3 keys to finding fresh insights
In our business, we spend a lot of time talking about insights. We say they are a very important piece of marketing. Virtually every email I get from other market research and strategy firm talks about their insight tools. And client companies have whole departments called “Customer Insights”. Yet very view people have ever stopped to explore the nature about insight – what they are, why they are important. One of our recent blogs talked about how a classroom of students wisely defined insight. In this blog, we’d like to share 3 truths about finding fresh insights.
1. Insight comes from inspiration, not market research.
Insight-generation starts with a challenge or a problem that needs to be solved. And then it needs information (or data) to start the wheels churning. That’s where market research comes in. But that’s only the beginning to uncovering unique and useful insights.
Today, neuroscience has begun to unlock the mystery of insight. We now know that insight is not just the result of logical thinking. It requires deep intuition as well. We also know what type of experience to expect when it comes to identifying insights and how to raise the likelihood of actually finding insights that both enlighten and inspire. We want to share some of those tips with you.
2. You can’t just think your way to a real insight – but you have to try.
When you’re searching for a solution to a difficult problem, do you ever get frustrated? Do you think, re-think and then think again about the problem, get ever more data, and then want to throw your hands up into the air or reach for the solution that “sorta-kinda” worked in the past. If so, you’ll be happy to know that this is an inevitable part of coming to an insight.
You can’t avoid that feeling of entering the darkness and getting frustrated.
It turns out the only way to have a true insight is to reach that place of impasse, and then let your right (intuitive) brain take over and do its magical work.
3. So stop thinking and give your right brain a chance.
Many people say they have “aha” moments at certain times and during certain activities: when they are taking a shower, driving by themselves to work, or waking up on a Saturday morning. There’s a reason for that. They are not talking at those moments (talking comes primarily from the left brain). They are not tense. They are not under pressure to get something done in a short amount of time. The cortex is relaxed and the left brain quiets down. The right brain is freed up; it’s allowed to wander; sometimes we don’t know where it goes. And it’s at those moments, when our right brain is free, that new ideas and penetrating insights emerge.
When a new insight emerges, we can literally feel it. On a physical level, it registers as a spike of gamma rhythm – the highest electrical frequency generated by the brain. It’s thought to happen when cells draw themselves together into a new network that can then enter our conscious brain. We feel it as a moment of success, unusual attentiveness, excitement.
The real question is: How can we access the right brain more deliberately to find insights more consistently?
Here are 4 tools that will help you tap into your right/intuitive brain. Guaranteed. (You just need a little practice)
Get out of your verbal brain and access your intuitive brain by:
- Drawing. Draw a picture of the challenge and ideas for solutions. Artistic talent is not required. Be quick. Don’t be literal. See where it goes.
- Using metaphors. This problem is like _______________ because__________
- Using visual analogies. Look at a picture or something outside the window. A tree, for example. Describe the tree. See how it connects to your challenge. See if it suggests a solution.
- Framing the challenge as a story that has a hero (you), a villain, and a quest or fight.
A version of Drumcircle’s Insight workshop is available for individual company use. We use the workshop format to help your teams uncover business-driving insights from your data. For more information on the workshop or a research proposal, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com