Seeing the future – A human experience approach to insights

By Elisa Adams, CEO

Surveys, questionnaires, and qualitative research are indispensable tools for gaining knowledge and insights into customer behaviour. But they are limited. Not because they are inferior tools, but because they are not designed to provide the strategic solutions needed to plan action for the future.

Market and customer research is not meant to directly solve problems or design solutions. It is, essentially, an information source, that can help in solving problems but is not a solution in and of itself. We need to think about market research as an input, rather than an output.

Good research should uncover new knowledge and ultimately new and powerful insights. It should lean into technology and processes that can provide the most up-to-date data and analysis. Armed with this information, the real work starts – the development of solutions to address problems, challenges and opportunities being faced by the business.

Most brands struggle to turn knowledge and insights gained from research into meaningful and positive action. Their research and insights may be very good at explaining what’s happened in the past or why something happened the way it did or what trends have impacted the growth of sales. Where they have difficulties is in their ability to act and make informed decisions about the future.

From insights to action

When it comes to this next step of turning knowledge into clear and meaningful strategies and actions, the critical element is interpretation – what does it mean for the organisation and how will it impact the decisions leaders make. This requires:

  1. Intuitive and curious people who understand the the needs of the organisation and know how to use data to its fullest advantage
  2. Business thinkers with a commercial lens for thinking about how to use the new knowledge and insights to help the organisation.
  3. People who understand how to make a particular area of the business work such as customer experience, marketing, product development, operations and so on. The best researchers understand these functions and can apply the research findings directly to these areas.

In a nutshell, today you need a team who can draw insights from data and use those insights to build pathways that lead to positive action and sound strategic decisions.

At Sprout we use research as an input to uncover commercial opportunities and develop solutions for business. If you would like to know more please email me at