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Insights About Insights

Insights About Insights

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Published by Altesh Baijoo
Defining Insights ...
Defining Insights ...

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Categories:Types, Business/Law
Published by: Altesh Baijoo on Mar 23, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Insight is unquestionably the innovator’s most vital tool.But its edge is dulled by rampant ambiguity about just whatinsight is, by an entrenched myth about where it resides, andby letting staleness creep in to the ways we extract it.
To keep its edge sharp, it’s time to don the blacksmith’ssmock and give it a helpul rub at the whetstone.
In humbleservice to thisincrediblepower source we callinsight, andits immense value to thepursuit oinnovation inany endeavorgreat or small,this papersets out to dothree things:
To bring overdue clarity to just whatinsight is.
There’s a massively unhelpul misconception out there that insight somehowdees denition. Can we really look the world in the eye and say with astraight ace that insight is all important, but we’re not telling you what it is?In a word, no.
To erase the invisible prefx.
Most people in innovation practice will read the word insight inked on thispage and immediately think consumer insight. I you’re in the minoritythat take a broader view, congratulations. But i you can’t help but add theprex, here’s a healthy provocation. Consumer insight is a critical hal o innovation’s ignition system, but just hal. Commercial insight is the otherhal, and with remarkable requency, it proves to be the missing linkseparating success rom ailure, big rom small, a rapid sprint to marketrom a slow slog, and protable outcomes rom costly wheel spinning.
To reresh the insight hunter’s playbook with a six-pack o ways to invigorate yourpursuit o insight.
Any che knows that i you change the way you apply the heat, you’lltransorm the dish. It’s no less true o how you apply heat to insightgeneration. There’s no holy grail here, but some worthy ways and meansthat work in our pursuits and may help yours.
Blush ToJudgementQuestForDefnition
nearly every human andcommercial phenomenon is measured,bench-marked and analyzed withinan inch o its death, where businesseso immense scale are built on thepremise o giving away things o value solely to acquire the sellabledata beneath them, and wherethe relentless march o the digitalalgorithm threatens to neuter thoseprecious human gits we call intuitionand instinct, this highly loaded terminsight has been bought, sold, sliced,diced, diluted and bastardized withliberal abandon.Today, companies great and smallace an unprecedented need orthe growth that transormationalinnovation can unlock, and insightis the hard-edged fint rom whichinnovation’s brightest sparks fy.
But you can’t getsparks by bangingmarshmallowstogether.
Much o what is touted today asinsight is merely inormation insight – insight’s distant ancestralcousin at best.What’s helping this unhelpuldilution run rampant is thatso much about insight remainsshrouded in ambiguity — startingwith the seemingly simple tasko dening it...Webster calls it “the act or result o apprehending theinner nature o things or o seeing intuitively.” (Thiscaptures insight more as a capability than a thing.)IDEO’s Tim Brown is no more helpul: “That insightcannot yet be codied, quantied, or even dened—notyet, at any rate—makes it the most dicult but also themost exciting part o the design process.”Can we really look people straight in the eye and sayinsight is all important, but we’re not telling you what itis? In essence, you’ll know it when you see it?Being paid handsomely to help companies seeopportunities they can’t readily see themselves, weprobably owe the world a better answer.
“I shall not today attempt urther to defne the kinds o materialI understand to be embraced within that shorthand description,and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But Iknow it when I see it…”
Potter Stewart penned this classicline in 1964. He was talking about porn, and by reusingto sully his hands with the messy business o dening it,he instantly embedded “I know it when I see it” in thelexicon. (He also avoided the ull rontal assault on thenation’s innocence that any denition authored by nineblushing septuagenarians would have unleashed.)The problem or innovators is that Stewart’s non-denition could be airlited verbatim into the nebulousconversation around insight. It’s murky at best. Oninnovation’s ront lines, where there is no shortageo unknowns in play already, that’s nakedly unhelpul.No matter where you hunt or denition, you nd scantsatisaction. Try the handy digital dictionary bundledinto Microsot Word and you get this…
Insight (noun): 1)perceptiveness, 2) clear perception, 3) sel-awareness, or4) perception that hallucinations are not real.
(No, you’renot hallucinating. It really says that.)

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