Click Here for Actionable Insights!
We saw an ad today for a downloadable survey app similar to Survey Monkey or Zoomerang that was pitched as a tool for actionable insights. Wow! Download, install, run . . . click again, and there they are, sitting on your desktop or smart phone: actionable insights.
Is this possible? No. It unfortunately confuses the tools of market research and public opinion polling with the interpretation and outcomes of research. To be sure, better tools and technology help us do our work faster, smarter, and cheaper. They bring sophisticated tools into the hands of smaller organizations who can then help businesses and media outlets with nimble and cost efficient solutions. Market researchers are benefiting enormously from these new technologies and tools.
But ultimately these easy-to-use applications that deliver real time data and pie-charts give us … well, just data and pie-charts. They don’t give us insights. For insights, we need smart people who bring expertise, brainpower, and thoughtful creativity to the research effort — people who know how to design and implement studies, and then interpret and communicate information to answer critical questions. When managers and clients see their own desktops stuffed with “auto-alerts-sent-to-key-stakeholders-enterprise-wide” from our newest suite of tools, they need people to answer challenging questions like, “So what? Is this really true? What does it mean? How should I proceed?”
These are the kinds of questions we can help you with. We can help you sort through the latest tools and can help you implement them within your organization. But don’t forget that tools are a means something bigger and more fundamental, like a story with a context, a puzzle, a question that needs to be answered.
—Joe Hopper, Ph.D.