How to discover an insight in under 30 minutes
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How to discover an insight in under 30 minutes

Have you ever created a product or solution and wished that your customer went crazy for it?

You know that if customers choose your solution, it could change your sales, revenue, and even your life. 🙂

But sadly, those customers are going to your competition.
Well, today we are going to change that.

I'm going to show how to discover an insight to help you create a solution to outcompete your competitor. To start, you need to identify a barrier, obstacle, or bottleneck that your customer has. 

Every service or process has a bottleneck lurking in the background. If you can identify it, you're halfway to creating a commercial insight.

Your bottleneck may be hidden by an industry excuse or an organisational excuse such as 'that's the way we've always done it', or 'that's the only way it can be done'.

Here are some hacks to help you identify a potential bottleneck, and if you don't have a bottleneck, we'll help you in just a moment.

Scan through the following questions to help to prompt you into finding the bottlenecks:

  • Are there any intersections that create friction?
  • Are there any stress points or processes that get overloaded easily?
  • Where do we find we get the most misunderstandings?
  • Where do our customers or we make the most mistakes?
  • Which areas have the most complexity, for either our customers or us?
  • When we have a surprise problem pop up, where and when is most likely to occur?
  • Where do we have to provide the most assistance to our customers or our own teams?
  • Where do we get the most prominent objections?
  • What's the biggest fear a customer has about using our product or service?

Now that you've identified a bottleneck, barrier, or obstacle, it's time to turn it into an insight.

So what is an insight?
An insight is ideally a customer frustration, need, desire, or emerging trend that is yet to be capitalised on.

From a marketing perspective, an insight is a truth (ideally a human one) that helps to unlock a problem or barrier. That's it.

It's the 'bottleneck' that a client complains about but is never solved, that popular gripe on a forum about a software glitch, and that conversation you keep overhearing when someone says they wish someone would invent something that could do X. These are all potential insights that reveal some of our best reinvention territories.

The Five Whys ⁉️ 
A proven method we use in helping to extrapolate the insight from the bottleneck is to ask 'why?' five times to get a deep insight. 

Each time you ask 'Why are they doing that?' or 'Why are you doing that?' takes you closer and closer to a more profound truth and insight.

Remember, we are trying to create a human truth about a bottleneck or problem.

Here's an example. Scott's a new hire for an accounting company who's been asked to help the sales team to get an increase in their sales that have been in decline.

Scott starts by digging around some forums for business owners and looking at some google search traffic. Scott's uncovered that one of the most significant challenges customers have around accountants is getting them to communicate things simply so that customers can understand it.

Scott's identified the bottleneck, now he needs to understand the truth behind it. He starts with the five why's.

Why can't they understand accountants?
Because clients are hit with all kinds of technical terms, jargon, and acronyms that they are not familiar with. 

Not speaking the same language. 

Why can't they understand accountants?
Accountants assume that clients can understand what they are saying and impress them with even more technical language.

Assuming the same level of knowledge.

Why do they think our accountants are hard to understand?
The sales brochure material is full of charts, spreadsheet examples, and technical data.

Complex marketing material creates an impression of complexity.

Why do they think accountants are bad at communicating?

Customers believe that mathematics and numbers are the language preference for accountants. The boring accountant would be the last person that they want to sit next to on an aeroplane.

Accountants are boring number crunching people.

Why do they think accountants are challenging to understand?
They don't suggest proactive activities from a business owner's perspective; it's always from an accounting perspective. E.g., You need to reduce your cost of sale versus, 'If we can reduce the time and number of people it takes it to create this product we can start to make more money'

Failing to communicate actions from a business owners perspective

Now that Scott has asked the five why's he's much closer to the insight. Looking back over the answers and the bottleneck, the insight he creates is:

Customers want accountants to speak simply, communicating with the owner's perspective in mind. They also want advice delivered in an engaging manner that doesn't put them to sleep.

With a sigh and a smile, Scott thinks to himself 'The rest of this is going to be easy'

💡 The ideas start flying - getting a video message from one the accountants introducing themselves in a real conversational manner. A colourful, simple infographic with pictures versus charts explaining how we work. One of those animated explainer videos...

The reason I shared this method is this is how you outcompete the competition, creating insights. The ideation process is relatively easy, once you the insight.

So how do I find even more bottlenecks?

In case you're not sure where to find more bottlenecks, you can find them by trying some of the following:

•    Observing a customer on the job or doing an activity using a product or service you want to reinvent.
•    Joining a forum where people share their gripes, desires, and demands online. Check out both product forums (yours and your competitors) and user group communities
•    Going to conferences where people are sharing their problems and challenges
•    Searching FAQ's and establish which ones are getting most traffic by doing some traffic searches
•    Hanging out where your customers hang out – the pub, the gym, the yoga room…
•    Seeing if you can hot desk to work from a customer's workplace – to see what issues are popping up
•    Asking open-ended questions with an air of genuine curiosity that elicit informative responses. E.g. "I'm curious, I've noticed that when you begin your _______task that you do_______ first. Why do you start there?"
•    Considering using a focus group. A note of caution, there can be a lot of bias and 'group think' in focus groups. People tend to say what they think they're supposed to say versus what they really would do. Behaviors don't lie. Therefore it's far better to observe and then ask why. If you have a focus group, it's better to ask questions based on observations you've made of the group

If you haven't tried out our insight generation method, make sure you go and do so. It gives our clients the commercial edge.

It will allow you to discover a bottleneck, obstacle, or barrier to more sales, more customers, a better organisation. In essence, you can create an insight in less than 30 minutes.

So what do you think of our insight generation technique?

Thanks for reading. 

Nils Vesk

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About Nils Vesk

He's the founder of Ideas With Legs.

His  clients call him a Reinvention Renegade. Nils Vesk is an international authority on innovation and the inventor of the ‘Innovation Archetypes Process’.

Around the globe, leading companies such as Nestle, HP & Pfizer turn to Nils to share his proven innovation techniques for formulating commercial insights, ideas, extraordinary customer experiences and irresistible products.

Nils unpacks the million-dollar innovation principles used to create rapid growth for the future.

Nils is the author of a number of books including "Ideas With Legs - How to Create Brilliant Ideas and Bring Them to Life", and "Innovation Archetypes - Principles for World Class Innovation".

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