Confusion reigns. So what precisely is an insight?

Posted by Harry Mills on 7 December 2016 | Comments

Insights help sellers and their customers see into a problem. Hence the word in-sight. But what precisely is an insight? Here are a few of my favorite definitions:

We can look up a dictionary definition and discover insight is a:

“New and penetrating understanding about a situation or a problem”

Mark Payne, the co-founder of innovation consultancy Fahrenheit 212 and author of the brilliant How to Kill a Unicorn says:

“An insight is a fresh, potent and energizing truth.”

He writes, “It has to be a fresh truth because if we've heard it before, chances are it’s evident to all.”

It has to be potent because “to provide the sparks we need our insights have to be richly laden with opportunity for transformation and new possibility.”

It is an energizing truth because “insight needs to inspire and ignite the people it touches.” Great insights he concludes “galvanize and electrify.”

Jeremy Bullmore of the WPP marketing communications group adds metaphorical punch to Mark Payne’s point:

“A good insight is like a refrigerator; the moment you look into it a light comes on.”

Rowan Gibson, author of the ground-breaking book The Four Lenses of Innovation has the simplest and perhaps easiest to understand definition. An insight is:

“Something you previously didn't know or didn't yet think about that has the power to surprise and inspire you.”

The final word goes to Scott Gray, head of planning at digital marketing agency Quirk:

“Insights are to an idea what fire-lighters are to a fire. They represent the best way of generating ideas that inspire success.”

An insight is an Aha! Adviser’s most vital sales tool.