There’s a perennial cry for penetrating insight and yet, by and large, what are claimed as insights seem to be really nothing more than market research findings. Even though it’s become fashionable to make research findings more interesting and appealing by being told as a story, or accompanied by music, film and such like, it remains the case that many ‘insights’ do not make any real difference in driving decisions in how a business change or grow.
How do you get insights that can truly inspire innovative thinking and instil the intuition for making the right decisions, doing the right things?
Typically, findings are produced from a research study or data analysis and these are then subject to a process of being pushed out, initially into the immediate team, subsequently more broadly across the organisation. Just like the manufacturer of widgets who pushes his wares out into the world in the hope and expectation that someone will buy what has been made. And we all know that better widgets don’t always make more sales.
The challenge here is one of penetration and impact. The assumption is that it is just a question of communicating these better and then people will ‘get it’ and act on it. In reality, behaviours and attitudes change only when people are shown a truth that affects how they feel, not just because they were given endless amounts of logical data. However powerful the communication of the evidence, no one can actually give you insight. Insight is something you ultimately gain once you are convinced that everything adds up and makes sense, after a process of enquiry, absorbing, experimentation and ultimately personal reflection.
The implication is that if the ambition is to make a bigger contribution to decisions and actions, then there is a need to facilitate a multifaceted approach to insight creation and implications arising. Creating insightful learning experiences that progressively build understanding and get people holding the same view so that everyone is pulling in the same direction. The more often that research and analytic studies are designed with these parameters front of mind then the more penetrating and useful the insight for decision-makers and their teams.
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