We throw around the concept of research to make informed decision making in our strategic discussions all the time. But, what do we really mean when we use the word research? It is a concept that is discussed widely and broadly but sometimes it is a science that is misunderstood. Let's pull it apart.
There are four phases to research that we believe are really important. The final phase is the most important to formulating strategy. They are:
1) Data - Raw or native information gathered for purposes of analysis is called data.
2) Information - Data that has been organized into meaningful sets is called information.
3) Insight - Information that has been properly analyzed can reveal insight.
4) Actionable Insight - The nirvana of research is actionable insight, where meaningful insight turns into a strategy or direction.
Research rarely jumps off the page and tells you where to go or what to do. But, actionable insight can provide the needed lens to use research to move forward. Data, information, and even analysis can be useful, but only when they produce actionable insight can you move an organization forward through thoughtful strategies.