And while every insight is an idea.
Not every idea is an insight.
The late chairman of the advertising agency BBDO, Phil Dusenberry made the idea vs. insight subject the cornerstone of his terrific book, Then We Set His Hair on Fire.
“Ideas are a dime a dozen; anyone can have them. They can be good or bad ideas, saving your hide in some cases, wasting your time in others. The best thing about a good idea is that it forces you to act. Insight is rarer, and infinitely more precious. A strong insight can fuel a thousand ideas, a thousand reasons to act and make something happen. When you are armed with a powerful insight, the ideas never stop flowing.”
At Inotivity, ideas are valuable but true insights are invaluable.
Here’s an example of a great insight from Jeanne Liedtka and Tim Ogilvie’s book Designing for Growth. See my review at Creativity Central.
Pfizer Consumer Healthcare had reached a plateau with Nicorette — the company’s leading smoking cessation product. Sales had stagnated and so they tried a design thinking approach to gain a deeper understanding of the consumer.
While researching younger smokers in London, they discovered a surprising insight. The smokers who wanted to quit did not think of their habit as a medical problem. They didn’t want to take a pill to “cure” it. Instead, they viewed smoking as a lifestyle choice they had made and wanted more control over it.
That single insight transformed advertising from doctors with lab coats to a more relevant approach with a personal coach and social support.
Insights are often the result of observation, discovery and investigation.
If Pfizer had developed hundreds of ideas based on the old paradigm — they would simply be throwing money at the marketing problem rather than solving it.
In the early stages of an Inotivity session, we look for assumptions masquerading as insights. We question assumptions and challenge sacred cows. And we find ways to discover if an assumption is the building block of an true insight.
I’ll often ask “What’s the size of that idea? Is it as large as an insight? Based on our investigations and building on ideas, how might we find an insight?”
Our approach. Don’t just focus on ideas and slight the insight.