Balcostics in China: The 12th China-LAC Business Summit

The 12th China-LAC business summit was held in Zhuhai China, from the 1st of November to the 3rd. Balcostics Research was among two Jamaican MSMEs selected by Connect Americas (an IDB branch) to participate in this, the 12th staging.

The conference was held in the Guangzhou province, in the city of Zhuhai – this is where the World’s longest (through the sea) bridge was recently opened. This bridge connects Hong Kong to Main Land China, and is approximately 55 Kilometers long. For context, Mandeville to Kingston is approximately 91 km.

Registration commenced from October 31st, this was followed by the opening ceremony on November 1st, where we met our Minister & Ambassador to China.   

Day 2 begun with matchmaking sessions, which were mostly organized prior via the Summit’s¬†website. MSMEs from LAC were paired with businesses & organizations¬†operating in China to explore possibilities for future trade in services or products.

After matchmaking sessions ended around midday, the exhibition hall was opened to the public.

Our third & final day ended¬†with an official tour of the new ‘China-LAC Economic & Trade Corporation Park’ – we also visited a temple ūüôā¬† ¬†

Overall, this was an eyeopening experience for us in so many ways. We’re truly grateful to Connect Americas’ & the IDB for this opportunity and we planted some seeds that we hope will bear fruit in the future.

At Balcostics our mission is to empower leaders with the required data and information to make better decisions. Want to learn more about our research services for individuals and companies: Click here

Data Collection in August Town

Over a three day period (October 12-14) , team Balcostics was in the community of August Town interviewing residents.

Thank you to the residents of this community for their warm welcome.

Here are photo highlights from our visits:

 

 

At Balcostics our mission is to empower leaders with the required data and information to make better decisions. Learn more about our full list of research outsourcing services for individuals and companies: Click here

What you think you know: Compare to Statistical Facts

In this very insightful TedTalk, Alan Smith outlined the false dichotomy that there are only two types of people: those who’re good with numbers & those who’re not.

By¬†visualizing prior studies and comparing official figures from national statistics with what samples of people think/ perceive reality to be, Alan’s presentation shows the disparity between what we think we know and the actual¬†facts – most often than not, the¬†difference is preposterous. In an¬†era of ‘Fake News’ and dubious information, an appreciation for the veracity of statistics is evident.

 

At Balcostics our mission is to empower leaders with the required data and information to make better decisions. Learn more about our full list of research outsourcing services for individuals and companies: Click here

 

Fish Sanctuaries: Ensuring Jamaica’s Future Fish Supply

Recently we concluded a survey among fisherfolks across seven (7) fish sanctuaries (Bluefields, Salt Harbour, Galleon Harbour, Three Bays, Boscobel, Oracabessa and Galleon St. Elizabeth) in Jamaica.

What is a Fish Sanctuary? 

A Fish Sanctuary is a coastal area where no fishing is allowed so that fish (and other sea life) have a sea haven to breed and grow to increase the fish stock and keep it healthy.

Here are some highlights from our visits:

 

At Balcostics our mission is to empower leaders with the required data and information to make better decisions. Learn more about our full list of research outsourcing services for individuals and companies: Click here

 

Conducting Qualitative Research across Jamaica: Highlights

Team Balcostics recently concluded a qualitative research (Focus Groups & Qualitative Surveys) project involving youths, small and large scale farmers across 9 parishes in Jamaica. The following are some lessons  learnt:

  • Scheduling & organizing participants – give participants at least one week notice to prepare and adjust their schedule.
  • Logistics – Some of the¬†target groups were located in deep¬†rural communities and finding the specific Focus Group venue proved challenging. Be cognizant of¬†additional time for wrong turns (transportation) ūüôā
  • Provide¬†Refreshments – It’s a great way to make¬†participants comfortable and they will likely share more information with you.

