Mark McCrindle and The Changing Face of Sydney

Thursday, August 20, 2015


Sydney, the place many of us call home, is Australia’s economic powerhouse. We are adding almost 90,000 people to our city every single year, and the 5 fastest growing areas in New South Wales are all located in Sydney. Back 50 years ago Sydney had just hit 2 million people, we are going to finish next year at 5 million people.

Sydney is a fascinating and complex landscape where old ways and old attitudes are disappearing. We used to have a cringe factor of, “this part of the city is better than that part of the city” and people would perhaps be embarrassed if they weren’t closer to where the action was. That’s all changed. People in Greater Western Sydney embrace that as their moniker, proud of being a Westie.

And when it comes to work the CBD is no longer the cities undisputed top dog. Sydney is undergoing an opportunity revolution, with entrepreneurial hotspots sprouting up just about everywhere. You’ve got the media and communications hubs around Surry Hills and Ultimo, and high-tech emerging in areas of Parramatta and even in Penrith. It’s not all just happening in the CBD alone.

NSW also has the highest migration of any Australian state, and Sydney – a global city, receives most of this growth. In this city of diversity, the city’s newest citizens form new tribes in its oldest suburbs.

Sydney has many faces, but what binds us, the one thing we all have in common is this often complex, always beautiful, ever-changing city.

The Changing Face of Sydney; Urban Sprawl Goes Vertical

The Changing Face of Sydney; A closer look at Parramatta

The Changing Face of Sydney; Is the Sutherland Shire the new boom town?

The Changing Face of Sydney; The Changing Face of Liverpool

The Changing Face of Sydney; The big Development Flying Under the Rader

Q AND A WITH MARK MCCRINDLE


Q: Just wondering how many have first language of English?

A: Sydney is one of the most culturally diverse places in Australia. Almost two in three households have at least one parent born overseas, and China may soon overtake England as the country Sydneysiders born overseas were most likely born in.


Q: My children – aged 11 and eight – and I just watched the Changing Face of Sydney. They would like to know how our suburb, Loftus, has changed over the years. Or anything exciting you can tell them about our great suburb.

A: Well it is a fascinating suburb – home to far more families with kids than the state and national average. Averaging two children per household (well above the average) and with more stay-at-home parents than average. Earning more, volunteering more, and with a higher proportion of children than most Sydney suburbs – sounds like a nice, family-friendly place to live.


Q: What does the future of Blacktown look like as a part of the changing face of the western suburbs?

A: Blacktown has consistently been the fastest growing areas in the whole of NSW over the last decade. The Blacktown City area is home to more than 300,000 people, which means it is home to more people than the whole of the Northern Territory!


Q: We have just moved to Mosman from Adelaide, what can you tell me about Mosman, its demographic and its history?

A: Mosman is home to far more females than males - average age is 40, well above Sydney’s 36 and the residents’ earn more and work longer than the NSW average. Three in five of those in the labour force in Mosman work more than 40 hours per week. It is also home to twice the proportion of professionals and managers than the state average.


Q: What are your views on Sydney property growth in the short term? Is this boom likely to continue? NSW future infrastructure projects are encouraged by this strong stamp. What would be the result if the interest rates increase?

A: Yes Sydney’s property prices are no bubble. They are underpinned by more demand (population growth) than supply (new home builds). Not only is Sydney growing around 85,000 people per year, but households are getting smaller so the housing demand is even outstripping population growth. However, Sydney prices will no doubt plateau at some point, as they have before.


Q: Which suburbs have big potential for growth? Where will be more infrastructure developments?

A: Greater Western Sydney is where the population growth is and where there will be a lot of new infrastructure over the decades ahead. Plus prices are beginning from a lower base than the east. And keep in mind that by 2032 Western Sydney will be larger than the rest of Sydney (2.9m compared to 2.7m).


Q: My partner and I are planning to buy a house. What is the quietest place in Sydney?

