The crawl, walk, run of strategic insights

If there’s one universal truth in strategy and innovation work, it’s the power of data – not just having it, but being able to leverage it for insights, hidden nuances, and potentially game-changing opportunities.

BUT “data” can mean a lot of things:

  • Survey data

  • Product data

  • Qualitative signals

  • Social listening trends

  • Analyst POVs & reports

  • Published research studies

  • …the list goes on

So in this age of endless "data" and an ever-growing burden of knowledge, what does “good” even mean anymore (let alone “better” or “best”)?

"Best" here is different from “best practices” (which often recap what’s been done repeatedly to place you on par, not out ahead).

Here, being the best is game-changing.

It means your team, processes, and technology are humming efficiently and effectively, your sources of value and real insight are multidimensional, and your org is contributing to a broader, evolving ecosystem vs. operating in isolation (or worse, struggling to stay relevant).

Let’s break it down, keeping in mind:

  • These four components are not the end all be all, but research, experience and recent history have shown time and again they’re among the most important

  • You can be Running in one component and barely Crawling in another, though sometimes a rising tide does lift all ships  

  • Each level is additive: Running includes (requires!) proficiency in Crawling and Walking.

1. Your research modus operandi: is your culture one of ambitious proactivity or hurried reactivity?

2. Your default time horizon: are you typically optimizing, planning, and pursuing results for the future or unpacking results from the past?

3. Your typical cadence: are foundational efforts so complex and demanding that they’re all your team has time and energy for, or is there a more consistent, frequent heartbeat?

4. Your go-to sources of data or insights: are you mostly self-referential, or are you taking into account the broader world your consumers, competitors, and company are operating in?

All of these components and stages play a role in growth-driving strategy and innovation efforts. But today’s rocket ships not only have a pretty-full bingo card, they're also making significant strides in optimizing how everything mentioned here gets done better, faster, and cheaper.

Where is your team already thriving? Where do you see most room for improvement?

Reply and let me know!

P.S. Whether you’re looking to vet a new solution, monitor developments in a specific category or player, or get a full market or category landscape, we can help. Check out examples of how we regularly support the Fortune 500, MBB, and FAANG’s innovation efforts. Or book time to chat about how we're seeing companies nail each of these stages and components.