Here are some highlights from our numerous trips:

 

At Balcostics our mission is to empower leaders with the required data and information to make better decisions. Learn more about our full list of research outsourcing services for individuals and companies: Click here

 

 

This is how Small Businesses should use Market Research

Market research is very useful for small businesses. As a small business, especially doing something disruptive, you have to follow your gut much more than in other scenarios, for sure and there are some types of research that will not be applicable. Three things I have learned about marketing and market research:

  1. Online surveys are often overrated and poorly implemented, qualitative research is often underrated.
  2. Market research is not about outsourcing your job to consumers, but they can provide valuable input to various decisions you will need to make.
  3. I am not Steve Jobs.

Small Business

More detail on those:
1. While I don’t want to get into semantics I think it is important to point out that market research is more than quantitative surveys about the viability of a product idea (as sometimes seems to be the assumption).

If your respondent hasn’t experienced something you should probably not ask them about it explicitly. For example, just last year I stayed away from the the word smartphone, it turns out that among consumers there is a broad understanding of what it is but when it gets down to specifics perceptions vary. Try asking your friends what makes something a smartphone (they might focus on touch screen, data and internet, apps, …). Asking your friends brings me to the next point.

Qualitative research (focus groups, interviews, observation) is often underestimated or overlooked. If you run a music startup and ask a DJ friend how they store and manage music, would you consider that market research? If you ask a few people to come into the office to talk about how and on what devices they store and listen to music, are you running a focus group or are you just talking to people? My suggestion, without worrying about the exact definition of market research, is to figure out as many ways as possible to inform your decision making (qual, quant, observation, reading forum posts, using competitor products, mopping up available data, web analytics, …), pick the most appropriate ones, use them in the right order.

On qual and quant specifically, talk to people in a more or less formal methodology, listen to their problems, how they react to your ideas, what they think of competitors or perceived competitors. Follow up with a survey to validate and quantify what you have heard. Two most common mistakes with surveys: One is constructing your questions without a basis for comparison (30% were somewhat or very interested in the product, means nothing. 30% preferred idea A to idea B, means something). The other is sticking your survey on a forum or emailing it to a group without considering the biases within that population and within the sample who responded. The results might be useless or worse and you probably should have stuck with qual.

2. You can’t expect consumers to do your job for you, but their input can inform your decision making. If potential users aren’t informing the process what or who is? If you start with a big hairy problem or a vision, asking consumers explicitly about it is probably of little use. Ask customers how much they want to pay and the answer will come back as close to zero. There are limitations to any information gathering or problem solving method. Knowing them is what makes you competent, working around them is what makes you good. As you break your big problem/vision down into its parts that’s when you will find specific missing pieces or decision points that consumers can inform.

3. I have often heard it said that Apple is a visionary company and they “don’t do market research”. I think it is true they don’t defer to consumers on big product decisions. No one should, coming back to point 2. I know for a fact that they do customer satisfaction surveys and I would be very surprised if they don’t do brand tracking and media effectiveness research. Unless you are in the position of a Steve Jobs you might want to generate some customer/user feedback (numbers or comments) to validate or modify your assumptions, both for yourself as well as for colleagues and potential investors. In my case personally, the alternative to doing market research is not being Steve Jobs, it is being a worse marketer. Update: The Apple Samsung trial confirms that Apple does more market research than previously thought. Not for product development but for understanding customer perception of their and competitors products

Written by Fredrik Samanta on Quora

At Balcostics our mission is to empower decision makers with the required data and information to make better decisions. Learn more about our full list of research outsourcing services for individuals and companies: Click here

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Training in the Electronic Data Collection System (EDACS)

Our team was trained in the use of eDACs, an automated paperless system developed by the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN).

This partnership with STATIN is a match made in statistics! We will collect data using tablet computers in our upcoming project with companies across Jamaica.

Special thanks to Mr.Howard Hamilton. director of the information and technology (IT) division, Ms. Tannecia Blackwood, Mr. Boyd Goodin and the rest of the STATIN team for accommodating us.

