Phil Phil Dusenberry of BBDO the ad agency has commented in 2005 on insight in the context of advertising creative in Fast Company
I have snipped some of his comments (and added my own reaction), as I think they have relevance to subjects and contexts in business beyond advertising.
“In the advertising business, a good idea can inspire a great commercial. But a good insight can fuel a thousand ideas, a thousand commercials.”
– > Insights are platforms for a stream of ideas and actions
“In a business world bedeviled with the problems of differentiating yourself from the crowd, moving the needle and selling enough stuff to have a measurable impact, telling the world you’ve arrived, fighting off or attacking the competition, and establishing or improving an image, insights are essential. They’re as essential to the budding entrepreneur as they are to the master marketers at Nike. Insights are what will let you stay in business, build market share, open new income streams, cement relationships with old customers, and attract new ones.”
– > Sounds like insights are pretty important things in many contexts
“How do you go from an idea that might make a good ad to an insight that reshapes a business for a generation? Let your gut guide you. This is what customers do, but beyond that, it’s the most trustworthy meter for measuring the power of an insight. If you laugh, it’s funny. If you cry, it’s moving. If you feel a jolt of any kind, it’s breaking through the clutter. When you don’t feel it in your gut, chances are no one else will, either.”
– > Using your gut to measure the power of an insight, maybe this creates power and passion.
“You have to be optimistically patient. Insights and great ideas don’t come to you with clockwork precision, perfectly timed to suit your needs when you snap your fingers. They come at their own pace, and you have to patiently wait for them. If you have had useful insights in the past, you will have them again in the near future. I can’t say when exactly, but they will come.”
-> suspend judgement and be comfortable with ambiguity, giving time for insights to emerge. Be brave, get some air cover to give you the time.
“I call it “optimistic patience.” Stay at your desk and be patient. There is no rational reason to think that you are blocked (whatever that means!), that you have dried up, that you have used up your full quota of good ideas (as if there is a quota). You simply have to keep scratching and clawing and groping for the answers — and trust that they will come. The only thing you can’t do is rush the process, or grab on to the first idea that pops into your head because you’re in a hurry.”
“You don’t ordinarily find advertising insight in the hearts of the employees who work for the client. You find it in research and marketing data. You find it in the CEO’s statements. You find it in throwaway comments in meetings. You find it in customer complaints.”
-> Insights are found/created from data, leadership and chance connections of ideas…but you need to be able to be open to receive them!