Skip to content

Navigating the Insights Capability

The double session was about getting that seat at the table, and keeping that seat at the table. We want to learn something different here, which is what do you feel the pushback is? We know that we want to aim for that seat at the table, but it just feels like there’s pushback to actually getting something done. Does that resonate with you at all?

“It does a bit. The pushback is probably a mindset, and it’s talking ourselves out of the fact that we deserve to be there, that we have a right to be there, that we have permission to be there,” says Walker. “We’re waiting on someone to invite us as opposed to showing up with a business led acumen that’s grounded in the data and the insight that we’ve gleaned from the customer. If we’re waiting, we’re going to be waiting a long time.”

Frank adds, “Just the fact that you’re asking the question shows it is fundamentally broken. First of all, there is no one else in the company in any organization regardless of size, profit, nonprofit, that has their finger on the pulse of the customer, of the market, of the competitors, of the societal trends as an insight professional. I believe the question behind the question is, why do I not have enough courage and conviction in my insights, in my analysis, in my knowledge of the business, to frankly just bring my own chair into the room. Because think of your chair as the voice of the customer. You have a chair. That table will expand, but you need to be ready and to have the courage and conviction to really put forth that point of view.”

There is the adage that in Amazon headquarters anytime they had a meeting, there was that seat for the customer. It’s not necessarily even a new concept that we’re talking about.

Walker agrees. “I think there are conversations that happen inside organizations. There’s pieces of information and data stories that are brought into the room. And then there are decisions that get made and actions that ultimately get taken,” points out Walker. “And if we want to make sure that the customer is factored into that process, we have got to show up. I am a business leader, I’m not just a researcher. I just happen to be operating in a research and insights role. How we see ourselves is really important. Some people just might have a mindset that it’s not my place. Or I’m lesser than or I’m taking orders from someone else. The reality is, human to human, person to person, let’s talk about the business and let’s be in tune with what’s on the agenda of our senior leaders and show up with things that are going to help them be successful and achieve the goals and objectives that they laid out for the organization.”

And that does get to that decision making piece, which is we’re literally funding decisions, essentially.

“We’re not only funding,” says Frank. “We are shaping decisions, creating product demand, creating want for the brand. And if you define your role as that, you are in a whole different mind space, and we don’t walk tall enough. We have to be on our front foot. I love what Thomas said. We are businesspeople first. Research happens to be our craft. One question I know collectively we get all the time is what’s the future of the insights function? Or what does a modern insights function look like? First, it’s not a function. It’s a capability. That’s a fundamental pivot. We need to shift insights from a function to a capability, and it is tremendously rewarding when you do that.”

See the full video interview from TMRE, as Walker and Frank discuss insights ROI, stakeholder engagement and relationships, what leaders care about, risk mitigation, the growth mindset and more.

Contributors

  • Seth Adler

    Seth Adler heads up All Things Insights & All Things Innovation. He has spent his career bringing people together around content. He has a dynamic background producing events, podcasts, video, and the written word.

  • Matt Kramer

    Matthew Kramer is the Digital Editor for All Things Insights & All Things Innovation. He has over 20 years of experience working in publishing and media companies, on a variety of business-to-business publications, websites and trade shows.

Related Content

Diving Deeper into Insights ROI

The third day of TMRE@Home, May 2, will demonstrate best practices involved in developing and positioning insights ROI. Fusing AI, data and analytics…

Evolving Your In-House Team

During TMRE Continued, All Things Insights’ Seth Adler had a chance to hold a session with Shilpa Khanna, Assoc. Dir., Transformational Growth Insight…

Increasing Insights Influence

Thomas Walker, Senior Director, Global Brand and Customer Insights at eBay, and Christopher Frank, Author, Co-Faculty Director at Columbia University,…

 
 

More Related Content

actionable insights

Diving Deeper into Insights ROI

The third day of TMRE@Home, May 2, will demonstrate best practices involved in developing and positioning insights ROI. Fusing AI, data and analytics…

insights talent

Evolving Your In-House Team

During TMRE Continued, All Things Insights’ Seth Adler had a chance to hold a session with Shilpa Khanna, Assoc. Dir., Transformational Growth Insight…

insights purpose

Increasing Insights Influence

Thomas Walker, Senior Director, Global Brand and Customer Insights at eBay, and Christopher Frank, Author, Co-Faculty Director at Columbia University,…

consumer insights

The Evolution of Building an Insights Team

Josh Goldfinch, Director Customer Insights, Verizon, participated in a panel at TMRE focused on “Building an Insights Function from the Ground Up.” Al…