 

Dare to be Different: 4 Best Practices

I was asked¬†recently¬†to present at a Youth Camp under the theme “Dare To Be Different”. The camp was held in the cool hills of NewPort, Manchester. I was overjoyed to share my experience with so many wonderful campers. My first question…
Should we really be different

 

I hope you feel inspired to embrace your difference! Be the change you want to see in the world.

 

At Balcostics our mission is to empower decision makers with the required data and information to make better decisions. Learn more about our full list of research outsourcing services for individuals and companies: Click here

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Why we make bad decisions [Video]

decision wrongDan Gilbert presents research and data from his exploration of happiness ‚ÄĒ sharing some surprising tests and experiments that you can also try on yourself. Watch through to the end for a sparkling Q&A with some familiar TED faces.

At Balcostics our mission is to empower leaders with the required data and information to make better decisions. Learn more about our full list of research outsourcing services for individuals and companies: Click here

Teach statistics before calculus! Who agree?

Someone always asks the math teacher, “Am I going to use calculus in real life?” And for most of us, says Arthur Benjamin, the answer is no.

Data in Jamaica schools

He offers a bold proposal on how to make math education relevant in the digital age.

 

At Balcostics our mission is to empower leaders with the required data and information to make better decisions. Learn more about our full list of research outsourcing services for individuals and companies: Click here

Data Collection: Credit Unions across Jamaica

We would like to thank all the Credit Union Managers who took time out of their busy schedule to accommodate us.

See highlights:

Data visualization of HIV’s complex risk factors

HIVHans Rosling unveils new data visuals that untangle the complex risk factors of one of the world’s deadliest (and most misunderstood) diseases: HIV. He argues that preventing transmissions ‚ÄĒ not drug treatments ‚ÄĒ is the key to ending the epidemic.

 

At Balcostics our mission is to empower leaders with the required data and information to make better decisions. Learn more about our full list of research outsourcing services for individuals and companies: Click here

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Yes you should smile more & we have research to prove it :-)

There is a¬†saying that goes like this, “smile a while and give your face a rest” – now, we have science to verify the validity of this statement :-).¬†Below, Ron Gutman reviews several research studies about smiling, and reveals some surprising results.

smile (1)

  1. Did you know your smile can be a predictor of how long you’ll live?
  2. Did you know that a simple smile has a measurable effect on your overall well-being?

Prepare to flex a few facial muscles as you learn more about this evolutionarily contagious behaviour. After watching this video, we hope you will smile even more!

 

At Balcostics our mission is to empower leaders with the required data and information to make better decisions. Learn more about our full list of research outsourcing services for individuals and companies: Click here

What’s your views on a Happy Planet Index?

Statistician Nic Marks asks why we measure a nation’s success by its productivity ‚ÄĒ instead of by the happiness and well-being of its people.

IMG_20171013_142429_337

He introduces the Happy Planet Index, which tracks national well-being against resource use (because a happy life doesn’t have to cost the earth). Which countries rank highest in the HPI? You might be surprised.

At Balcostics our mission is to empower leaders with the required data and information to make better decisions. Learn more about our full list of research outsourcing services for individuals and companies: Click here

 

Why smart statistics are the key to fighting crime

When she became the attorney general of New Jersey in 2007, Anne Milgram quickly discovered a few startling facts: not only did her team not really know who they were putting in jail, but they had no way of understanding if their decisions were actually making the public safer. And so began her ongoing, inspirational quest to bring data analytics and statistical analysis to the US criminal justice system.

 

At Balcostics our mission is to empower leaders with the required data and information to make better decisions. Learn more about our full list of research outsourcing services for individuals and companies: Click here

 

How juries are fooled by statistics

Oxford mathematician Peter Donnelly reveals the common mistakes humans make in interpreting statistics ‚ÄĒ and the devastating impact these errors can have on the outcome of criminal trials.

