Insight Platforms Are Not The Best Ideation Tool

The label ‘Insight platforms’ gets bounded around as the best starting point for ideation. Yet there seems to be very little consensus as to exactly what an ‘Insight Platform’ is and how you create one. Irrelevant of how your business may fuel and build your ‘Insight Platforms’, we don’t think they offer the best start on the journey to great innovation.

To understand why we believe this, let’s think about how companies tend to use them to get to an ‘Insight Platform’. Let’s take a look at where the flaws in the logic of this process are and why, on reflection, it might make you chuckle.

  • So what do you do first? Review all the existing research you have? Well, obviously understanding why that comms idea was so great, what your awareness levels are or how strong your brand’s image is vs. your competitors is going to reveal a great insight platform from a gap in the market that hasn’t yet been spotted. This full level of understanding about your brand but not your consumers and their issues will naturally enable you to create a great springboard for your ideation, won’t it?
  • Next, let’s have a think about what your business currently makes and what it’s capabilities are. Restricting your thinking to what is currently possible will clearly offer you the best inspiration for boundary pushing ideas and breakthrough innovation, won’t it?
  • How about your competitors? What are they up to? Let’s audit them and see what new products they have brought to the market lately. This will inspire us to generate some really differentiated and unique products rather than a “me too”, won’t it?
  • Don’t forget the market data. Studying the same data from (very likely) the same agencies as your competitors will naturally lead you down a different route to an exciting idea that no one else is thinking about, won’t it?
  • Finally, let’s look at the consumer trends. Focusing on the same emerging areas as your competition and everyone else, will take you somewhere new and exciting with your ideation, won’t it?

When laid out in black and white like this it is apparent ‘Insight Platforms’ are unlikely to be good fodder for innovation ideation. How about an alternative approach? Do some specific consumer sessions, work with them to understand what their problems and frustrations are and what they need from you. Show them what could be and find the problems your consumers want you to solve or unmet needs to answer. That’s where a great innovation journey starts.

And that’s how you create platforms to ideate from. We call them ‘Problem Platforms’ and not ‘Insight Platforms’

Published 25th March 2015 by Natalie Reed @ the Strategy Distillery