How To Turn an Observation into an Insight

“We’ve seen our customers do this a thousand times”.

So what? You’ve assembled a thousand observations. Although it is valuable evidence, this doesn’t make it an insight. Let’s dig deeper.

  1. Get the people around the table who have actually seen the customers do this a thousand times, or at least, evidence that they have. What exactly have they done? Define the action customers have taken. and make sure you all agree on the definition.
  2. Ask yourselves, what do these customers have in common? (Be sure you have a clear picture of the target).
  3. Figure out why you think they’re doing it. (Still not an insight, but getting closer: this is your hypothesis).
  4. Design an experiment or test to validate what you think. (Go beyond surveys: try it out in the same situation as the customer, or undertake depth research, or even invite them around a table to explain what you’ve observed and ask if they know why).
  5. Discuss your findings with your team and decide on the best way to use what you’ve learned that will serve your customer.
  6. Evaluate your concept with a pilot.

No matter how that turns out, there’s an actionable outcome: you’ve got answers that will let you scale the solution, or get off the wrong track. Now that’s an insight!

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