A: The quiet suburbs on the urban fringes – Shanes Park, Cranebrook, Marsden Park, Badgery’s Creek – are acreage at the moment but will be development central in a few years. So the quiet may just be temporary.


Q: Where is the best place to invest, which suburb?

A: Really depends on budget and also having a long-term view. Suburbs change: Redfern, Balmain, Newtown, Campberdown were once not considered desirable suburbs and are now very expensive. So it is good to look at population growth trends and emerging infrastructure. A suburb not “hot” at the moment if it is in Sydney will be a winner long term.


Q: What are the reasons for different ethnicities to settle in the respective suburbs? (Chinese in Hurstville and Chatswood, British in Manly, etc.)

A: Often it is where they have connection/family and so various suburbs end up with strong ethnicities. For example, traditionally Greeks settled in Kogarah, many from Vietnam called Cabramatta home and more recently a strong connection of those from India to Harris Park.


Q: What proportion of the Hills district is evangelical and also now the Shire?

A: The ABS census data shows religion by denomination and it shows that for example the Hills have less than 19 per cent while the Shire has more than 25 per cent Anglicans.

Scouts Australia Project in Review

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Organisations must respond to the times to remain relevant amidst significant demographic shifts, cultural change, and generational transitions.

Scouts Australia is the nation’s largest youth organisation with a membership of 52,000 youth members. The not-for-profit recently commissioned McCrindle to guide the direction of a major Youth Program Review (YPR) through a three-phase project, helping Scouts to engage with the needs and desires of Australian families, their perceptions of Scouting, and what families are looking for in a contemporary youth organisation.

Engaging Stakeholders for Strategic Organisational Change

RESEARCH AIMS

Through conducting nation-wide research, Scouts Australia sought to determine future directions and develop a detailed understanding of the wider community to:

  • Ensure the values of Scouts Australia engage with those of 21st Century Australia
  • Create a program that meets the needs of their appropriate youth target market

RESEARCH TOOLS

As part of the research, a number of methodologies and tools were utilised:

  • Awareness and Perception Brand Testing: Testing the perceptions, attitudes, awareness of Australians and Scouting families towards Scouting.
  • Competitor Analysis: Defining how the Scouts Australia brand is perceived in comparison to other Australian youth development, extracurricular, and sport organisations.
  • Segmentation Analysis: Comparing Scouts families with Australian families nationally and differences in their values for Australian youth.
  • Demographic Forecasting & Trends Analysis: Understanding the factors that shape and influence Generation Z from a demographic and social trends perspective.


RESEARCH OUTPUTS

Phase 1 provided qualitative insights through a series of focus groups with current and former Scouts members and Scouting parents, testing Scouting’s current landscape and the changes needed in the program, thus setting the foundation for the Phase 2 and Phase 3 research.

Phase 2 sought to define the needs and desires of Australian families for a national youth program through a comprehensive national study of 1,078 Australian parents with children aged 6 to 18, asking parents about their values and what a youth program should look like for a 21st century Australia. These results were compared to the perspectives of 1,858 Scouts parents.

Phase 3 featured a demographic and social trends scoping study on Generation Z and Generation Alpha incorporating McCrindle data, Australian Bureau of Statistics data, and trend analysis from McCrindle’s generational experts.

The McCrindle team visualised and presented the results of all three phases at national and state executive meetings throughout 2014 to engage key stakeholders with the strategic changes required to shape the new Scouts program.

RESEARCH IMPACT

The Scouts Australia YPR team is using the research as a key engagement piece with Scouts members and their families. The results have led to significant discussions among members and decision-makers on what it could look like to provide a highly sought after youth program for 21st century Gen Zs.

“One chief commissioner suggested this is the best research we have ever completed. Your work has assisted in giving credibility to the YPR and strengthening the belief of others for the need to have the YPR.” – Scouts


SECTOR-WIDE NOT-FOR-PROFIT STUDY

In 2015, McCrindle is conducting a sector-wides study for Australian not-for-profit organisations and charities entitled the Australian Community Trends Report. Organisations are invited to participate and sign up by 30 June, 2015.

