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Combining Observation & Intuition

Understanding human needs will help you come up with the unique insights that are key to innovation. Our insights are a result of our capacity to gain an accurate and deep understanding of someone or something. It’s the act or ability of understanding the inner nature of things or of seeing intuitively. The key objective to coming up with insights is observing behaviours, finding patterns, and making connections.

Needs are rarely obvious, and while they explain fundamental truths- they are often hidden- unarticulated, unexpressed, subconscious. It takes a careful combination of observation and intuition to discover the types of needs that can lead to innovation. When we can define a human need in context and assign it with value it becomes an insight.

We don’t always get our insights right. Thomas Watson creator of IBM didn’t think that there was a market for more than 5 computers. He believed it was purely a governance opportunity. In 1946 the famous film producer and studio exec Daryl Zanuck, read people’s behaviour all wrong, thinking that the tv wouldn’t survive because people would get bored of staring at a box. It’s 2017 and now not only is tv still around - it’s more popular than cinema.

Leonardo Di Vinci, on the other hand, understood human the human need of mobility combined with another tool of innovation, inspiration from nature, that ultimately led to the invention of the airplane. likewise, Henry Ford understood that if you ask your customer what they need they often won’t tell you because people are unreliable predictors of the future. Tim burners Lee, the inventor of the internet, was able to identify the human need for access to information as the key insight to inventing the WWW.

It’s important to understand difference between information, data, and insight. These days with fake news we can’t believe all the information that we come across. It’s really important to consider the source of your information, and often look for multiple sources and reflect on them. Context is as equally important, understanding the circumstances, cultural behaviours, and the tendencies that frame information will add so much more value to the information at and. In that same line of thought, we can’t over-rely on quantitive data- nor self-reported information its the collective that makes it all work.

Learning comes from experience not opinion. Historically, wisdom, knowledge, and judgement was passed down. and that’s what helped us survive. we are hardwired to respond to intuition. and that’s survival.

Opinions on the other hand are not measures of survival. When we support football teams, that’s often our subjective opinion, a blind belief.

So back to the main question- where do insights come from. Its not something tangible, its a mystery, lock ness monster- from scotland.

And like we saw earlier with watson and zanuck, our insights are not always right.

its not observation, not theory, and not opinion. they are interesting and helpful but on their own they don’t contribute.

5th- Insights are like finding Diamonds in the dust. You really have to look hard, and dig deeper.

Now there are a few misconceptions about insights, starting with that they are easy to explain, and their not. If they were easy to explain then they couldn’t inspire something new and innovative. It took the internet years to become something that we understood the value of.

Or the idea that research will lead to insight. Research will share a lot of information with you, but its really up to you to read between the lines for the insights.

And lastly data is insightful. Don’t get me wrong- big data is great- and it will tell you a lot about what’s going on, just not the WHy. That’s up to you to discover.

So what is insights role in innovation? It really boils down to three main things: Using your intuition when gathering data and information. To where you can discover what’s beneath the surface and unlock opportunities for innovation. It’s really about what’s in the heart of why people do what they do, and if you can identify that the opportunity is limitless.

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