The AQR Qualitative Excellence Award was originally set up in the name of Prosper Riley-Smith in 2003. Prosper was a 'one-off', an individual larger than life who brought wit and style to research. He was a longstanding member and former Chair, a creative genius, and made a substantial contribution to the Qualitative Research industry. Prosper died of cancer in 2001.
Prosper was a disciple of Bill Shlackman, who recruited him to be managing director of Q Search in 1982 and in 1984 he set up Davies Riley-Smith Maclay (DRSM) with partner Doug Maclay. Previously he'd had stints in academia, in marketing (at John Smith's Brewery), and in advertising (at BMP and SJIP).
Prosper believed that thorough creative analysis was the unsung hero of qualitative research and that, in comparison, too much significance was afforded to the show skills of group moderation. That said, he was a great showman and his presentations the very stuff of theatre.