Monday, February 11, 2013

Holmes Would Be Proud

Insight doesn’t come from expertise, it comes from doing detective work.

Approaching the problem in a holistic, intelligent, comprehensive and systematic way so that the solution presents itself.

Here’s a snapshot of the strategic process I’ve been using for more than a decade:

Macro investigation. Issues including historical patterns, economic, social and cultural forces, the regulatory environment, any industry, distribution and technological concerns, and whatever other big picture trends will help identify the why behind the what and create context around the problem.

Micro investigation. Interrogate real human behavior, natural language, ordinary conversations and normal discourse, pouring over reams of content, streams of pictures, immersing yourself in the daily lives of relevant parties, asking smart people dumb questions, doing complaint case studies and sniffing for kernels that trigger entire worlds.

Connection analysis. Next, you overwhelm yourself with every possible input, spreading out everything you have front of your face, and start looking for natural relationships, patterns, inherent geometry, unconscious integrations, cross-pollinations, trends, categories, structures and thought bridges between seemingly unrelated ideas.

Insight extraction. Allow all the fragments to add up to a few unique, interesting, powerful and ownable opportunities where nobody else exists, and from that place, make a few insightful observations, ask a few what if questions and make a few why not recommendations, both of which help you move closer to a solution.

Happy detecting!