MCCRINDLE RESEARCH SOLUTIONS

At McCrindle we are engaged by some of the leading brands and most effective organisations across Australia and internationally to help them understand the ever-changing external environment in which they operate and to assist them in identifying and responding to the key trends. See our Research Pack for more information on our services.

Challenges facing not-for-profits

Thursday, June 04, 2015

Thinking for tomorrow, planning today

Our social research and trends analysis consistently highlights the speed, scale and scope of change. Only occasionally in history do massive demographic shifts combined with rapid social change, huge generational transitions and ongoing technology trends so that within the span of a decade, society altogether alters. Today we are in the midst of one such transformative decade- which will take us to 2020. Our partners in the Australian Community Trends Report are the team at R2L and their Principal John Rose here provides his top 7 tips for not-for-profit organisations.

  1. Speak to your context
  2. Understand your organisation’s key client segments and their values, knowledge and concerns.

  3. Be seen and known
  4. Position your organisation to be recognised as thought-leaders, influencers, and innovators.

  5. Inspire and engage
  6. Provide a positive experience for donors, clients and beneficiaries so that they not only feel part of your organisation, but part of the issue that your organisation supports.

  7. Finesse, fine-tune and focus
  8. Focus on the important messages and discard what is not essential.

  9. Communicate the need, and plan for the long-term
  10. Finance the future, don’t just fundraise for the now but set up the financial future of your organisation.

  11. Act as a leader
  12. Lead not only your team, but your cause and your stakeholder community.

  13. Be the agent of change
  14. Be accountable and demonstrate the change that your organisation is making.

Not-for-profit organisations are invited to take part in the Australian Community Trends Report.

For more information about the study please click here or contact Kirsten Brewer on (02) 8824 3422 or kirsten@mccrindle.com.au


The Role of Career Practitioners in Our Schools

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Young Australians today are faced with an increasing challenge to transition successfully from school to further education, training or employment.

Research released today by the Career Industry Council of Australia (CICA) and McCrindle shows that while the most effective forms of career support for a young person is face-to-face contact with qualified career advisors and work experience, time and financial resources available to career practitioners in schools are currently inadequate to equip Australian school students in these capacities.

Cuts to key resources impact career decision-making

Research shows that the three most utilised resources by career practitioners to assist young people in making quality career decisions, including Job Guide, will cease to be produced or be severely diminished by the end of 2016 due to government funding cuts.

Executive Director of CICA, David Carney said “Quality career guidance inspires pupils toward further study, training or employment and enables them to make informed career decisions. It gives them invaluable insight into the world of work and what education and training paths they need to take to achieve their career goals. Contact with career and industry professionals is critical when teaching pupils how to network and open up their options for the future”.


Career practitioners need greater connection with Industry

Changes in technology and in the labour market have produced new vocational options, which, at present, are not well understood by many young people or their classroom teachers, increasing the need for contact with industry professionals.

Australia is approaching the biggest intergenerational employment transition ever and what is needed for students about to commence further study or work, in addition to world’s best education is world’s best careers advice,” says Mark McCrindle, principal of McCrindle. “Today’s school students will have more careers, and complete more courses than any previous generation and so career education in these complex times is more essential than ever.”

Research shows that career advisers need and want greater contact with employers and industry. 76% of career advisers who have been in their role for less than 2 years see industry connections as a critical aspect of enhancing their role.

Industry and schools need to find more innovative ways of developing these educational tools to respond to both the diminishing resources available as well as the limited time and financial resources of career advisors. Over 52% of career practitioners undertake their role part time and more than 4 in 5 (80%) schools have 1 or less fulltime equivalent career practitioners.

Research shows that over the past three years, career practitioners have been 1.75 times more likely to have had their time decreased rather than increased.

In 2014, CICA published a School Career Development Service Benchmark Resource. This resource has been developed for Principals and leadership teams of schools to help them achieve the best value and outcomes from their career development services. For a copy of the benchmark visit www.cica.org.au/quality-benchmarking.

