October 8, 2016

The best newsletters for tracking the Wider Insight World

By Paul Laughlin

wider insight worldWhilst we focus on events & applications of customer insight for businesses, what has been going on in the wider insight world?

Here are a few posts that caught my eye this week, which I thought you might find useful. To help you further, I’ve decide it’s fairer to ‘open the kimono‘ & share how you can keep as up-to-date.

The content I share below comes from just two consistently useful newsletters. It’s surprising how easily subscribing to the best newsletters & a morning habit of reading, can improve your knowledge.

First, let’s delve into the treasures offered up by the most recent Data Elixir newsletter. Here are three interesting recent posts.

The first two are probably for the more technically inclined, but the third one (a video on analytics & data visualisation) is well worth all analytical leaders watching.

Technical resources for analysts & Data Scientists

The first post is news announces the release of “R notebooks“. This looks like a handy add-on for R coders. R Notebooks offer an easy way to create reproducible, end-to-end data analysis workflows. And they’re not just for R code. You can also run Python, Bash, C++, and even SQL. The files are plain-text so they’re also easy to publish and manage. Good stuff for collaboration:


As well as great analytical tools & coding skills, many analytics teams are also crying out for more data sources. A way to add context & colour to more limited internal data. If that’s you, then this next post might be of interest. It’s news, published by Engadget magazine, that Google is releasing massive visual databases for use by researchers. The Open Images datasets include millions or images and YouTube videos, linked & tagged. Hopefully these will also be available for self educating analysts in Customer Insight teams:


Data Visualisation principles from a true expert

As promised, the third resource that caught my eye in Data Elixir newsletter was a video of presentation by a hero of mine. In previous posts, I’ve sung the praises of Edward Tufte’s data visualisation principles. In this video, Dr Tufte presents a keynote at Microsoft data science summit. As usual, he offers practical advice on making credible conclusions from data:

That is one of the best presentations on analytics that I’ve heard in a long time. Well worth sharing with your analysts.

The relevance of narrative to generating insights

I hope those data & analytics resources were helpful, but I’m keen to also share how such newsletters can help researchers & those with other insight skill-sets. One of the best newsletters (or magazines) for keeping up to date with research developments is Quirks magazine. Here are a couple of gems from the most recent edition:

In this article, Greg Chu from KMK consulting, explains how narrative helps both patients share their ‘patient journey‘. Drawing on the power of stories, Greg explains how the narrative approach can help both gather research & draw out insights into motivations, expectations & perceptions – not just the flat data on timings & movement around a hospital. A great addition to our previous posts on the importance of storytelling for insight presentation:

How to use narrative to derive patient journey insights | Articles | Quirks.com

Editor’s note: Greg Chu is principal at KMK Consulting Inc., a Morristown, N.J., research firm. We all appreciate a good story. As researchers, however, we sometimes overlook the power of narrative in exploring one of the most basic topics in health care market research – the patient journey.

Gamification relief from survey torture

Even researchers get sick of filling in so many surveys these days. As most businesses have embraced NPS, CSat or CES, it seems most purchases are now being accompanied with the sting in the tail of survey requests. Multiplied up by the volume of online shopping, especially in the UK, this can feel like a research version of Chinese water torture. So, with falling participation falling & researchers are turning to innovations to make the experience more fun for participants. Here is an interesting academic study that shows gamification may help improve participation, but it is not a panacea as it may negatively impact completion rates:

Does gamification offer relief from survey-taking torture? | Articles | Quirks.com

Editor’s note: Susanna Warnock is assistant professor of business, Piedmont College, Walker School of Business, Demorest, Ga. J. Sumner Gantz is an MBA student, Piedmont College, Walker School of Business. Judging by the number of survivalist reality shows – Naked and Afraid, Survivor, Ultimate Survival Alaska, etc.

Will you subscribe to more useful publications?

I hope sharing those updates was helpful. Helping you as a leader keep up-to-date with key developments in the wider insight world. Perhaps you will consider subscribing to Data Elixir or Quirks, or the numerous other newsletters, magazines or blogs regularly publishing insight content.

We’ve spoken before about the value of podcasts & webinars. Do you also subscribe to newsletters as part of your personal development mix? Can I suggest it might help?

To help you, let me offer a couple of options:

Start by subscribing to our weekly newsletter. You only need to complete the simple form in top right of this web page.

Check out published list of blogs, that I regularly check using the Feedly app:

Feedly: organize, read and share what matters to you.

Feedly connects you to the information and knowledge you care about. We help you get more out of you work, education, hobbies and interests. The feedly platform lets you discover sources of quality content, follow and read everything those sources publish with ease and organize everything in one place.

I hope those resources help you & look forward to hearing which help you.

Let’s share which publications are most relevant for customer insight leaders.