Read about our views on marketplace changes as well as updates on our research and event programmes.

A new EU-wide research survey published in April 2011, has shown that the UK lags behind many other countries according to a consumer empowerment index. The research revealed that less than 50% of the 56,000 respondents (in 29 countries answering 70 questions) felt confident, knowledgeable and protected as consumers.

The European Commission said that the "results show that consumer awareness and skills are worryingly low. However, there is a considerable potential to empower consumers and thereby to improve consumer welfare and reduce consumer detriment. The internet and the media have a key role to play in…

Innovation happening in health

Posted: 20th April, 2011 | 0 comments

Attended an excellent event at Nesta this morning. Four great speakers all revealing how new services designed around the user are making real savings for the NHS and other parts of the NHS. The introductory remark was that if 1% of consultations could take place at home, this would save the NHS £250m a year. It's a huge saving and opportunity.

* Adil Abrar, founder and director, Sidekick Studios. Sidekick are behind the Buddy project, part of NESTA’s Reboot Britain programme looking at new solutions for public services, helping patients with anxiety and depression to track…

The Government’s new programme 'Better Choices: Better Deals' represents a significant acceleration in the trend towards consumer empowerment. They even call it a ‘Consumer Empowerment Strategy’. We’ve prepared a mydata briefing on what this means for organisations. It’s free!


The announcement is a first on two fronts:

1) Its ‘mydata’ programme encourages companies to release data they hold about individuals back to them, so that they can use this data for their own purposes. This is the first major Government initiative, globally, towards a changed personal data consensus: personal data is a personal asset, and individuals should have…

Government's Mydata strategy

Posted: 12th April, 2011 | 0 comments

Today the Government launched its new Better Choices: Better Deals Consumer Empowerment strategy, of which Mydata is a key part.


Mydata is an initiative to encourage businesses to release data back to individuals in a portable re-usable way - so that the data becomes a useful resource for the individual as well as for the company.


This is a landmark move towards personal information empowerment.  Ctrl-Shift attended a special Roundtable at No 10 Downing Street as part of the consultations around this proposal. I was asked to give a short presentation. Here is what I said:

What does the phrase 'consumer empowerment' mean to you?

Depending who you are it may seem like a threat, or 'about time too'; or a 'trend' to be observed. Right now however, very few people see it as a business opportunity.

That needs to change, because empowering consumers is probably one of the biggest opportunities for innovation and growth we've seen for decades. We (Ctrl-Shift) have just published a report which begins to outline the scale of this opportunity.

Called 'Personal Information Management Services - A Market Poised to Disrupt', the report makes this simple observation: everyone wants to…

We're still progressing our thinking on how to provide the consumer side of the evidence of the control shift. Thanks to those who commented on the original (either on site or via email). We are now close to our final questions (see below). We're looking to get these out on a survey before Easter and reporting back at our Explorers' Club in May.

Our Questions:

Trend: information as a tool in the hands of the individual (decision-making)

1. When making a non-routine purchase, the first thing I do is seek out independent information…

I’ve just been reading the World Economic Forum’s report Personal Data: The Emergence of New Asset Class.


Here are some of the key points in the report.  First, it highlights the vast amounts of personal data that are now being generated and that this data (‘digital data created by and about people’) “is generating a new wave of opportunity for economic and societal value creation.”


It continues: “Increasing the control that individuals have over the manner in which their personal data is collected, managed and shared will spur a host of new services and applications. As some…

Two sides of the control shift

Posted: 6th April, 2011 | 0 comments

There are two sides to the control shift.

1) The first is organisations realising that the quest for control over customers is futile and counterproductive.

2) The second is actual shifts in control, due to (for example) changes in the way information is collected, managed and used.

This blog explores how the quest for control came about, and why it causes so many problems.

More on metrics

Posted: 1st April, 2011 | 0 comments


Aristotle said the natural state of matter is rest, so he had to explain motion: with the concept of the Prime Mover. Newton said the natural state of matter is motion, and explained rest in terms of friction. They both looked at exactly the same evidence and drew opposite conclusions.


I think we’ve got a similar problem in marketing metrics. Marketers have been on a long and fruitless wild goose chase – the quest for ‘evidence’ that they are changing consumer behaviour; for evidence of their role as the Prime Mover of markets. We can stay on this…