Deploying our “found insight” at Floricane

Sometimes you stumble across a phrase the makes the complicated simple.

Twitter introduced me to a recent post by VCU Brandcenter professor Mark Fenske about something he calls “found insight.”

Fenske was writing about what separates agencies that make ads from those that make great ads. It’s not the snappy office layout, or age, or the quality of their Keurig coffee.

It’s simpler than any of those things.

It’s whether the agency’s processes help to leverage and amplify found insight, or kills found insight.

Found insight is what one gets once one has started on a project.

It is not the map with which one starts a reconnaissance of an area but the redrawn map one returns with from having been there to look and smell and measure.

Found insight is something you discover that you wish you’d known when you started.

I think it’s a pretty beautiful concept. It’s also how the team at Floricane approaches our work.

This spring, I exploded several strategic plans mid-process simply because the shape of the plans (the content and structure of the written document) could not effectively hold the idea that was emerging from each plan. In both cases, the client breathed a sigh of relief when the dramatically revised plan emerged – because it felt more aligned with our shared found insights into their organization.

The longest portion of our strategic planning process is what we call discovery. (Or what we should start calling found insight.) It involves gathering anecdotes, chatting with key stakeholders, reading through white papers and old planning documents – and then synthesizing, and then re-synthesizing with the client, until strategic ideas begin to emerge, solidify and develop energy.

We can spend weeks in discovery, and it drives some clients to the point of despair – because they think they already know what the plan should look like! Truth be told, they probably do. But our shared knowledge is deeper, and the plan’s content is richer, after we engage in discovery together.

Integrating new ideas into existing constructs is what the human brain was designed to do. Found insight is simply inviting new perspective to have weight and impact. It’s allowing your strategic process to inform your strategic plan.