During the pandemic, and now following it, would it be fair to say that insight influence has jumped?
“Generally, I think that’s fair to say,” says Goldfinch. “We’ve seen over the years that insights really is the leading or becoming a leading factor and influencing movement. I think when you step back and you think about the maturity of an insights organization generally, where are you in that sort of influence curve. And as we led into the pandemic, you had very interpersonal relationships, you built those relationships. And then we moved away from that. And we went very much into a hybrid environment where the spontaneity that you’d have in between just was gone. As this pivot happened, you saw a lot of the insights organizations becoming more influential.”
Goldfinch shared an example from his organization, Verizon. He relates, “As you know, Verizon is a telecom company, and we have many assets. But when we pivoted into COVID, one of the things that came up was, we have all of these things that are critical to how you go into a hybrid model. How then are we going to piece these together from a product perspective to actually service our customers in a better way. Immediately, as soon as we went in, SVPs, CEO, all of them came down and said, how do we do this? Where do we start? And that’s where you get that influence.”
Now, with COVID behind us from a business perspective, how is it different this year? Many are calling it the year of uncertainty. There have been positive signs as well as negative signals in terms of the consumer and the economy, for example.
Goldfinch observes, “A lot of our influence was built around a very tactical strategy that you had to build out. You had to start by understanding your ecosystem, understanding your business. And if you’re on the vendor side, understanding the businesses of your clients and really thinking about how do I get into this, where are my low hanging projects? Now you have the downswing of it. Some of those things have remained, they figured out the value that you saw from an insights organization and what you can produce going forward. A lot of it is working through a hybrid model, of understanding what the use cases are.”
He continues, “I think that’s a critical thing that some organizations miss. You have to know your business. You’re not just the business question you’re answering. And being able to then start building that framework, network and strategic pieces to answer those questions. In post pandemic, even a hybrid model is now very distributed. Like it used to be you could do it walking through the hall and be like, oh, here is the person I need to talk to. Let’s have a one on one. Let’s start building that rapport. Now it’s very intentional in the strategy. You have to build it, you have to pull them in, you have to know all of the individual people within your organization. And I think that’s the shift we’ve made.”
Watch the video for more on Seth Adler’s conversation with Josh Goldfinch, as they discuss the outlook for the rest of this year of uncertainty, the influence or insights perspective, creativity, and the pressure in the marketplace.