Dissecting the insight

For our second Mind Surgery we helped some of you tackle one of the hottest topics in strategy: ‘The Insight’.

Or we should say, ‘Insights’.

That extra ‘s’ counts for a lot, because to take the first step in explaining what an insight is we had to demonstrate that there are many different types of insight - from human insight, to shopper insight to cultural insight to tech insight etc.

The list is far too big to be exhaustive.

Of course, we’re planners so we love wheeling out a good old dictionary definition too - “An insight is the capacity to gain an accurate and deep understanding of someone or something”.

But definitions only get you so far. Sometimes you need to hear the same thing a number of different ways ‘til it sticks.

Our second step in defining insights aimed to show that an insight can fit different parts of your strategic journey. While they are often seen as the gateway to solutions, they can also be what illuminates the real problem you’re trying to solve, or give you a new way of framing an old problem that gives you a different approach to constructing your brief.

An insight isn’t only descriptive of what is happening (i.e. a fact); it gives you an understanding of why it is happening. “Think like a doctor.” You don’t stop once you’ve found out the patient’s symptoms, you search for what is causing them; why things happen.

In essence that was it really.

We closed with a bit of a reality check - that the advertising industry has a love for the word ‘insight’ and tends to use it for everything. And that’s fine. But it’s not really very helpful when you’re trying to learn what one is, and how to use it. Hopefully we helped some of you in your endeavours to determine an insight from all the rest (see the presentation at the end of the article).

Thanks a lot to our two groups of lovely strategists or strategists-to-be who joined us, challenged us, shared a drink with us and asked more questions than the number of ways you can read our logo...

Prescription given to all patients.