innovation

Setting the Stage for the Future of Insights

Setting the stage for insights into 2024 and beyond, All Things Insights’ Seth Adler had a chance to speak with Oksana Sobol, Senior Director, Insight…

business strategy

Navigating to Insights ROI

All Things Insights’ Seth Adler had a chance to sit down and get cooking with Jordan Cusner, Head of Guest Insights, Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen at TMRE…

innovation

Finding Your Way to Breakthroughs

All Things Insights’ Seth Adler got a chance to sit down with author and professor Adam Alter, at this year’s TMRE. Alter gave a keynote presentation…

insights leadership

The Strategy Behind Insights Influence

Josh Goldfinch, Director Consumer Insights, Verizon, presented a panel discussion on leadership and influence at TMRE @ Home. All Things Insights’ Set…

activation of insights

Advocating for More Insights Influence

The latest edition of the Insights Spend & Trends Report has just been released. Brought to you by TMRE and All Things Insights, this benchmarking rep…

actionable insights

Diving Deeper into Measuring Insights ROI

If you can measure it, you can manage it. Insights leaders came together on this panel discussion on “Measuring Insights ROI” to share their respectiv…

insights ROI

Demystifying Insights ROI

Key challenges come into translating business insights into ROI. This includes data quality, research bias, no direct translation of insights into bus…

actionable insights

Establishing Insights ROI

In a recent ATI Gathering…Insights ROI, the community looked at the complex issue of insights return on investment from several different angles. Co…

storytelling

Actioning Insights

Providing insights is not a barrier. Ensuring those insights actually move the needle is the job at hand. Is where the insights are reported the probl…

data driven culture

Gaining Insights Leadership

The role of today’s Insights professional is evolving as Insights teams are increasingly pressured to connect data sources, surface consumer stories a…

actionable growth

Taking Action to Spark Growth

Actionable growth is the process of taking action to achieve a desired outcome. It involves making strategic decisions and implementing tactics that w…

data analytics

Building Strategic Insights

The world of data is evolving and ever-changing. A data insights strategy is built in part on the potential data that one hopes to accumulate, the ins…

insights talent

Insights Talent: Ask, Listen, Act

“Ask, listen, act.” If the pandemic has taught us one critical lesson, it’s that environmental changes don’t occur in a vacuum and can dramatically in…

data translation

Translating Data Into Action

“Data is the new oil,” and it seems like everyone wants to get a piece. But what is it that most major companies are missing when it comes to harnessi…

insights talent

Insights Synergy

As the political climate changes, so do our working habits. Going through a pandemic also changes things, as Jim Newswanger, the Senior Market Intelli…

insights strategy

Timely Insights

“May you live in interesting times.” We are all familiar with this curse (or blessing, depending on how you see it). Many of us even know it as Chines…

insights strategy

Insights Enablers

Over the past two and a half years, there “have been more DIY projects” thus “Insights teams are moving more to becoming consultants and enablers fro…

user experience

Insights Hacks

What are the hacks, the shortcuts, the clever or elegant solutions which can be applied now? To answer this question we checked-in with three executiv…

data science

Insights Resilience

Way back at the beginning of our modern almost apocalypse, there was one term used across the globe and up and down the organization- resilience. Faci…

insights leadership

New Work Order: The Future Of Work Is Here

2022 still has some work to do in figuring itself out. We’ve clearly not yet definitively evolved to what’s next. That said, some patterns have emerge…

insights talent

Internal Insights

Think back to the office of February, 2020. In many ways it felt like the office in February, 2010 and February, 2000. For the most part, every single…

insights strategy

Consistent Breakthrough Insights

All Things Insights brought the community together for a live session focused around the concept of providing consistent breakthrough brand insights o…

business culture

Mental Fitness In Business Culture

In the first century, it was the Christian Church which accounted for a substantive portion of societal change. In the fifth century, it was Greek Dem…

insights strategy

Empowering Breakthrough Insights

Empowering insights through a broader understanding of the business can happen if there are consistent breakthrough brand insights being served to the…

strategic insights

Slow Power: Pacing The Speed Of Insights

We know from Aesop’s “The Tortoise And The Hare” that the ability to achieve great speed doesn’t always mean finishing first in a given journey. And w…

insights strategy

Achieving A Renaissance In Purpose

How many people painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel?
Reportedly, one.

How many people are painting the picture of each transforming global b…

insights strategy

Insights From Seizing The Moment

Remember the young students at Welton Academy of “Dead Poets Society,” huddled around the photos of their predecessors who were no longer living. But…