Download the Infographic

Download the Infographic which features the findings of a national survey conducted by CICA of 937 career practitioners working in schools across Australia

For more information

For more information or media commentary, please contact Ashley McKenzie at McCrindle on 02 8824 3422

The Who, What and Why of Generation Z and Generation Alpha

Friday, April 17, 2015

The students of our world, at schools and universities are the children of Generation X, the cohort that follows Generation Y, and born from 1995 to 2009 they are Generation Z. And following them we have our Gen Alpha's born since 2010. These emerging generations have and are growing up in a time like no other we have seen before. They are the world's first truly global generations, constantly logged up and linked in. They are empowered by having access to every piece of information within a few clicks of a button, and here we find ourselves with the challenge of teaching and educating, of shaping, moulding and developing these emerging generations. 

GENERATION Z

Those filling your schools today are labelled ‘Generation Z’ – born between 1995 and 2009, this generation currently make up 1 in 5 in our population. They make up just 1 in 10 in the workforce, but in a decades time they will make up over a quarter.

When they’re talking about a library they mean they’re playlist on iTunes. They speak and they write in a new language – if they can shorten it, they will. They are content creators, and their idea of an encyclopaedia is one that you can change and contribute to.

While they are constantly reading it’s rarely a book from cover to cover, and after all they are visual communicators, so why read it when you can watch it?

They speak another language like ‘totes’, ‘chron’ ‘chillax’ ‘epic’ ‘frothing’ fo shiz’ ‘cray cray’ ‘yolo’!

GEN ALPHA

And following our Gen Zeds we have Generation Alpha, the kindergarten and preschool children of today. Generation Alpha are likely to have just one sibling, and if they are a boy they’re likely to be called Oliver, William or Jack, and if a girl, Charlotte, Olivia or Ava.

Born since 2010, there are 2.5 million Gen Alphas born around the globe every single week. And the year that they were first born coincided with the launch of the iPad. In case you were wondering they have no idea what a broken record is, nor what you mean when you say they sound like one. They’ve probably never seen a camera that required film, and will probably never have to wait for their photos to be developed.

Glass was something we were told to not touch so it didn’t leave any grubby finger-marks, where as they are growing up with glass being something that they touch, swipe and interact with every single day. The only phones they’ve ever seen also take photos, record videos, access the internet, can download a million apps and have just one button, a fairway from the landline telephones that you could take off the hook. In fact now if you’re left without your mobile phone for a day, maybe you’ve left it at home or the battery’s died, the term is that you have been ‘land lined’.

Whilst Baby Boomers can remember the introduction of the colour TV in the 1970s, Gen Zeds and Gen Alphas can flick up a YouTube video from a smartphone onto the apple TV with ease. They are logged on and linked up, they’re digital natives, and they are the most materially endowed, technologically literate generation to ever grace the planet.

They are empowered by having access to every piece of information within a few clicks of a button and right there is where we find ourselves with the challenge of teaching and educating, of shaping, moulding and developing these emerging generations.

Find out more

Mark McCrindle Talks: Business, consumer behaviour and how to remain relevant

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Mark McCrindle is a social researcher with an international following. He is recognised as a leader in tracking emerging issues and researching social trends. As an award winning social researcher and an engaging public speaker, Mark has appeared across many television networks and other media. He is a best-selling author, an influential thought leader, TEDx speaker and Principal of McCrindle Research. His advisory, communications and research company, McCrindle, count among its clients more than 100 of Australia’s largest companies and leading international brands.

What trends are transforming the business landscape at the moment?

The first would have to be demographic trends, for as our population changes so too does our customer and client base as well as our employment pool. Not only is Australia’s population growing, but with that comes increased densification, new household structures and increased cultural diversity. So from a business perspective we need to make sure that we are resonating with that diversity in our own teams and obviously connecting with a very changing Australia. We are also in the midst of generational change as the Baby Boomers and Gen X’s maintain their leadership, Generation Y are the emerging leaders while Generation Z begin their employment. Thirdly we’ve also got technological change which is phenomenal and which permeates every area of life. Occasionally you get one or two big changes coming together, but now we have four or five colliding and transforming our society in a significant way.

