September 5, 2019
How often have you heard the Sir Francis Bacon quote, “Knowledge is Power"? From motivating us to read more as children, to becoming the "France is Bacon" meme, we have all seen this quote in one form or another.
As a management consultant in the professional advice business, having the knowledge is the reason for which we are hired. We take what we know, incorporate new information that we discover from our client, and generate new insight to help organizations identify new opportunities.
But what do we do when the information we discover only tells part of the story, or worse, the wrong story, and how do we ensure that we are not frivolous in our approach to gathering that information?
In a typical consulting engagement, firms put people on the ground, interview stakeholders, and request one-on-one time with leadership while approaching this process from a “more is more” point of view. It is to their benefit to require more time and money from the client but it’s not clear they are delivering increased value
At Aspirant we like to do things differently. We asked ourselves, 'How can we improve the traditional consulting model?' We sought to make it better, not only for ourselves, but more importantly, our clients. This is when we realized the need to innovate the discovery process, and Digital Discovery was born.
Accurately Pinpoint High-Value Insights with Digital Discovery
Digital Discovery is a proprietary AI tool capable of augmenting our consultant’s abilities to discover and process an entire organization’s worth of information. Do you have 10,000 sales associates? What about people spread across the continent? By leveraging advances in both natural language processing and machine learning, Aspirant consultants can perform virtual interviews with all stakeholders involved without the huge investment a consulting firm typically would require. This results in a better understanding overall and guides us to uncover deeper insights that would otherwise go unnoticed by the typical churn of one-on-one stakeholder interviews.
The process and benefits for Digital Discovery are as follows:
The Benefits of Additional Employee Perspectives
But why put in all this extra effort to get everyone involved? Consultants have managed well enough up until this point, so retaining the status quo means everyone’s happy, right? We thought so too, until we understood the benefits of getting additional perspectives.
1.) Moving Beyond the ‘Usual Suspects’
The usual suspects are the employees who are generally in management roles, known well to the leadership, or are located conveniently to participate in an interview. This results in them interviewed repeatedly for insight into business challenges or when planning a new strategy. While they do provide valuable insights, there is also a tremendous amount of knowledge available from overlooked stakeholders that ends up being missed. These diverse points of view often uncover valuable information that leads to better solutions for our clients.
2.) Getting Employee Buy-In
By asking a variety of people to participate in the initiative, there is far more buy-in for the solution than when they are excluded. It is common for objections to be raised during an implementation of an initiative when a person, department, or location was not asked for their insight into the business challenge or to participate in crafting the solution.
3.) Using Interviews to Springboard Deeper Exploration
These interviews can be used in advance of workshops or longer, face-to-face interviews to uncover topics that can then be explored deeper. This process quickly highlights the most common themes and general sentiment as well as enabling outlier topics to present themselves. These topics, which may never have surfaced during a workshop or interview, can be discussed in more detail with other stakeholders, if appropriate, and lead to richer solutions than otherwise possible.
With Digital Discovery, we can collect and mine data on a large scale for deeper understanding of the client’s situation. This ultimately gets us to better, more informed solutions faster. Because, in today’s business environment, an idea, behavior, or style can spread like wildfire within a culture. Knowing the whole story can be the difference between Sir Francis Bacon and “France is Bacon."
Joe is an Insights & Innovation Consultant who focuses on business strategy and operational excellence. He has a background in finance / management and is currently immersing himself in the world of data science and Artificial Intelligence.