2 minute read

It is not unusual to see a client put out a brief for something they’ve already looked at maybe a dozen times before – often re-commissioning the same piece of insight work, because the previous studies failed to get the traction that they should have done.

Why does this happen so regularly?

The thing that most frequently stops good insight from having a positive impact on the organisation, is the organisation itself.

Great insight, insight that really does drive change, has to be purposefully adopted by the whole organisation. Just as we need to re-think and regularly challenge how we derive the most meaningful and commercially impactful insight, we also need to think hard about how our businesses are geared up to action it.

Collectively, we can’t afford to be lazy about this part of the process.

Where we see this working best, a cross-functional team comes together to work on an issue.

A business has a much greater chance of meaningfully enacting insights when they are perceived as agnostic – i.e. free of an agenda from any one particular business unit – it makes for a much more commercially powerful solution.

But cross-functional ownership and creating effective networks in order to enact insight, can be a challenge; here are a few tips from businesses we’ve seen do it well:

1. BRING OUT THE BIG HITTERS - Teams that get senior stakeholders aligned early in the process, find it much easier to drive change and to build the cross-functional buy-in they need to make it happen. Without clear direction and prioritisation from above, strategies will always be harder to sell in.

2. SHAPE WITH CARE - Getting a cross-functional team established early gives everyone a sense of ownership. This works best when the most relevant teams are well integrated – these could include marketing, strategy, product development, packaging, design, technology etc… The more the right people are included, the easier the process and the fewer ‘buy-in’ hoops you’ll need to jump through further down the line.

3. BUILD A COLLECTIVE MENTALITY - One of the biggest challenges can often be the attitude that team members come to a project with. It works less well when participants see their role as effectively ‘rubber stamping’ someone else’s ideas. Steer clear of people you know will want to play this role and look for those who are open to and energised by being part of a solution collective, ensuring that you work hard to maintain an atmosphere where everyone’s contribution is not only welcome, but expected. It will take you much further.  

4. LOOK IN ALL DIRECTIONS FOR LEARNING – Reviewing the past can be helpful in defining what the future needs to look like. It is also a great opportunity to work with emerging ideas and capabilities. Bring them into the conversation – they don’t need to be fully formed or beautifully packaged, as the conversation will inevitably shape them more fully - but fusing consumer needs with R&D capability early in the process inevitably leads to stronger, more saleable products and services.

The strength of multiple insights is they give us a much more realistic picture of what really needs to happen to drive desired behaviour change. The strength of multiple teams working together, is solutions that are likely to focus on the bigger issues that can drive the greatest value.

And that, after all, is why we look for insight.

Just like insight, the strongest solutions aren’t found. The strongest solutions are forged.