So here goes...
Let's start with an example of an observation I came up with for a book seller client who shall remain anonymous (their name starts with W and ends with H and has H-SMIT in the middle). The observation was this: People come into your book section to read books and not to buy books.
I don't care what you think. This was a profound observation which even I missed the significance of as I spluttered it out while showing a bunch of clips.
"Wait! wait! Say that again." said the head of merchandising (or was it books).
So I repeated what I had said.
There were six clients in the room. All paused and looked at one another. I could see their minds whirring over what the implication of such an observation could be. This was 1997, just before Borders were planning to invade their/our shores. And very importantly, this was a potential insight.
It was an observation which had been sitting there right under their noses all along yet it taken everyone completely by surprise. Very importantly, it made instant sense to each and every one of them. There was no convincing to be done. I didn't even need to show them too many clips.
Here is exactly what I said, again: "People come into your book section to read books and not to buy books."
The challenge now was to convert this observation in an insight statement. And an insight statement has two key ingredients: 1) Because: explanation and 2) But: tension.
Here is an example I made up earlier:
I like to keep updated on a broad range of topics because by learning, I grow. But I don't have enough time to go in-depth into topics, so I browse for headlines.
The tension in an insight statement is critical because it tempers, grounds and reality checks the statement from within. It forces you to think precisely and not blindly ingest the insight. And if there is no obvious tension, coming up with one is a fantastically rewarding exercise which will force you to thoroughly deconstruct and understand your insight. Oh and don't get hung up on trying to embed an action into the insight statement. Implications and actions need to be sprung from rather than explicitly captured in the statement.
Now back to the book department observation which I am going to try and turn into an isight statement:
I like to take my time when buying books because I enjoy reading at least a few pages from each to help me bench mark and make a choice. However, I feel guilty about the time I spend looking and not buying.
It is simple enough to read but took me 45 minutes to set out the obervation as you see here. And I'm not even sure it will be the final version. More tweaks are needed with the code.
Now over to you. How would you set out an insight statement? What do you think of the above? Please share.