Customer Stories

Assisting United Nations Global Development Initiative

How Discuss helped the Paragon Partnership to address United Nations Global Development Initiatives in the Philippines

The Paragon Partnership is an international, multi-organizational attempt to unify research efforts in order to address challenges in global development. Through Paragon, organizations share research and data in order to help governments and NGOs accelerate global development solutions. As a member of this partnership, offered the use of their video conferencing platform. Research conducted on’s platform during Paragon’s pilot in the Philippines in 2016 helped to uncover insights about healthcare, employment, and education in the country.

The Challenges

In 2015, the United Nations launched a global initiative in which member-states agreed to achieve goals set out in the “Sustainable Development Goals: 17 Goals To Transform Our World” by 2030. The goals confront global issues like poverty, climate change, and injustice. The Paragon Partnership was born of an effort to get the market research industry involved in accomplishing these goals by sharing data and unifying research efforts across research agencies, large corporations, and industry leaders to help governments and NGOs decide which of the 17 goals to prioritize.

Partners who have signed on for the launch of the Paragon program include:, Unilever, PepsiCo, Google, Coca-Cola, Kantar, Nielsen, MetrixLab, GfK, riwi, Adobe, Kantar, On Device Research, Flamingo, Save The Children, Project Everyone, Neighbourly, Clinton Health Access Initiative, Infotools, MetrixLab, Nielsen, The Market Research Society (MRS), ESOMAR, Global Research Business Network, Sapient Nitro, and United Nations.

The Solution

Through Paragon’s platform, industry partners and researchers come together to share data and information in order to provide governments and NGOs with meaningful insights that will accelerate solutions in sustainable development. Research efforts range across quantitative and qualitative methods, as was the case in Paragon’s successful pilot study conducted in the Philippines. In addition to surveying 842 participants on a quantitative level, the Philippines pilot also gathered deep insights through 8 in-depth interviews conducted on’s qualitative video conferencing platform.

Filipinos of varying backgrounds, ages, income levels, and regions were asked to determine which areas they believed would boast the largest impact, if addressed by their government. Participants honed in on three significant areas: healthcare, employment, and education. Within these categories, more specific concerns were also highlighted – ranging from economic and regional inaccessibility to corruption.

The Results

During the pilot in the Philippines, quantitative efforts were first used to create a baseline understanding the major issues broadly at play within their society. Qualitative interviews were then used to help the researchers to understand the depth of and reasons behind these problems. During the qualitative interviews, participants dove deep, sharing their perspectives and concerns about their surroundings. For example, when tackling the topic of education in the Philippines (determined to be a significant issue by the quantitative survey), researchers found a multitude of reasons that could be keeping children from attending school. In order to combat this phenomenon, participants offered solutions that they felt might alleviate the root cause. In one example, they suggested providing clinics within the schools themselves in order to improve both school attendance and children’s access to basic healthcare, thereby addressing two key concerns. By combining research methods, researchers were able to provide a tiered analysis and explanation of the key issues. With the quantitative data, they were able to confirm issues faced by Filipinos on a macro-level. With a qualitative approach, they were then able to dig deeper into those issues, giving participants an opportunity to provide valuable insights by offering potential solutions and expressing those concerns in their own words.

“In a rapidly-changing world, we cannot operate in silos. The past year has set the precedent with highly ambitious goals and frameworks created to address the global sustainability and development challenges that we all face. It is time to accelerate efforts to move towards achieving these goals and Paragon will allow us to share learning, data and insight, and encourages other businesses and industries to address these critical challenges affecting us all. By building a network of partners and working together, we can look for solutions which have greater scale and impact globally to address development and societal challenges.”
– Stan Sthanunathan
Senior Vice President of Consumer & Market Insights, Unilever’s Involvement

Using’s video conferencing platform allowed researchers to connect directly with participants in the Philippines, through the use of webcams and video recording. Furthermore,’s automatically searchable transcripts helped researchers to leverage the sessions by making it easy to find pertinent quotes, which could then be turned into video clips and highlight reels, bringing the participants’ perspectives to life. These quotes and video clips made the participants’ concerns approachable and helped to promote the success and depth of the research conducted through Paragon.

Key Takeaways

  • Paragon Project helps NGOs and the UN connect with companies to help achieve the “Sustainable Development Goals” and have the largest impact.
  • Using the platform, researchers were able to connect with Filipinos of varying demographic brackets, providing qualitative data on what to prioritize.
  • Using qualitative insight, researchers found multiple reasons and solutions for key issues, and were also able to use these video clips to help promote the success and depth of the research.

About Discuss enables brands to make better business decisions by engaging directly with consumers through real-time conversations. Using live video, brands are able to connect face-to-face, online, in order to achieve a rapid and deep-seated understanding of consumer perspectives and behaviors.

This “agile empathy” encourages brands to make better real-time decisions, leading to reduced time-to-market, successful products, and more effective marketing. The proprietary platform erases geographic barriers, expanding brands’ global reach and equipping them with a cultural and contextual understanding of the consumer populations that they target. Today, is powering consumer connection and empathy programs at many of the world’s leading brands.

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