How have you seen these changes impacting consumer behaviour?

Well if we look just over the last 5 years, we’ve seen not only an economic downturn which we remember as the GFC, but which continues on and with that a changing consumer attitude which has become the new norm. Australians are now using new technologies to buy smart, shop around and be more empowered. They’re using technology and the power of social networks to find out ‘what do you think of this brand’, ‘what about that product’, or ‘has anyone got an idea on this?’ We’re even changing where we are buying through the emergence of online buying platforms and use of smart devices on which we can shop or at least investigate what we are going to buy wherever we are. So where we buy, what we buy, how we buy, the brands, discount shopping, the buying on price, the informed consumer – it’s all come about through technology.

How can a business thrive during these times of unprecedented change?

It’s firstly important to observe the changes that we see. Most businesses are primarily focused on their particular industry or sector, which is great and is obviously important – people have to have that domain knowledge and expertise. But we also have to be experts in looking outside the walls of our operation and area to the external environment in which we operate, to observe the trends that are taking place out there, because if something is happening out there then it’s going to impact us in here. If something is happening overseas in the globally connected world then it’s going to hit Australia as well. When we observe the trends, and then understand the trends and thirdly hopefully respond to the trends, that’s when we can thrive.

What are the new keys to communicating with clients, staff or stakeholders in general?

Digital technologies have certainly changed the way we communicate, and I think embracing this is key to effective cut through. If we look at how Generation Z who are now starting work have been shaped, it has been in this great screenage that is transforming our society. As a generation they have only ever known this world of screens, and interestingly their preferred search engine is YouTube not just Google, simply because they don’t want to read an article about something when they can watch a video on it. So that changes the whole communication pattern, and not just for Generation Z but for all generations alike. If we think about a visual, screen based, mobile, video-based generation emerging, then we’ve got to adapt to that, and a lot of people have. So communicating in a way that makes sense visually is key – using the power of symbols, pictures and the power of communicating relationally not just rationally. Using images not just words, information or data. The power of a brand these days is to connect not just with the head but with the heart – a visceral connection beyond just ‘here’s why our product is better’.

How are the emerging generation of leaders going to take into account the needs of others beyond themselves, when they have grown up in such a ‘me’ generation?

For the emerging generations there has certainly been more of a self-focus than previously. The introduction of the selfie stick and even of just the world ‘selfie’ in the Oxford English Dictionary does point to an era of narcissism, as some have called it. But if we think about it, while at first it seems a bit self-obsessed to put photos up on Instagram of the lunch we are about to eat or yet another selfie, actually there is more to it than that. People are taking photos of themselves to share that experience with others, in other words it’s just keeping in touch, it’s trying to connect and communicate. A lot of “selfies” are more “groupies”, there’s a few people in the photo. So it turns out that what’s going on is a lot of social behaviour and a lot of connectivity, highlighting that we aren’t as isolated or self-focused and some of those terms might suggest.

Additionally we have a generation of young people emerging now who are global in their identity and their outlook, who are actually more open and interested in what’s happening in the world. When they get their news feed it’s not just what’s happening in their local area, their state or their nation, but globally what’s happening. So we could actually argue they are more aware in a global sense. They are more aware of the bigger things, they are certainly more connected with others and I think with that connection, they can have an influence. Some have called it slacktivism, where they just click and like this, but it turns out that they are getting involved and are active on different campaigns, having a voice, having a vote, having an influence. This social connectivity, this broader global outlook and this cultural diversity that defines them today is bringing a renewed spirit to democracy and engagement. They are not perhaps as self-focused as we think. Even when it comes to spending money they’re not so much saving up to buy the home or the tangible asset, they’re spending money more on the experience, on travel, on connecting and while saving and planning is important for their future at least it shows an attitude of connecting with others and of experiencing the lives of others rather than it all just be about me and getting my asset base together.