Corruption has a significant influence on economic growth in the short run, but not in the long run

Corruption InvestmentThis study of forty two developing countries uses Panel Dynamic Ordinary Least Squares ‚Äď PDOLS – to examine the relationship between foreign direct investment, corruption and economic growth.

The results suggest that corruption has a significant influence on per capita GDP in the short run but is not significant in the long run. It was also found that lower levels of corruption enhance the impact of foreign direct investment on economic growth. This has important implications for policymakers.

Learn more about this paper: click here

Author(s):

Marie Freckleton, (Department of Economics, University of the West Indies, Kingston, Jamaica); Allan Wright, (Central Bank of Barbados, Bridgetown, Barbados); Roland Craigwell, (Department of Economics, University of the West Indies, Cave Hill, Barbados)

At Balcostics our mission is to empower decision makers with the required data and information to make better decisions. Learn more about our full list of research outsourcing services for individuals and companies: Click here

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Understanding basic terms & concepts used in research [Video]

understand research

This video will help you better understand the following terms & concepts:

  1. Population or target group
  2. Samples & sample statistics
  3. Descriptive & Inferential statistics
  4. Strengths & weaknesses of certain statistics
  5. Representative samples

Using Google data to visualize Vybz Kartel’s rise & fall (2004 – 2014)

Vybz Kartel dataWith several local and international publications and online discussions surrounding the recent conviction of popular dancehall entertainer Vybz Kartel, we got the idea to examine online “interest” in ‘Vybz Kartel’ from 2004 to present (March 2014).

According to Google, interest in ‘Vybz Kartel’ peaked twice over the period (2004 – 2014), in October 2011 (Vybz Kartel’s initial arrest) & again in March 2014 (after the conviction of Vybz Kartel). ¬† ¬†

Looking at the data:

Vybz kartel 1

Online interest peaked in October 2011 – Vybz Kartel arrest (98 out of a maximum ranking of 100)

Vybz kartel 222

Online interest declined during Vybz Kartel’s trial before returning to it’s peak in March 2014 – Vybz Kartel murder conviction (100 out of a maximum ranking of 100).

Vybz kartel 333

Top 5 regions by online interest rankings:

Vybz kartel 4

At Balcostics we specialize in using infographics, animations and other data visualization methods to present data in an engaging, easy to understand format. Learn more about our full list of research services for individuals and companies: Click here

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Using research to better understand customers [Video]

How is it possible to effectively understand your target customers? One thing we know for sure, it’s not magic!

Market research

Answer: Market Research

Learn more about our research services for individual and companies: Click here

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LIME continues upward trend with 11.76% share price increase: JSE Winners & Losers

Trading on the JSE  main market, resulted in  16 stocks being traded of which 11 experienced price gains (winners), 3 declined in price (losers) and 2 traded firm (no movement in price).

Market volume amounted to 2,979,326 units valued at over $94,133,835. GraceKennedy Ltd. was the volume leader with 1,499,578 units (50.33%) followed by LIME with 653,000 units (21.92%) and Jamaica Money Market Brokers Ltd. with 395,010 units (13.26%).

Lime shares

LIME experiences the day’s highest gain, increasing by 13.16% or $0.05 to end the day at $0.43; whilst GraceKennedy Ltd. suffered the day’s greatest loss, falling by 12.96% or $1.55 to close at $57.23.

