Environics at 50
Explore 50 year’s of history by browsing our timeline of Environics milestone moments
Twenty five years ago in 1995, Environics conducted its first segmentation of generational cohorts based on social values. At the time we segmented Elders, Boomers and Generation X, and have since developed segmentations for Millennials and now Gen Z.
The COVID-19 pandemic couldn’t stop us from holding our annual summer party in celebration of our 50th anniversary. Thanks to the resourcefulness and creativity of our team, we were able to kick off the celebrations with an innovative virtual party that brought us all together, complete with a special recorded message from our co-founder Michael Adams about the early days of Environics and how our company has evolved over time.
The Canadian Research and Insights Council (CRIC) is Canada’s voice of the research, insights and analytics industry both domestically and globally. Extending a long record of collaborating to support high standards for research quality and ethics, Environics is proud to support CRIC’s efforts to protect the public interest in research. CRIC members include research agencies, companies that rely on insights, and other industry partners.
Our co-founder Michael Adams was honoured in 2017 with an appointment to the Order of Canada for his leadership in public opinion research, and for his insights into Canadian values and identity.
With many Canadians wondering whether the xenophobic populism ascendant in other Western democracies was likely to gain broad social support and political power in Canada, Michael Adams assembled an evidence-based picture of Canadian dynamics in Could It Happen Here? Canada in the Age of Trump and Brexit.
Introduced to extend the value our Health and Wellness practice delivers to clients, PatientConnect™ is a values-based segmentation tool that provides organizations with a deeper understanding of the attitudes and behaviours that drive patients’ decision-making. The tool groups patients into five distinct groups based on opinion and perceptual data gathered over time, and helps leaders understand the values orientations that shape patients’ responses to information, advice and offerings.
The 2006 census revealed that for the first time, a majority of individuals who identified as Indigenous and lived in Canada were living in cities. To better understand the experiences, identities, values and aspirations of these people, the Environics Institute convened a diverse advisory circle (including Indigenous and non-Indigenous experts, academics, leaders and educators) and initiated the Urban Aboriginal Peoples Study, a landmark national study whose publicly available findings are housed at the University of Winnipeg.
With social media becoming an increasingly important landscape for research insights, Environics Research invested in an innovative Montreal-based startup focused on the analysis of public conversations online. Nexalogy Environics became the newest addition to Environics’ versatile network of research enterprises.
A key platform in our Health and Wellness practice area, MDConnect™ was created by Environics Research in partnership with IQVIA, a nationally respected provider of healthcare data, software, research and consulting services. The partnership supports a unique segmentation tool that combines Environics’ robust values-based segmentation model with physician data from IQVIA.
The IRIS Global Network is one of the world’s largest of networks of independently owned research institutes. By joining this collaboration, which involves (37) IRIS offices around the world, Environics Research enhanced our ability to efficiently support clients in major global research initiatives, offering insight into international markets and their consumers, businesses and societies.
The nonprofit Environics Institute for Survey Research was established by Michael Adams to promote relevant and original public opinion and social research on important issues of public policy and social change. Often initiating its own research programs and topic-specific studies, the Institute focuses on issues of public importance that might not otherwise be explored by firms or governments.
With new modes of data collection and analysis reshaping the research landscape in Canada, Environics Research invested in the creation of Environics Analytics, complementing the latter’s “big analytics” capabilities with a rich trove of social values research. Environics Analytics remains a close collaborator of Environics Research, and has become the leading provider of solutions for evidence-driven decision making to Canadian businesses and institutions.
Michael Adams published ‘Fire And Ice’ which offers the surprising argument that the values of Canadians and Americans are diverging in important ways. Despite the two countries’ profound economic integration, their many historical, demographic, and geographic similarities, and the ubiquity of American popular culture in Canada, Adams argues that Canadians and Americans increasingly view the world differently.
Fire and Ice won the 2003/2004 Donner Prize for Best Public Policy Book by a Canadian, praised as “an outstanding book that addresses a critical issue underlying many current policy arguments.” It was also selected by the Literary Review of Canada as one of the hundred most important books ever published in Canada.
To facilitate research work with the federal government and other public affairs clients in the National Capital Region, in 2003 we launched the Ottawa office of Environics Research. Our Ottawa team continues to deliver evidence-driven insights to government, NGOs, and the private sector on a wide range of issues.
After years or engaging Research House as a supplier, Environics Research acquired the research service firm, whose capabilities ranged from computer-assisted telephone interviews (CATI) to the provision of venues and supports for qualitative research.
Drawing on a decade of social values research conducted on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border, Michael Adams’s third book was Fire And Ice: The United States, Canada and the Myth of Converging Values. It argued that despite the two countries’ profound economic integration, their many historical, demographic and geographic similarities, and the ubiquity of American popular culture in Canada, Canadians and Americans increasingly saw the world differently.
Sex in the Snow: The Surprising Revolution in Canadian Social Values was the first book by Environics founder Michael Adams describing findings from Environics social values research. A national bestseller, it argued that demography was not destiny – that values shape people’s lives and choices alongside characteristics like age or gender – it divided the Canadian population into 12 values segments across three generations: Elders, Baby Boomers, and Generation X.
Introduced as part of the development of our Financial Services practice area, the Advisor Perception Study is the most comprehensive tool of its kind in Canada. Environics acquired the study in 1997 from its creator Dan Richards, in order to provide subscribers with an insider’s perspective of current trends and emerging forecasts for the future of the industry.
Responding to growing public and government interest in environmental and natural resource issues, Environics launched the Environmental Barometer. This ongoing public opinion survey of Canadians has covered topics ranging from environmental regulation to pipeline construction. Historical data dating from 1987 are available through the Canadian Opinion Research Archive.
The Focus Canada research program moved from Environics Research to the Environics Institute, where it continues to explore issues of public importance, ranging from trust in institutions to migration and multiculturalism. The Focus Canada database contains some of the richest and longest-running public opinion tracking data, enabling thoughtful analysis of changes in Canadian society over time.
Commencing our social values research program in Canada and around the globe in 1983, Environics became the first firm to bring social values measurement to Canada. The Environics Research Social Values measurement system measures the prevalence, growth, and decline of social values across society, as well as the concentration of values in particular social groups, such as youth or city-dwellers. Our annual surveys of thousands of Canadians let us measure and track social change over time. Since 1983, we’ve built the largest database of social values trends in North America, encompassing over 100 distinct constructs.
One of Environics’ first major projects was an examination of public and professional thinking on obscenity in film. The Ontario Department of Tourism and Information commissioned the study to inform policy discussions on censorship.
Michael Adams graduated from university during a recession. With job offers for new graduates scarce, he and two co-founders, David McFadden and John McNaughton, launched a company grounded in their academic interest in studying social issues. A subsequent partnership between Michael Adams and Derek Ruston helped Environics build its strength as a business. This balance – between curious exploration and commercial success – remains central to Environics’ culture.
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