For More Information:

Mark’s understanding of the key social trends as well as his engaging communication style places him in high demand in the press, on radio and on television shows, such as Sunrise, Today, ABC News 24, A Current Affair, and Today Tonight. He is also regularly commissioned to deliver keynote addresses at conferences, as well as workshops for strategic board meetings among other events.

His professional speakers pack below provides more information, or you can get in touch with ashley@mccrindle.com.au for specific enquiries.

Market and Social Research Solutions

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

At McCrindle we are engaged by some of the leading brands and most effective organisations across Australia and internationally to help them 
understand the ever-changing external environment in which they operate and to assist them in identifying and responding to the key trends. 

For us research is not a list of survey methods but a passion to find answers. It is more than a matter of questionnaires and focus groups – it is a quest to make the unknown known. The best research clarifies the complex and reveals insights in a way that can be seen and not just read. 

Only when the findings are visually displayed, engagingly presented and strategically workshopped can they have maximum impact – and be implemented effectively.



For a more in-depth and detailed description of our Research offerings, please download our Market and Social Research Solutions Pack by clicking here.

Mark McCrindle; Social Researcher and Changemaker

Monday, January 12, 2015

Originally published by The Weekend Edition. Please click here for the original article.

"WE'RE IN THE MIDST OF ONE OF THE MOST TRANSFORMATIVE PERIODS OF HISTORY ... "

It’s a staggering statistic to get our noggins around, but every day 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are produced around the world. While the raw numbers may seem irrelevant to many of us at first glance, the collected information is vital to tracking trends, identifying changes and forecasting new developments to help us understand ourselves, our pasts and our futures. What were the biggest trends of 2014? How has Australia changed over the past few decades? And how will we evolve over the next 12 months? These are just some of the questions that consume social researcher, demographer and futurist Mark McCrindle, who has dedicated his life’s work to studying and understanding our nation. As we head into the new year, The Weekend Edition thought it was perfect timing to catch up with the futurist and chat about what lies ahead.

In your 2013 TEDxCanberra talk, you said it’s rare for factors like massive technological change, rapid demographic shifts, huge social trends and ongoing generational change to all happen at the same time – meaning big changes can happen within a short period. Can you talk us through some of the major trends you observed in 2014?

I think we’re in the midst of one of the most transformative decades ever. It’s this decade that began with the tablet computer, social media becoming mainstream, the smartphone and apps – these were words that weren’t known and technologies that weren’t around when the decade began and now here we are, halfway through it in 2015 and it’s obviously going to take us through to 2020, which has always been that iconic year of ‘the future’. As you say, it’s change in terms of those broader areas, not just technology, but also generational change – this year we’ve got Baby Boomers turning 70 and the original ‘youth slackers’ Gen Xers turning 50 and the new Gen Alphas coming of age – as well as economic change – the decade began with the ripples of the GFC and that’s still having an impact. So economically, technologically, sociologically, generationally and attitudinally, there have been lots of changes. It’s rare that you do get the confluence of such change that we’re seeing at the moment.

What can you tell us about this new generation born 2010 or later, known as Gen Alpha?

We’ve given them the label ‘Generation Glass’ because the key medium for them on which they’ll learn, interact, write and get their content isn’t paper – it’s glass. This is the first generation that has utilised glass as the mainstream form of communication and content delivery. It’s portable, it’s in their pockets or on their wrists or on their interactive desktops, it’s in showrooms as interactive touch screens – glass is everywhere. It comes to life, it’s connected to the internet and it displays content – and this is the generation that will only know that. Paper first emerged as a portable form of mass communication when Gutenberg came up with his printing press in 1439, so we’ve had to wait 600 years for a new medium.

And for 2015 you’ve also predicted that we’ll become a more reflective country?

