Finding Insights to Inspire Creative Thinking

Monday, February 20, 2023

Most brands that we work with are sitting on heaps of research data and market reports.  The real challenge is to cut through this data, to identify the WinSights™ with greatest potential to inspire fresh thinking and new ideas.  This short blog highlights four simple techniques to consider. To see this work in action, watch the following video of how we run fast-track insight brainstorming projects, to gather and identify insights with the greatest potential to drive development of new product concepts or for new compelling claims. 

1. Start With the Insight's End in Mind

Before you start to gather or evaluate insights, to take a derived quote from Stephen Covey's Seven Habits for Success, "start with the insights's end in mind".  Be clear what is the purpose for the insights that you are looking for.  Are you looking for insights to drive development of particular new products for a particular target consumer; or a new insight that could be used to help inspire a product claims for use in a new TV advertising campaign? This not only provides focus and saves time when looking for early insights; but it allows you to go deeper in your search, and importantly, provides the frame of reference when evaluating the insight's potential.  For example, we are currently running two projects where we are looking at the potential of insights to inspire "winning claims" for existing it is therefore important that the team understands the potential of their current products, together with a clear understanding of what is a "winning claim" (a promise about the product's benefit that is compelling to your target audience).

2. Pick Insights with a Deeper Understanding

When we are looking to evaluate insights to inspire fresh thinking, we encourage people to look for insights that capture a deeper understanding of the target customers feelings or attitudes; or occasionally it could be an insights that maybe fairly obvious, but has been overlooked by you or your competitors. We also encourage people to look for three or four elements of an insight that could spark fresh thinking: 1) The "context" for the insight e.g. when I am on a hot beach and I am struggling to apply sun lotion to my wriggling toddler. 2) The "issue or pain point" e.g. my child hates having sun cream applied.  3) The "deeper why" behind the insight e.g. the sticky cream takes ages to be absorbed and my child just wants to be playing with friends. 4) And sometimes the "the inspiration" but without defining the new product e.g. I just want to get my child protected as quickly as possibly and I can get back to my book. Each of these four elements give depth to an insight that could be used to drive winning innovation. 

3. Run the Insight "So What" Challenge

When reviewing and selecting insights with potential, ask the quick question, does the insight pass the "so what test"?  When you read the insight, does it generate a response of, "that's interesting but so what".  Or does the insights it immediately get the creative juices flowing. If the insight generates a "so what reaction" it is probably not a great insight.  But if you can immediately see some potential ideas linked to the objectives of your project, it's probably worth highlighting for later creative consideration e.g. a brainstorming workshop.  On most projects that we run, we encourage virtual teams to share and evaluate "early insights" using Zip-Zap Ideas®; an agile online innovation innovation platform that supports the collaboration of insights and ideas with virtual teams and creative-thinking consumers.  In two recent online workshops, individuals used the Zip-Zap platform to award love hearts to insights they felt passed the insights "so what test" and to add comments / post any missing insights.  This feedback was then used to produce a tighter and shorter group of refined "leading insights" that were used at future brainstorming sessions. 

4. Quickly "Road Test" Your Favourite Insights 

Finally, it's important to keep reminding you and your team.....having new and deeper insights might be great, but insights don't actually drive the sales or share price of a company.  Insights are only truly great, if they can help inspire the development of appealing new products, or the development of a successful advertising campaign. It is also worth remembering that we live in a competitive world, so our advice to innovation teams is don't hang around and look to "road-test" you insights as quickly as you can.  We tend to road-test insights in two ways.  First, we do occasionally screen lists of insight statements with target consumers, to see which insights have greatest appeal. However, this can sometimes throw up unusual results, especially if the insight doesn't really pass the "So What" test.  So our second and preferred route, is to test and screen early ideas inspired by leading insights. In most testing that we do, we look to test two or three claims or "mini-concepts" that are derived from each insight, and to then compare the appeal of each idea against one or two benchmark ideas that are included in the test.  Although not a perfect measure, we find this is a more robust way to assess whether the insight is "just an interesting insight" or a "WinSight™" that will inspire winning innovation. 

Get in touch if you have any questions or comments - we'd love to hear from you.