This week, we sat down with Roxy to discuss the art of research, her mission in the role, where she finds inspiration, what makes her tick, her view of the world of innovation, and more.
Who are you, and what do you do?
Hi, my name is Roxanne Mosavar-Rahmani and I’m the Head of Research at Fahrenheit 212. I know my name is ridiculously long, don’t worry, you can call me Roxy!
What originally drew you to research?
Well it was actually rather serendipitous. 13 years ago, I was a participant in a discussion group (never call them focus groups please). At the end of the discussion, the moderator gave me her business card and said I should consider joining the company. As it turns out, she was the Founder and CEO of an incredible global research consultancy; one that I was part of for over 12 years before joining Fahrenheit 212 in September.
Beyond the good fortune, I’ve always loved connecting with people, understanding their core motivations, the inherent tensions and complexities within us, the stories we tell & how we tell them. In order to be a strong researcher, I think you need to be empathetic and be free of judgment. It’s only then that people will really open up, and you need openness and depth to get beyond the superficial. This is the moment you can start unlocking fresh powerful insights that drive client strategy.
What are your ambitions for the research function at Fahrenheit 212?
My overall goal is to define, cultivate, and steward the conversation and perspective to the market around “research for innovation”
I’m particularly excited about working together with an agency whose principles chime strongly with my POV on research:
- I believe great research should be inspiring and actionable, and F212 is built on an obsession with outcomes. At F212 our research has an end goal, it results in defining innovation strategies and developing new products, services, and experiences that create sustainable, profitable growth for our clients.
- I believe research is a discipline that can be taught, and F212 believes that innovation is a unique, learned skill set. Having diverse minds that can solve for the discrete needs of the consumer and the business is a powerful combination. I’m excited to amplify the great skills we already have in the research sphere.
How do you stay informed on interesting trends?
I can spend hours in coffee shops deeply immersed in Monocle. It combines all the things I love in one place — travel, fashion, culture, food and current affairs, and it does so with such flair. I appreciate the design, the beautiful raw photography, and I like that many of the contributors live in different parts of the world — you get a very global perspective on key issues and themes.
I also subscribe to The Economist, and I really enjoy their 1843 magazine.
I’m either binge watching 25 Ted Talks & podcasts, or none at all.
I also do a lot of casual street ethnography and observation — hanging around the different neighborhoods of New York, walking around galleries, checking out the new bars and restaurants. A lot of my friends are in the innovation, advertising, and consultancy world, so we talk a lot about trends, share articles, connect each other with inspiring people etc
Oh and travel…
I know you love to travel. Do you get inspiration from your global trips? Where is your next destination?
“Of all the books in the world, the best stories are found between the pages of a passport.” Travel is one of my biggest passions, and I enjoy looking through people’s passports, hearing about their travel stories and getting inspiration this way.
My last trip was in South America where I spent a month in Peru, Bolivia & Ecuador; ending in the Galapagos Islands. It was a trip of a lifetime — remote, peaceful, disconnected. Just me, my boyfriend and nature (oh and a big backpack).
Beyond travel, I really enjoy living in different parts of the world and immersing myself in new cultures, learning from people, understanding their traditions, ways of living and rituals that guide them. I’ve lived in Europe, Asia, and America and travelled to all continents — except Antarctica. So I guess Antarctica is on the list, via Patagonia.
What is the first thing you do every morning? The last thing at the end of every day?
“If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed…”
The first thing I do in the morning is make my bed. And the last thing I do at the end of the day is jump into my beautifully made bed (thinking about the people and the moments that have contributed to a great day — no matter how hard my day has been).
“If you make your bed every morning you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another. By the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed. Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter.” –U.S. Navy Adm. William H. McCraven
What do you never leave the house without?
My trainers (sorry sneakers)… I’m always running around the city. Running is my meditation.
What is the last book you read?
Children of Paradise, The Struggle for the Soul of Iran by Laura Secor. My dad is Persian and my mum is Scottish. They both lived in Iran before the Revolution, but I’ve only been there post ’79, so I’m always trying to find time to understand the rich layers of Persian culture and envisage what an Iran of the future could look like.
What is your favorite quotation?
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” African Proverb
What is the one product or service you think most needs a makeover?
I think we need to see an “Uber of the Financial services” in the US. The industry here is archaic and ripe for change!