James Fergusson – Innovating real time mobile research

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Today we are joined by James Fergusson, the CEO of MDI (https://www.mdi-global.com) a mobile focused research company launched in 2013.

MDI is based in Melbourne, with offices in Cape Town, Miami, Utah, Washington DC and recently launching their European presence from London. MDI has developed and is continuously evolving its own proprietary mobile research platform, and has worked with some of the world’s largest consumer brands.

This was a very enjoyable chat. Jason first met James back in 1994 when he started his career in market research at Frank Small and Associates in Melbourne. They were both wide-eyed young researchers, discovering market research somewhat by chance. It’s nice to sit down 25 years, and eight kids later (six of these James’) to chat. James has enjoyed a highly successful career in market research, including being based in Singapore for seven years in global executive roles for TNS / Kantar with a focus on technology and emerging markets.

They discuss James’ early days as an entrepreneurial kid mowing the lawns of neighbours to buy lollies and other joys the money brings. And, that a successful career is seldom linear or predictable, and it’s best to just embrace the ride.

James shares his perspective on the massive impact on research mobile phones have had over the past decade in the developed and developing world, and how this informed the strategy and innovation behind MDI. We hear about the story of MDI, and some lessons for those seeking to build a global facing business from Australia, including how to overcome our innate cultural risk aversion. A fascinating discussion about innovation in consumer insight past, present and the uncertain future.

Real People is a podcast hosted by Jason Dunstone, the founder and managing director of Square Holes. Subscribe to Real People on your favourite podcast player.


Jason builds on his 25 years of conducting human-centred research, interviewing average and not so average people (rich, poor, old, young, content and vulnerable) to understand what they believe and how they behave.

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Real People is a podcast hosted by Jason Dunstone, the founder and managing director of Square Holes, 25 years conducting research and interviews with average and not so average people, as well as interviews with key leaders such as innovators, politicians, scientists and experts. He has have been lucky to meet such wonderful and intelligent people, and have such fascinating discussions, but these are often largely deciphered down to research findings, insightful quotes, statistics et cetera for reports. Real People opens up such conversations for people like you

Subscribe to Real People on your favourite podcast player.

Best listened to via iTunes

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