Annual Innovation Report 2022

The world has undergone a generation-defining period of change. Whether it’s a worldwide pandemic bringing the international economy to its knees, or the changing consumer mindset that this has inspired, it has never been more important for companies to innovate. To invest the time and money required for genuine innovation.

What gives Blue Yonder a unique perspective on Innovation? Why should anyone listen to its view? Because innovation is Blue Yonder’s business. Sometimes that means helping clients create their own innovations and drive change with insight. Sometimes, it is creating unique insight tools, tech, and methods that ensure Blue Yonder clients have an edge – insight others simply don’t have.

Blue Yonder’s dedicated CIO (Chief Innovation Officer), Jonathan Million leads this. Up to 50% of profits are reinvested in new thinking and tech annually. Jonathan meets clients, attends forums, and scans the market 5 days a week, 52 weeks of the  year. The job is to find new thinking clients could benefit from, and that could push Market Research forwards. This annual innovation report is a summary of that learning.

To set the scene, let’s take a quick look at what 2022’s ‘industry predictions – this will be the year of…’ articles are discussing for the current year. This year the industry is predicting the importance of:

Consolidation – More and more agencies are going to join to expand their operating capacity, usually at the behest of Venture Capital investors.

Data Risks –It’s getting harder to get reliable data. This is because of the increasing presence of automated surveys running amok! These often don’t provide great incentives to consumers and data quality suffers. They also effectively create markets for robot respondents or click farms.

Sample Costs –These will rise due to VC-backed firms refusing to cut already large margins, driving the prices up for firms focused on information quality over quantity.

Non-conventional Methods – The lion’s share of growth is going to go to firms that do things differently, create competitive advantage for their clients, rather than just insight.

Blue Yonder has seen and experienced each of these trends. They are real and create fascinating challenges and opportunities for innovation. Let’s try to move things forwards a little. On a day-to-day basis, what is really going to make the difference for buyers and suppliers of insight.


A key thought, to begin with, is that there’s going to be a magical ingredient to success in the coming times – an emphasis on tailored, flexible, and genuine partnerships between clients and agencies.

These partnerships are going to be central to providing an edge. With the advent of digital streamlining, they can be tailored better than ever before. Embracing digital streamlining enables agencies to ask and answer research questions quickly by consolidating their old data and running much quicker surveys with this data factored in. This enables them to answer certain research questions much quicker and cheaper, and for those it can’t answer – the established methods still work a treat. Automation is here to stay. Success will come from partnerships that make it work for them and avoid becoming automation’s slave. Flexibility, Empathy, and Challenge are critical to making the most of the opportunities tech provides.

Data Incentives

Regarding relationships, agencies also need to be aware of their participation incentives. Time is the most valuable resource people have. Agencies need to be sure that those participating in their work are rewarded for their time fairly. This will in turn generate more engaged participants, improving information yield and quality, leading to greater insight for clients. Poor incentives lead to poor data. Market Research fails to respect people’s time at its peril.

Tech and Human Integration

Speaking of insight, artificial intelligence has been all the rage throughout the last decade. Whilst the impact AI has been significant, it’s how such innovations are integrated with other notions of value that matter. Combining AI with great people and teams is going to make the biggest difference – Integration of this powerful technology with outstanding people is key here.

On the matter of combining existing concepts to make something new, one thing that recently got us excited is Padel – part tennis, part squash, part cage futsal. It’s the harmony of these three sports played like one that’s interesting. It creates an entirely new experience on its own that stands apart from the sum of its constituents – very much like AI and people.

Companies and brands that find a balance across these themes are going to find it much easier to create competitive edges and grow within their category.

What we have shared here are themes. The real action is always in the detail. It’s not possible to talk about partnerships, flexibility, and integration in completely broad terms. The conversation eventually needs to become specific.

Blue Yonder will be speaking publicly on all these subjects in 2022. Follow @blueyonder on Linked In for all the latest.

Here is where you can find us:



Date / Location

Campaign for Real Innovation


April 14th With senior guest speakers from clients including Mars
Wrigley, Nestle, Beam Suntory and Ooni, we’re on a
mission to make innovation more accessible – demystifying it for FMCG.
Quirks Event 4-5th May The art of spectacle: Driving buy-in and action beyond
narrative storytelling
NPD Conference 18-May Understanding Sustainability in the Real World
AURA/Blue Yonder
Innovation Masterclass Series
June In conference with Williams Engineering, Mondelez, LIV
GOLF and Ooni, we’re bringing the world leaders in
innovation to the world in a series of 4 conferences.
IIEX Europe 21-22 June Have we forgotten the person behind the participant?
Understanding moments that matter in a way that works

If any of you reading this are planning on attending or interested in any of these topics or conferences – reach out to us on our social media platforms! Collaborative thinking is always an exciting prospect and it’s a great chance to have a discussion of what people are thinking within the industry.

Throughout this article we’ve talked about a few things; the challenge of our present times, the general predictions coming from the industry, as well as a few of Blue Yonder’s own ideas. Whether it’s going to be the fascinating prospects of bringing great teams and AI together, or the increasing emphasis on client partnerships – it’s bound to be an exciting year full of operational change and opportunity throughout the research world.


Hopefully, this short summary has created some thoughts about the industry that haven’t occurred to you before. Thanks for reading our take on innovation and remember – Keep innovating, Keep investing in innovation! As a little extra, we have a collection of four innovations our team have noticed that are exciting. Something of an innovation review to give you an idea on what’s turning people’s heads.

Nike GoWe’ve all been hoping to see those Nike auto-laces since watching Back to The Future, now Nike’s out to deliver on those childhood dreams. Nike Go is a new way of thinking about how we put on shoes, offering a heel socket which snaps in and out of your trainer. Great for those who aren’t a fan of laces.

AarkeIf you love fizzy drinks, but not what they’re made from – this next one is for you. Aarke is a carbonator that can make any drink of your desire fizzy, all from the comfort of your own kitchen (plus, no wires!). It’s a great answer to those who’re trying to kick a soda addiction without sacrificing that fizz many of us love.

LG TV ArtworkLG have clearly got some art-lovers in their team as their newest idea is designing TVs which can display art through an always-on display. It’s a great example of turning a product’s negative qualities into something positive for its users.

Better BatteriesNAWA has developed a battery that’s quite literally 300% better than the average battery out in the world. It holds more power, is more durable and 1000x faster than any existing battery. The batteries also exclude lithium and lead, meaning they’re more environmentally friendly.

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Tell us about your goals. Whatever the stage, whatever the horizon, let’s find a way to get your business an edge.