Yes, the technologies of the internet have been around for a while now and so far it’s been fun and light – people Instagramming every meal they eat, the tweets and YouTube videos have been fun and fickle, and memes like Grumpy Cat have gone viral. But that happens when anything new emerges, it’s fun before we find the real usefulness of it. And now we’re getting a little bit more pragmatic and people are saying, ‘I want some life tools’, ‘I want connection tools that will actually help’, ‘I want relational functionality rather than random Facebook friends’ so we’re starting to see fragmentation of that, from LinkedIn through to a rise in openness for people to talk about not just the financial or physical areas of life, but also mental, emotional and spiritual. I think this reflection, the focus on work/life balance and family, as well as spirituality and emotional wellbeing is a sign that we’re a bit more transparent and open. As Australians, we’ve always been a ‘She’ll be right mate’ sort of nation, but I think we’re recognising that to be a bit more vulnerable, transparent and authentic is actually important.

What have you observed about Queensland and its capital of Brisbane?

Queensland is unique in its demographics – it’s the only state in Australia that has more than half of its population living outside of its capital. So if you look at NSW or Victoria, more than three in four people live in the capital city, but in Queensland, 4.8 million people live in the whole state and just 2.2 million people live in Brisbane. In fact, we have an infographic where we look at the largest 30 cities of Australia, and Queensland has the most with 10 cities, compared to NSW which has just five. The point is Queensland has more of a mix of the urban and rural, it has a bigger focus on the regional, it’s a big state and a big coastline, and has more of a spread of population outside of Brisbane – and that creates a different mode in itself. It’s one of the fastest-growing states, and faster than the national average. Queensland has a different attitude and way of life; it’s got some unique demographic aspects that create the culture and the mood, and continue to shape it.

Let’s rewind the clock a bit – have you always harboured such an interest in human behaviour? As a child, did you even know a job like this existed?

That’s right, social researcher, futurist and demographer aren’t often what the careers advisor has on their shortlist; they’re not mainstream pursuits. But I did always have an interest in people and when I was filling in my applications at the end of year 12 to figure out what to study at uni, it was psychology and sociology that interested me. As I moved through my psych degree, I realised that I far preferred the social psychology subjects rather than the clinical, and that’s when I transitioned towards understanding people and society, and how we think and why we as communities or groups make decisions the way we do. So I’ve always had a fascination with people and I guess that’s really what my role is to this day – observing people and communities, and analysing trends and changes.

What were the greatest challenges in launching your own research agency and advisory firm?

Well not only is it an unusual role and hard enough to find a niche as an individual social researcher and analyst, but then to start a business in the area you really need to find your strengths and carve a niche that’s going to add value.

How did you overcome these?

What’s been key is that all of the team here are generally passionate in understanding Australia and society and changes and trends and generations and people’s behaviour. Secondly, how we deploy that information has been important. I looked around when I was starting and thought there’s got to be a better way of conducting the research – it can’t just be about focus groups and surveys, there’s got to be other ways of understanding people. What we’re about is making the unknown known and making the complex clarified, and we employ whatever methodologies will help do that so people can make a difference in what they do. The second part in trying to be innovative in research approach is being innovative in the output methods, so we work hard on the visualisation of content, developing infographics and animated videos.

And what have been the greatest rewards – what do you love about your job?

I love that the craft is so interesting. To be presented with a challenge where an organisation says, ‘We want to connect with and understand this new generation or emerging segment, or we want to find out if this concept will work’, and help them understand and prepare for what isn’t yet certain, is quite fun. To help these organisations, government agencies and not-for-profits really be equipped and empowered in what they do, to do it more efficiently and future-proof themselves, is fun to do but also very rewarding and a privilege.

What inspires you to keep doing what you’re doing?

It’s exciting to see the difference that we can make and we have a view that if people take a broader perspective of what they do, they’ll do it more effectively. We tend to focus on our business or our role or our community – the micro-view – but what we need to do is understand the context in which we’re operating and look outside the walls of our home or organisation, and look at the broader winds of change – the demographics, the social trends, the attitudes, the shift in international demographics. When we understand that, it helps us to be a bit more effective in positioning ourselves to surf the waves of change and remain relevant to the future. The other lens change we need to make isn’t just looking at the now, but looking to the future so we can prepare for that. We tend to focus on the immediate term but the times are changing so quickly we almost need to look ahead a few years to see where things might be headed and position ourselves now to thrive in these times of change.

