Getting Insights

How to turn tons of answers into actionable insights in engagement projects


What’s an Insight?

An insight indicates what should be done differently to achieve our outcome. It’s relevant, has practical implications, and can change our budgets, methods, policies, or organizational structures. Insights are not like mathematical equations. Different people will make different kinds of connections and will refine insights from stakeholder advice in diversified ways.

What’s a Good Insight? 

Here’s some advice on writing insights:

  • Focus on the “how.” An insight tells us how to achieve an outcome that we defined when we started the project. It doesn’t redefine the outcome.'
  • Insights are NOT obvious. Try to find new, relevant connections between answers, which reflect a strategic change.
  • It’s possible to have conflicting insights. If two interpretations contradict each other, insights can reflect their opposing rationales instead of mediating between them.
  • Insights inspire decisions. A good insight is written in a way that empowers decision-makers to allocate resources or regulate activities.

Suggests clear direction of action, which can be translated into decisions and is based on the advice received.

Outcome Indicator

Contains general statements without clear rationale or an innovative approach to decision-making.

Output Indicator

Who creates insights? 

Drafting insights occurs in the final stage of processing answers:

1. Highlighting answers

Participants highlight key points in answers that reflect a certain direction for action.

2. Grouping the highlights

Participants group highlights in which a similar direction for action can be found.

3. Creating an insight

A new insight is written to reflect a group of highlights with a similar direction.

Once an insight is approved, participants can link additional highlights to it. However, until the project advances to the “Decide” phase and all insights are approved, participants will not be able to see the full list of insights.

Note that our team will verify the insights before you will be asked to publish them. Project admins can always edit insights, delete them, or unlink unfavorable highlights (even after the project has closed).

How insights are communicated

The website will always track the number of processed answers linked to insights. When more than 80% of the answers are processed, admins will be asked to approve the publication of insights and decide how to share them (on the website, through personal emails to all participants, and/or on social networks).

If you decide to send an email through the communication interface, participants will receive the following email:

Where insights are created

Your Insights website was designed to enable project admins and participants to perform very simple analytical tasks, as a way to turn answers into insights. There are four interfaces in which the website will ask users to take action.

After adding an answer: The website enables users to analyze their answers. After an answer is added, participants will be asked to highlight the key ideas within the answer. If insights are approved, participants will be able to link their answer with one of the insights.
Task interface: This interface enables participants to process the answers of other participants. For example, if there are answers without highlights, participants will be asked to add at least one highlight. If there are highlights that are not yet linked to an insight, participants will be asked to review potential connections and group highlights to a new insight.
Advanced analysis interface: The advanced interface is open for project admins only, and is accessible through the admin interface (under “Analyze,” when applicable). Admins can go through all unprocessed answers (those not yet linked to at least one approved insight), and they can add, edit, approve, or delete answers, highlights, and insights.
Approve insights interface: The approve interface is open for project admins only, and is accessible through an email invitation or through the admin interface (under “Analyze,” when applicable). Here, admins can edit and delete insights, change their order, and share them as a whole both on the website and via personal emails.

Examples of insights

Over the years, we’ve helped to generate thousands of insights. Here are some examples, from different types of organizations: 

Integration of the Ethiopian community requires a radical shift from the current “separate & support” approach. If support is given only to Ethiopians, separation will persist without integration.

Community development requires additional public gatherings in public spaces. While many officials manage and supervise public buildings, no one promotes events in the open areas, where citizens and families can meet each other.

Employees’ professional development does not require external courses, but rather, can occur from the use of internal resources. Inner-departmental engagement and TED Talks can generate results with relatively low cost.

To attract more people into our community, we need to open our events and invite more people to attend. As of now, meetings take place at different times and locations, and they do not convey a sense of openness.

Change in public service requires more than just new networking among like-minded officials. We should create new content and mentor the right leaders in order to help them generate real change in the right direction.