Dilbert’s Actionable Deliverables
If you ever feel like strangling the next research consultant who promises to deliver “actionable insights” then you can join me and the Dilbert team in making fun of it instead. Not only is it a horrid phrase, but it is unfortunately meaningless now that every research firm claims to be different from others by virtue of their actionable insights, magically produced by actionable insight dashboards, actionable insight survey tools, or special actionable insight “methodologies.”
With so much actionable insight around, why is so much research ignored? Why is all of this actionable insight not useful at all? In our view, it is because few research professionals explicitly design research knowing the business decisions that can be made. Here is an example. Suppose you are measuring customer satisfaction. Is it important to measure all problems with customer satisfaction? No. If, for example, you already know there is nothing you can do about the speed of delivery to your customers, do not ask about it. The data will not matter, and all of the insight you bring to that data will not be actionable.
Here is what we suggest. Read Versta Research’s The Art of Asking Questions which focuses on asking the right questions of your business partners to ensure that research truly speaks to what they will do with it. It outlines a process you can use internally, which we use with our clients as well. We guarantee you’ll hear your business partners thanking you for “the actionability of your deliverables”—or better yet, for delivering research they can really use.
—Joe Hopper, Ph.D.