What is an insight?

“Shit, I can’t see no forest, just tons of trees!” I am sure this has happened to you aswell already. What’s the connection to Design Management you might wonder. A typical design process starts with a fuzzy front end, a wicked problem. How to solve a wicked problem? Since there is not a single problem to solve and not a clear solution at first sight, as Design Managers we have to explore the whole ecosystem around the wicked problem.

As a result we all end up with tons of colorful post-it notes full of things we have observed, read and detected during our Design Research. We finally understand the issue. But how can we translate the understanding into value? Right, you got me! We need to organize and cluster all this date. We need to synthesize what we have found out. A synthesis is not a summary – a summary would just reduce the post-it notes. What we want is find opportunities, areas where we can add and deliver value with our emerging concept!

What we need is insights! What a buzzword, you might say. We also struggled quite a bit in our Design Management class in several projects. What is just data and what is an insight? And how do we get good insights that lead us to a successful solution?

I found the following comment by Stephen Cribbett (source: http://www.dubstudios.com/mr/what-is-an-insight/). It was helpful for me and my team. I hope it is going to change your way of building your concepts on real insights, too!

1) An insight is always NEW, representing a discovery of a new idea, or a new way of looking at an

existing idea. The idea may not be new to the world, but is new to your business.

2) An insight always has EMOTIONAL resonance, based on a real consumer truth. Without emotional

content, ideas will never have the power to change the behaviour of your business or your customers.

3) Insights always CONNECT more than one idea, and come from the synthesis of multiple data points

and points of view. Insights come from integrated thinking.

4) Insights always look to the FUTURE, and have predictive power. An insight helps your business look

forward to see how your business can be transformed.

5) An insight has VALUE, and is a call to action for business. This is the most important element, as

insight is worthless unless it can be used to create value for your business.


About jandimitri

Master Student in Design Management at Istituto Europeo di Design Barcelona

One comment

  1. Just to add, I consider that an Insight is the starting spark for innovation and sometimes facilitates identifying an opportunity

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