This year’s iteration of the Insight & Innovation Exchange (IIeX) demonstrated a masterful continuation of a successful research conference that has been encouraging game-changing conversation by showcasing some of the industry’s best tools and techniques. It combined an impressive list of speakers and a varied cast of exhibitors on site, so there was no shortage of opportunities to explore new avenues for growth.

New to this year’s event was a specific track dedicated to first-time speakers—headed up and chaired by Annie Pettit—to allow the voices of up-and-coming talent to be heard.

Above and beyond the content that was provided, the networking and opportunities to connect with peers are second-to-none at IIeX. Thanks to its use of a community platform and an app that allows attendees to virtually connect and exchange before, during and after the event, it’s easy—and fun—to develop a rich network of new contacts.

The conference has one drawback, though: the event maintains a continual focus on innovation as its theme so that speakers each year both impress and challenge their audience. Though most of the content was interesting and noteworthy, there is always some grumbling about it not changing much from year to year.

AQR chair Simon Patterson, however, was impressed. “It was a very refreshing event,” he says, “helped by the amazing venue, the Beurs van Berlage, with its incredible Post-Modern Ted Talk vibe. Because of its Innovation theme, software, programming and AI often grabbed the headlines and AQR was very pleased to have been invited to participate by Ray Poynter and Lenny Murphy.

“For our Association to be able to showcase itself via the three finalists of the 2016 Prosper Riley-Smith Qualitative Excellence award was excellent; plus, the presentation by Happy Thinking People of its experiment into a non-verbal-only methodology was very thought provoking; all in the context of Qual being even more relevant in the age of drowning in Big Data."

“It was a great chance for AQR’s voice to heard in a new context.”