Yes, but is it actionable?

So you’ve got insight.

You’ve discovered how simple it is to collect data. You’ve Googled your questions and come up with a roomful of facts. You’ve refined them and processed them and given them context so that now you can call them insight.

So what?  

Now you need to determine whether you’ve got insights that cause action to happen, or whether they just simply answer a question. You’ve got to decide, in other words, whether your easy data is also meaningful data.

Because in all honesty, not all insights are actionable.

All an insight is, is a realization. An actionable insight lets you know you can do something about it.

How can you tell the difference?   An insight is defined as

the capacity to gain an accurate and deep intuitive understanding of a person or thing.

Making an insight actionable means listing future steps that should be taken and persuading decision makers to take them. It’s a way to put data into motion.

There are four tiers in an actionable insights pyramid:

  • Data, which is raw and unrefined facts that come in the form of numbers or text;
  • Information, the data that has been processed and given context; this often results in the form of graphs or charts;
  • Insights, what you get after you analyze a piece of data and draw a conclusion about it – we’ve already agreed that we’re at this point. So now we look at:
  • Actionable Insights, the insights that allow an action to happen rather than just simply answer a question. They’re the kind that make you rethink the situation and push you forward to find a new solution.

What exactly makes an insight actionable? Too many answers to that question, but here are a few common qualities:

  • Relevance: the insight must be relevant to our goal. We make thousands of daily insights, but only those that drive us to complete a certain agenda are actionable.
  • Specificity: the insight must be specific. Of the endless number of sales messages we are exposed to every day, only those that specifically offer something that benefits you and your interests – that answer your question, “What’s in it for me?” – will motivate you to act. And most importantly,
  • Value. Your message may be relevant and specific to a decision maker, but if there is no meaning behind the insight as to why someone should act upon it, then its importance is lost. It’s essential to push past simple analysis and create the “why” so we can take action and move forward.

You know, it’d be just as easy for you to sit across the table from us and share a coffee while we explain all this.  Just as easy, and a lot friendlier!