The Winners (share price increased):

Companies Closing  Price ($) # of Shares Traded Increase($) Increase(%)
LIME 0.43 653,000 0.05 13.16%
Scotia Investments Jamaica Ltd. 25.44 3,443 1.36 5.65%
Mayberry Investments Ltd 2.00 200 0.10 5.26%
Jamaica Money Market Brokers Ltd. 7.50 395,010 0.30 4.17%
Sagicor Investments Jamaica Limited 17.47 3,536 0.37 2.16%
Jamaica Broilers Ltd. 5.10 50,000 0.10 2.00%
Sagicor Group Jamaica Limited 9.39 192,847 0.08 0.86%
Carreras Limited 35.48 21,499 0.13 0.37%
Scotia Group Jamaica 21.11 78,157 0.05 0.24%
Caribbean Cement Company Ltd. 4.16 7,476 0.01 0.24%
Pan-Jamaican Investment Trust Ltd. 49.05 719 0.04 0.08%

 

The Losers (share price declined):

Companies Closing  Price($) # of Shares Traded Decrease($) Decrease(%)
GraceKennedy Ltd. 57.23 1,499,578 -1.55 -2.64%
National Commercial Bank of Jamaica Ltd. 18.67 10,711 -0.37 -1.94%
Proven Investments Limited 8% 5.07 10,150 -0.02 -0.39%

Written by:

Thereece StewartThereece Stewart BSc.

Thereece holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Banking and Finance from UWI. She is accredited by the UTech/JIM-School of Advance Management with a Certificate in Jamaican Securities.

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How technology is changing everything: Fun Stats [Video]

Change

This short video highlight some of the recent trends in Social Media and Digital Media consumption around the world. Focusing specifically on Twitter, Facebook, Youtube and Mobile usage statistics – these figures show emerging trends in consumer behavior and how these technologies are changing the world as we know it.

‚ÄúThou shalt not be black‚ÄĚ: Christianity & the distribution of power

Within the Caribbean, and more specifically the Jamaican context, the failure to acknowledge religion as a significant factor in the distribution of power, opportunities and status still exists. And although such failure is evident among all sections of the Jamaican society, the group that has lost and continues to lose the most is the lower class African group.

In order to understand the role religion‚ÄĒmore specifically Christianity‚ÄĒhas played in the subjugation of blacks in Jamaica from slavery till present, one has to understand the historical, political, socio-cultural and economic factors.

Rasta Jamaica

Rastafari, even as a movement steeped in Ethiopianism and Black Liberation, cannot eradicate the traces of black subjugation that has been woven into the fabric of Jamaican culture. ¬†If one asks you to close your eyes and think about Christ more often than not it is the ‚Äėstereotypical‚Äô image of a white man. An individual who perceives Christ in this way subconsciously separates himself from that Supreme Being by virtue of not having the ‚Äúimage and likeness‚ÄĚ of Christ.

In the end, one believes that a structural social movement approach similar to how Christianity was established in the Caribbean or a purely African doctrine devoid of all ideological similarities to Christianity, can be the only means of ‚Äėsalvation‚Äô for blacks in Jamaica.

Want to learn more about this paper, contact the author via email: steffon.campbell02@uwimona.edu.jm

Contributed by: Steffon R. K. Campbell

SteffonAssistant Lecturer/Coordinator, Western Jamaica Programme 
Caribbean Institute of Media and Communication (CARIMAC)
Faculty of Humanities and Education
The University of the West Indies, Mona
Western Jamaica Campus

At Balcostics our mission is to empower leaders with the required data and information to make better decisions. Learn more about our full list of research outsourcing services for individuals and companies: Click here

Understanding sampling methods [Animation]

Random sampling is a myth. Practical researchers know this and deal with it. Theoretical statisticians live in a theoretical world where random sampling is possible and ubiquitous ‚Äď which is just as well really ~ Dr Nic.

Sampling methods

This engaging and simple video covers five sampling methods that you need to know, they are as follows:

  1. Simple Random
  2. Convenience
  3. Systematic
  4. Cluster
  5. Stratified

At Balcostics our mission is to empower leaders with the required data and information to make better decisions. Learn more about our full list of research outsourcing services for individuals and companies: Click here

 

Statistical Analysis of TEDTalks: Fun Stats [Video]

TedTalk statisticsSebastian Wernicke turns the tools of statistical analysis on TEDTalks, to come up with a metric for creating “the optimum TEDTalk” based on user ratings. How do you rate it?

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