In Search of Creative Insights that Boost Performance

What are you doing to prepare for the next five years? How are you generating creative insights that keep you performing and innovating at optimum level? This is one of the top issues the executives I work with grapple with – both in their professional and personal lives. A November 2014 Harvard Business Review article “Where to Look for Insight” defines insight as “an imaginative understanding of an internal or external opportunity that can be tapped to improve efficiency, generate revenue, or boost engagement. Insights can be about stakeholder needs, market dynamics, or even how your company works.”

Where are these creative insights found and discovered? The authors of the HBR article urge readers to explore 7 Places to Find Creative Insights:

boost performance1. Anomalies: Examine deviations from the norm. Any surprises? Highs or low revenues?

2. Confluence: Find macro trend intersections. How are trends combining to create opportunities?

3. Frustrations: Pinpoint deficiencies in the system. How can you address this?

4. Orthodoxies: Question conventional beliefs. What assumptions are taken for granted, toxic or unchallenged?

5. Extremities: Exploit deviance. What can you learn from your leading-edge or laggard customers, employees or suppliers?

6. Voyages: Learn from immersion elsewhere. How are your stakeholders’ needs influenced by their sociocultural context?

7. Analogies: Borrow from other industries or organizations. What successful innovations do you see applied in other disciplines? Can you adapt them for your own use?

Other recent research by Gary A. Klein, PhD, psychologist and expert on decision-making reiterated the mindset that lead people to discover insights – Spotting connections, Becoming curious about irregularities and coincidences, exploring contradictions and anomalies and finally, creative desperation – being so desperate that you try anything that might work! How many of us are truly curious –rather than critical – of irregularities or bumps in our lives?

Cultivating a mindset that facilitates creativity and insights is critical to reenergizing and staying ahead of the curve. Where do you go to stimulate fresh ideas that might lead to creative insights? I would be interested in knowing your thoughts.

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