Instinct and Reason

David Donnelly


co-owner and director of instinct and reason

Instinct and Reason

David Donnelly is a co-owner and director of instinct and reason, and has almost 20 years experience in market research and consulting roles.

David previously worked with the Office of Government Information and Advertising (Federal),and then moved in to the market research industry where he established the largest social research group in Australia.  
David studied Business (Marketing) and Science at an Australian university. He has also undertaken postgraduate studies in Sociology.

At instinct and reason, David consults at very senior levels to both private and Government organisations.  He has a wide ranging experience working for clients in tourism, environment, health, agribusiness, defence, energy, financial services, and insurance.
David has a number of passions within the research planning industry including communications development.  One of David’s specialisms is his understanding how current and future trends impact the ability of businesses to make sustainable profits.  In this pursuit David is a frequent public speaker on trends.


instinct and reason is a leading provider of market insights. We provide our clients excellence in research solutions that blend divergent thinking – the instinct; with convergent thinking – the reason.  We are an organisation that believes in people, ideas, and innovation. The outcome for our clients is delivering excellence in consulting with actionable research outcomes.

Our client base includes consumer, business, and government customers with many being long-term relationships, and new clients based on word of mouth recommendations.  

We are headquartered in Sydney with operational offices also in Canberra (capital city), and conduct research in all states and territories of Australia.

Our sector expertise is wide ranging, primarily covering an extensive client list in local, state and federal government organisations, utilities, agribusiness, financial services, insurance and industrial sectors.

We mix both qualitative and quantitative methods in more than 75% of our projects with most researchers highly skilled in both.  Specialist branded services include a demand forecasting tool, a customer satisfaction qualitative and quantitative tool (including market share and KPI service simulators), a suite of solutions for all your price, service or product optimization needs.


Australian Council for the Arts


Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency

Heart Foundation



M&C Saatchi

NSW Roads and Traffic Authority


Tourism Australia


Disabilitycare Australia - The workforce to deliver the vision

instinct and reason made a successful submission to the Practical Design Fund around workforce capacity and capability. In our previous research and consultancy around the NDIS, we kept hearing people saying “there is going to be a huge expansion of services for people with disabilities”. The question we kept asking was “who is going to deliver these services?”. So we proposed research to find out. The research was both intensive and extensive and above all…practical!