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VCU: A Labour of Love

Editor’s Note: I know what you’re thinking: “Not another post about Vision Critical!”, but those guys just keep doing cool stuff and as long as they (or anyone else for that matter) keep doing interesting stuff I’ll keep featuring it here on the blog. Today is exceptionally cool: my good friend Ray Poynter is giving us the scoop on an exciting new resource for the industry: Vision Critical University. I think a public repository of use cases, learnings, tips, and training like this is a smart move in the right direction for contributors or content creators. It’s also a great development for anyone interested in learning more about specific elements of market research.  Is it a bit self serving? Sure, and that is what pays the bills so that companies can do cool stuff like VCU that isn’t directly contributing to revenue.

Ray has more details below. Class dismissed…

By Ray Poynter

Since December I have been working on a really fun project for Vision Critical (with lots of other people) and the first results of our initial phase (a live beta perhaps) are now available online at

The idea of the project is to eventually put as much of Vision Critical’s accumulated knowledge online as time and prudence will allow. As leaders in the field of community panels we feel we have a duty to set out what we think is best practice, allowing others to agree or disagree with us as they see fit. Our people already do this via conference presentations, workshops for organisations such as ESOMAR, MRS, and AMSRS, articles in the trade press, and webinars; but VCU (Vision Critical University) will be the first time we have pulled all the threads together in one place.

Of course, we all know that there is no such thing as a free lunch and there is a hard-headed commercial reason for this sharing of knowledge. We are confident that by putting large amounts information into the public domain we can extend the awareness of what technology enabled research can do, we can reassure potential users of community panels, and lower the boundaries of trial for people who are still using ‘old research’. As the market leader in the field, and the people publishing the information, our assumption is that we will be in the running for any increased level of demand for technology enabled research.

For me the role of heading up the development of VCU has been a labour of love. I massively enjoy exploring the boundaries of knowledge and seeking to share what I find, as evidenced by my roles in the past with contributions to the ESOMAR Handbook of Market Research, The Handbook of Online and Social Media Research, contributions to the University of Georgia’s Principles of Marketing Research course, and the creation of the Festival of NewMR. Now I am in the lucky position of being paid to indulge my love of gathering and sharing information. Expect to see the site grow and grow over the next few months.

Please visit VCU at and let me know your thoughts. Or, you can catch me or Andrew Reid (CEO of Vision Critical) next week at the MRMW Conference in Amsterdam

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