How to gain business insights
Insights are the driving force of new products and businesses.
Spanx founder Sara Blakely calls insights “aha moments.” Blakely had her aha moment when she cut the feet off of pantyhose to help her pull off a white pair of pants. That idea helped her launch a billion dollar company.
In the book “Seeing What Others Don’t,” Gary Klein discusses the three factors which can drive insights:
- Motivations: intentional problem solving.
- Triggers: noticing something that spurs thinking. These may arise as curious “inconsistencies” that challenge your underlying assumptions.
- Activities: doing something new and different may change your approach to solving a problem.
The structure of most?businesses discourage insights.
Insights are disruptive by nature and work against change-resistant hierarchical structures that tend to favor predictability. Managers often?ignore breakthroughs because of the associated disruption to timelines, goals and workloads.
Management styles that emphasize error reduction have been shown to stifle innovation.
Increased efficiency is often gained at the expense of innovation, and can ultimately undermine the long-term viability of a company.
Klein suggests that the best way to encourage insights is to create an environment where employees are incentivized to come up with new ideas and share them throughout the company via stories.
One example?of this process is a company that held a workshop in which an employee complimented her supervisor for turning away from his computer and paying attention to her when she spoke to him. The employee said that other managers rarely gave employees this type of attention.
The story was shared throughout the organization and prompted all of the managers at the company to change how they interacted with their employees. The story and effective and powerful because everyone understood the underlying insights that it contained.