Originally published by The Weekend Edition, Lauren Barker on 08 Jan 2015.


For more on Mark McCrindle, visit his website here.

For more about McCrindle Research, please click here.


The McCrindle Approach & Priorities

Friday, January 09, 2015


In these times of massive change it is the organisations that are values based and vision driven that thrive amidst the chaos. The start of a new year provides the chance to articulate an organisation's priorities - the values that are part of the culture that are lived out, not just written up. These are the values that can be lived out by the team - an organisation's DNA. At McCrindle we have five core priorities which define who we are and how we operate, and here they are in summary form. If we can assist you in researching your organisational culture, understanding your clients and engaging with your community, please get in touch.

We are hoping that 2015 will be your best year yet.

The McCrindle Priorities





Are libraries a thing of the past?

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The library – home to books and information, including volumes of research by those gone before.

For generations past the library was nothing short of a fountain of knowledge and relevance, but for the emerging generations growing up in an increasingly digitalised age, has the necessity for a library been replaced by touch screens and online search engines?

AN ERA OF UNPRECEDENTED CHANGE

It is undisputed that today we live in an era of unprecedented change and development. The way we work, communicate and socialise has been greatly influenced by the extraordinary technological advancements we have seen over the past 2 decades. For example, it was only in 1997 that Google was registered as a domain and today there are over 3.5 billion Google searches each day.

The internet has transformed how we access information. In many cases, the data available to us online has replaced the need to locate the same information in books.

REMAINING RELEVANT

It is imperative that in this era of change, organisations, institutions and individuals remain relevant and engaged with the current trends. Education is at the forefront of needing to adapt to change as the emerging generations redefine learning. School students are still being assessed by closed book exams in an open book world but a shift has occurred among learners from needing to memorise things ‘just in case’ to simply accessing information ‘just in time’.

PRINT VS. DIGITAL

We needn’t look far for examples of organisations that have become outdated and irrelevant due to the huge technological shift we have seen characterise the last two decades.

Take Encyclopaedia Britannica, a trusted source that many depended on for their school assignments, whose first print edition was published in 1768. In 2010 it ran its final print edition, having been superseded by Wikipedia, invented just 9 years prior in 2001. Rather than being written by experts, Wikipedia is written by the collaborative community and currently has over 4.6 million pages in English alone. It exists as an astonishing example of the change we have seen in the learning, sharing and distribution of resources, knowledge and information.

Similarly, let’s look at Angus and Robertson, an iconic Australian bookseller, book publisher and book printer. Established in 1884, it went into voluntary administration in 2011 along with competitor Borders, showing the shift from the demand for print to the demand for digital.

LIBRARIES TODAY

If we look at school libraries and education today, some have transitioned into a completely digital and virtual model – libraries with no books at all – a concept we would not have fathomed a decade ago. Libraries are now being reinvented as engaging learning spaces where people can access information from their personal devices. Amazingly, today it is even possible to complete a university degree without stepping foot in a university library.

Libraries are experiencing significant change and librarians are no longer the only people with the keys to access the information. In the past, data was costly and difficult to access but now, students can access every piece of information within a few clicks of a button. Technologies have enabled greater efficiencies – and so, traditional ways of finding information are being surpassed with newer, quicker alternatives. For example, locating a book on library shelves by conducting a Boolean search is being replaced by a Google Docs search which provides the latest information on any device and in any location by the mere click of a button or touch of a screen.

WILL LIBRARIES CEASE TO EXIST ALTOGETHER?

While digital media will increasingly be utilised and adapted because of the efficiencies that it enables, humans are still tactile and kinaesthetic learners. The process of connecting pen to paper, turning pages in a book, and physically interacting with the information we consume is unlikely to be completely replaced by the digital offering.

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