September 2018 - Insight strategy

How do you develop an effective strategy for Insight?

Does the very thought of having a strategy for Insight fill you with dread?

Some of you might be thinking ‘What’s the point? Who’s going to care?’

Some of you might be put off by what is seemingly complex and/or confusing - remind me again the difference between a vision and a mission?

Some of you may have done the hard yards and scratched one out, but with little traction both within your team but also the wider business.

Well, let’s stop there for a minute.

  • Could it be more worthwhile than we think?

  • Might it be easier than we think?

  • Is there a way to make it more impactful?

Customer Insight has the potential to transform any organisation's performance, but first our organisations need to transform their Customer Insight. Developing a strategy for how Insight can make a difference in your company may seem daunting, but leaders who attended the 54th meeting of the Insight Forum in London shared frameworks and tips to make it achievable.

If we fail to plan, we are planning to fail

And what is a strategy if it’s not simply a plan for getting to where we want our companies to be?

  • Where are you now?
  • Where do you want to be?
  • How will you get there?

Attendees were engaged through the day firstly assessing why you would want a strategy and how you would go about structuring it. All very logical, very much appealing to system 2 thinking. 

All well and good, but what would appeal to system 1? What would make us really want to create a strategy? 

If nothing else, the potential for having more influence and control are enough to tip the balance in favour. Developing a strategy can help us off the proverbial hamster wheel, and it can also be critical to motivating and inspiring our teams to deliver greater value.

Contributions from members and guests alike on what stimulated them to develop one were rich food for thought, with plenty of top-tips direct from the coal-face. Particular thanks to Abcam, British Gas, Transport for London, Waitrose, Spire Healthcare and Lucozade Ribena Suntory for sharing their motivations, experience and tips. We will be writing these up as case-studies where permitted, to share in the best practice report.

The Day 1 Challenge

Having been immersed in real-life examples, attendees were then challenged to shake things up a little and be individually inspired to think differently.

Each attendee was assigned an Insight Director job in a different industry sector and challenged to develop a vision for how Insight would make a real difference in that company.

Day 1 in their new role, what would they want to know? What questions might they have? How would that information help them formulate a strategy for Insight within their new role?

To their surprise, they found out they were able to draw up a list of a lot of the questions very quickly and were guided to do so in a framework that naturally lends itself to strategy formulation - within an hour, they'd worked out what they needed to fill in that blank sheet of paper entitled 'Vision for Insight'.

The challenge now will be to apply the same mindset in their existing roles.

And finally, it wouldn't be a strategy day without a four-box matrix!

In terms of visualising the role you want your Insight team to play, we recognise there are a few different ways in which an Insight function can contribute to its organisation's success.  The IMA's Insight Participation Matrix identifies four different ways in which Insight teams might play the game, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. The matrix, and all the other material shared in slides at the Forum meeting, are now available to members, and a full report, "How to develop a successful Insight strategy" will be available at the end of October.

If you'd like to make a start on your strategy for Insight in your own organisation, we would be very happy to help.

Access to the event slides

If your organisation is a member of the IMA's Insight Forum and you are signed in, you will be able to download the event slides from the link displayed below.

If your organisation is not yet a member, but is interested in attending Insight Forum events, please contact us for more information.