Taking time to derive consumer insights

Insights are derived.  They are not observed, nor are they instant.  They take time.

Regardless of the end goals, the most important part of a project is the time in-between the end of the research and before developing solutions.  This is probably true for any project, but here I am talking about projects that include some significant consumer research. 

It is also the part of the project that many people want to cut short.  Why?  Because on paper it looks like nothing is happening.  Throughout the rest of the process you are doing something.  You're doing research, or you're making prototypes, or you're developing a presentation.  Thinking is discounted because you're not actually doing anything that could result in the end deliverable. 

And yet, it's quite actually the opposite.  The thinking time is very active, especially when the end goal is to develop something completely new and different.  In these cases, the consumer cannot give the answer directly.  The basis upon which a new offering will be developed is not top of mind enough to be articulated, and so it must be derived.  This process involves dissecting what was learned, analyzing it, triangulating and reconciling it with other information, developing new theories, and making models and scenarios to translate these theories into criteria for a new offering.  It's a lot of hard work, and while very little of it may end up as part of the final deliverable, it is all a valuable part of how we get to the final deliverable. 

Please don't cut the thinking time short.  99.9% of the time, the deep insight is not observed during the interview.  Prototypes of solutions shouldn't be started the next day.  This is a counter to the way most organizations work, and as such, is uncomfortable for many people.  If it is uncomfortable for you, please resist the temptation to cut it short.  It won't help.  If someone offers to do it for you without allowing for some significant time devoted to actively thinking, don't trust them.  It won't work.