A good research company will make an insight appear as if it was out of thin air. Some presented so simply that teams wonder how they could have ever believed something different.
With the emergence of big data and automation (and, coming soon, artificial intelligence), I’m afraid many lose sight of the work and effort involved in uncovering insights. Amassing data doesn’t lead to insight.
Before going further, let’s define insight: My working definition – actionable information that drives business action.
Over the past several years, the speed of research has accelerated. What used to take months can now be done in days. There is much less value in amassing data. In many cases it’s done for us automatically. But, we must ensure we’re collecting and looking at the right data. Connecting the dots and finding the value. This process of planning and synthesis takes work. Lots of work.
Whether it’s cleaning or connecting databases, sifting through cross tabs, thinking strategically about the right questions to ask, or visualizing the data so it can have an impact, this all becomes the craft of a smart strategist – finding the actionable information (the needle) in reams of data (the haystack).