PRODUCT INSIGHT? THE FIVE PRINCIPLES OF EFFECTIVE, INSIGHT DEFINITION

Jul 23, 2018

As customer experiences take center stage so does the need for more profound and compelling insight definition. Insights form the cornerstone of the design and innovation process, a lighthouse for what you should do next, and a catalyst for creating new value for your customers.

The ever-increasing explosion of data puts more knowledge at our fingertips than ever before, but you need to know what to do with it. Otherwise, it is obsolete and ineffective. We see an increasing lack of insight with companies living in an “illusion of knowledge,” drowning in data, insight poor, and failing to turn information into intelligence. Why?

The lack of shared understanding of what an insight is, and is not is one reason. An absence of the methodological rigor required for meaningful insight generation to happen is another. We see organizations frequently struggle to arrive at a standard definition of what an insight is, and a repeatable process for finding and articulating them. Most ‘insights’ we see are unfortunately nothing more than mere observations, reporting what has been seen in-field without any overt action or outcome attached. If we do not have a clear understanding of what ‘insight’ is, how can we possibly use it as a guidepost to define what’s next?

WHAT AN INSIGHT IS NOT

‘Insight’ has become a horribly misused word, much in the same vein as ‘brand,’ ‘strategy’ and ‘innovation’ have become misused words. So let us first get definitional and restore some meaning to the word by considering what insight is not:

INSIGHT IS NOT DATA

Data can take many forms, but we have to remember it is just that — data! Alone, it is not an insight, and it does not do your thinking for you. With masses of data at hand the fundamental problem is a lot more essential, how do we mine and analyze the data to reveal insight we can act on. Look at your data holistically and be cautioned against becoming attached to that singular inspiring data point that can drive a swift conclusion. Think holistically. Analyze intensely. Insight definition requires you to take a multi-dimensional view.

AN OBSERVATION IS NOT AN INSIGHT

Observations are an incredibly important part of creating insight but are still only one data point to consider and should never stand alone. They are facts that lack the “why” and the “motivation” behind a consumer’s behavior. Never stop short of the hard work involved during the process of insight definition of converting an astute observation in something more meaningful and actionable. Always get to the “why.”

A CUSTOMER WISH OR STATEMENT OF NEED IS NOT AN INSIGHT

An Insight is not an articulated statement of need. Insights are less apparent, intangible, latent. A hidden truth that is the result of obsessive digging. Anytime you hear ‘I want’ or ‘I need’ in a statement — step back and pause — as you probably need to dig deeper and understand the motivation, and the why behind ‘the want.’ Articulated needs are ideal for defining features and benefits, but do not lead to insights that have the gravity to topple existing categories and create new ones. Obsess about the outcome people want, don’t merely record their statements of need and assume you have insights, you likely do not.

INSIGHT DEFINITION

Definitions abound about what an insight actually is. But rather than get hung up and belabor endless definitions we encourage our client partners to define their process of insight definition based on the business impact they want to drive within their own organizations. A definition is helpful but knowing what value your insight should deliver is far more important and makes them actionable, building momentum for change. At THRIVE we look at the insights we craft to deliver the following as a working definition:

– An unrecognized fundamental human truth.
– A new way of viewing the world that causes us to reexamine existing conventions and challenge the status quo.
– A penetrating observation about human behavior that results in seeing consumers from a fresh perspective.
– A discovery about the underlying motivations that drive people’s actions.

TURNING KNOWLEDGE INTO INSIGHT

Casual observation and simply having knowledge is not enough. Insight definition takes work; it’s a skill that requires creativity, persistence and deep thinking to craft. The most powerful insights come from rigor and serious analysis to translate large amounts of data into concise and compelling findings. Organizations who want to use insights as the platform for organic growth require a process that is both scalable and repeatable so that it can become routinized within the organization with predictable long-term results. Use written insight statements guided by five key principles to turn research data into actionable insight to inspire new ideas for product and service development.