Monday, January 26, 2015

Step 1 in Generating Insights: Grab a Marshmallow

How should we approach developing insights?

The typical path to insights is lined with roadblocks of making sure the anticipated results are scaleable, generalizable and solid enough to base a business on. We typically don't go looking until we're sure that what we find is usable and workable. To be honest, we're handcuffing ourselves; maybe there is another path.

In The Marshmallow Challenge kindergartners routinely trounce MBA's at building the tallest structure possible out of spaghetti, tape and string because they do rather than plan.

From: source
Because they aren't riddled with fear of failure, they just try lots of approaches. In 18 minutes they cycle through ideas, learning along the way. In the meantime MBA students, and executives, are planning, allocating resources, and probably doing a bit of posturing to be seen as successful. By the time 'the experts' finally get to the objective, they've run out of time and have to bet the ranch on one tact. The results are predictable.

The rapid iteration of 'test and learn' needs to be applied more often in insights development..this can be in terms of thought exercises "How might it be different?" or allocating budget to learn rather than sell.

Insights are things you don't know you need to know, so how can they be judged a priori?

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