in 1998 by Froman and his three former partners; at the time was known as MultiMediatory Strategy Group. The company specializes in research and development and consulting, using interactive solutions for its clients. Delvinia has worked on projects with such firms as the Royal Bank of Canada, Princess Margaret Hospital, Rogers Media, and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). Its data collection business, AskingCanadians, was founded in 2005 and uses various interface techniques to conduct and collect survey information.

Froman is a frequent guest lecturer at post-secondary institutions, as well as marketing and business events. Innovation is a favourite topic of Froman, and he often speaks of lessons he has learned in his corporate leadership experience to give advice to new and upcoming start-ups and small businesses. Froman has also been a guest contributor to publications such as Marketing Magazine and The Globe and Mail.

During his talk, Froman walked the audience of students and professors on how his company has worked on marketing automation, and utilizing such technologies as voice recognition and artificial intelligence to conduct surveys and collect information for their partnering firms.  From spoke at length about the concept of ‘disruption’, which meant to alter the old, established ways of doing business and conducting market research. Froman stressed, when asked about the consequences of this style, that it was meant in a positive light. Froman also discusses how his concepts and ways of doing business can be utilized by academics as well in order to conduct research in much more efficient time frame.

Froman took time to speak to chatbot interaction as a way of collecting research, as well as utilizing what he referred to as ‘geo-targeted studies’ by using location recognition to track individuals that are being surveyed. Froman even delved into the idea of facial emotional recognition to track reactions to products.

As the presentation drew to a close, Froman summarized by highlighting his main points: online samples can deliver both speed and quality, it’s critical to look beyond ‘traditional’ data collection, automation is a part of the global economy, ‘conversational’ data collection is key for companies to utilize, and finally, immersive technology and machine learning are the next steps for data collection.

After the presentation concluded, Froman was also adamant on the point of how technology is rapidly changing and firms and individuals cannot “resist”. Froman considers changes like automation to be “inevitable” and that instead they should be used to “rethink” the ways that data is used and to “evolve”.

Nicole Goodman, an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science at Brock and the Director of the Centre for e-Democracy, organized the event and spoke to how Froman’s insights will help to change the way data and research is collected.

“For students and faculty accustomed to traditional survey research, collecting survey data in real time as participants go about their daily lives could result in different responses”, Professor Goodman explained. “For example, one would presume that asking people their feelings about an event at the time of the event or an hour afterwards will enable the collection of more accurate data than asking someone to recall something weeks or months after the fact.”

“Adam also spoke about how his company has been able to automate the research process,” Goodman detailed. “This innovation is significant because it takes the traditional research process (the time it takes to launch a survey, collect and analyze data) from weeks to hours. Imagine launching a survey and 48-hours later you not only have the data in hand, but also a report with the key findings? If academics can leverage this technology it could dramatically affect the time it takes to produce research outputs and communicate results to the public and other stakeholders.”

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