Insightwashing

I have recently noticed a clear change in how companies and organizations relate to insights in order to gain knowledge and information. In an increasingly complex age marked by globalization, the digital environment, climate change and pandemic, one might think that the need to truly understand humans and the potentials for change and innovation would be more fundamental than ever. Most of us know that people’s values, belief systems and behaviours are complex, confused and even contradictory; thus, making it challenging to reveal common principles and attitudes.

 

Yet, companies are more eager than ever to stick to surveys that provide ambiguous findings based on ‘plucked out-of-the-air’ hypotheses about cause and effect and simply implying that people say what they do. After all, it is more amiable and acceptable, to stick to numbers that confirm what you want to hear rather than acknowledging that people do not always do what they say! Read that twice.

 

Recently, there is a lot of talk about ‘greenwashing’, an increased attempt by organizations to emphasize their communication as ‘greener’ than is the reality, but no one talks about the intra-organization insight-washing that takes place in most companies. This type of concealment can prove costly.  Unsubstantiated data that

supports the illusion of being green, is no more than buying-in appropriate words and rhetoric.

Perhaps it tastes sweeter to say that 85% of consumers think sustainability is important than knowing that Anders and Lisa, who pretend to be sustainable consumers, buy brands they “believe in”, even if these brands are missing organic labels. Which if acknowledged, would leave a bitter taste in the mouth.

 

So my hope for 2022 is that companies and organizations will truly care to investigate why people behave the way they do – in hope for a better world. Because just imagine, what kind of a world are we creating and shaping if companies and organizations base their decisions, strategies and innovations on unrealistic and even unwise insights?

 

If you can imagine, then you would want to change…

Insightwashing