Heartbreaking events have again brought to light the unacceptable inequity and enduring fractures that divide America.

From many angles and on many levels, these incidents, and the polarized reaction to them, have brought pain, anger, frustration, exhaustion, and helplessness. Emotions that permeate our personal and professional lives.

As an industry that leads in building cultural understanding and empathy, we have been appalled to see our colleagues and friends suffer. It reminds us how much work remains to be done to achieve a truly just and harmonious society. It makes clear that we must step up to apply our knowledge, creativity, and influence in a push for progress.  

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. The Insights Association stands against all forms of racism and the structures that enable and sustain it. We are a proud advocate for diversity and inclusion. Black voices must be heard. Change must happen now. 

Words alone will not suffice. That is why we have worked during the past several days to formulate specific points of action. To assist in shaping and mobilizing change, IA will tap into its vast, expert community to not only enrich and ground needed discourse in data, but illuminate a fact-based, solution-focused path forward. Afterall, insights is an industry of answers. Our role is to give voice to the consumer, to society itself.

Led by IA members from the Black community, we will host a Virtual Town Hall on Diversity & Inclusion later this month – stay tuned for details.

IA will also immediately form a diversity and inclusion committee. Led by a diverse and representative team of members from the insights industry, especially those from the Black community, the first priority will be advising and directing initiatives affecting the Black community, including:

For the Insights Industry & Within Company Workplaces

• Measures to improve racial and ethnic diversity across insights and data analytics. Potential action may include scholarship and mentorship programs; forging relationships with HBCUs.

• Guidance and education for companies to help them identify and address workplace inequities. Expertise, forums, and resources to create and implement Workplace Inclusion & Diversity Initiatives.

• Education and best practices on identifying bias and discrimination in recruiting, hiring, on-boarding, employee management, and leadership development.

For more accurate, representative, and impactful research

• Ensuring voices are represented. Education and guidance to more effectively research marginalized communities; identifying and mitigating unconscious bias in research practice and procedures; and other impediments to inclusive and accurate data collection, including sampling guidelines to ensure studies sufficiently represent underserved and minority communities. IA will support current NAACP efforts seeking additional federal funds needed to avert an undercount of racial and ethnic minorities in the 2020 census.

• Encourage and promote social, political and market research which sheds light on the condition, sentiment, aspirations, concerns, and collective mindset of the Black community.

For the media, government & public

• Collaborate with our member companies, fellow associations, and industry partners for ongoing research designed to help inform and inspire change related to discrimination, especially as it relates to the Black community. The intent here will be to ensure knowledge and data gaps are filled so that lawmakers and policymakers, as well as decision makers in business have the information they need – an accurate and clearly defined and representative voice of the Black community – to reference and consider. Research studies and other resources provided by the insights community on the subject of diversity, inclusion, and racial equity will be compiled by IA and made available to all to promote deeper understanding and more inclusive, informed work.

Information builds understanding. Understanding brings empathy.

When we fail to sufficiently include the Black community – in market research studies, marketing campaigns, or in our own companies and work teams – we all suffer. Only by truly seeing and appreciating each other as fellow humans can we hope to achieve needed progress.

We are reaching out to Black insights and data analytics professionals to help us in our efforts. As we work to amplify the voices of those too long silenced, we encourage you to speak up. Expand your circle of empathy, encourage those in your network to get involved – and reach out to us with your ideas and feedback.