Insights are explosions of possibilities. (Episode 107)

Insights are explosions of possibilities. (Episode 107)

Interview with Elisa Romo de Vivar, Strategy & Insights Director at Danone.


Most people seem to think that the moment we have an idea is the most powerful part of the creative process, but I would like to argue that another aspect should get more attention – the moment when we get an insight.


Sure, ideas are powerful, magical, and absolutely and utterly wonderful. But insights are even more powerful, even more magical, even more wonderful.


While an idea is a potential solution or an approach to a problem or situation, an insight is a deep understanding or revelation about a topic.

And with a great insight comes the potential for a whole host of possibilities, ideas and moments of clarity.

I recently had a discussion with Elisa Romo de Vivar, Strategy & Insights Director at Danone about insights. In her previous job, she was in charge of, amongst other things, Cerveza Victoria – a local beer brand in Mexico with a lot of tradition. As they were trying to revive the brand, they were researching Mexican consumers’ attitudes to their country, traditions, and identity. During the research they realised that there was a built up urge for more pride in Mexico. People were feeling that they were ready to be proud of their old Mexican traditions again. But they also had a second insight: while people wanted to be proud of their traditions again, the traditions felt a bit old and out of fashion.

Based on those insights, Elisa and her team created a campaign around “Día de Muertos” (the day of the dead) where they added color and modern design to the traditional black-and-white style of the tradition to bring it into modern day. It was a huge success, all thanks to the insight that Mexicans were ready to be proud of their old traditions once again. Based on this success Cerveza Victoria has done multiple campaigns based on other Mexican traditions that got a modern twist.

Elisa: “The country was ready for it, and we were able to read the needs of the people and become that Mexican product that stood for the new, proud Mexico.”

I asked Elisa about the feeling of having an insight, and she said: “When you have a big insight you get that ‘Oh-my-god-something-is-happening-feeling’. An insight is something that sparks possibilities.”

According to Elisa a powerful insight should have three things:

– It should reveal a human truth

– It should contain a bit of tension

– It should awaken a desire

Insights, or “the capacity to gain an accurate and deep understanding of someone or something”, move your world. They make it almost ridiculously easy to come up with good ideas and they make you see a new reality.

As powerful as insights are, they are harder to develop than ideas. According to Elisa one reason that people do not get so many insights is that they are not willing to invest the time and effort needed to gain new insights.

But we really should, or to quote the words of Elisa Romo: “Insights are really moments of pride. When we have a deep insight, we change the world for the better.”

So, invest more time and effort to explore how you could get more and more powerful insights and you are bound to have more and better ideas.

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