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Unlock the gold mine: how dedicated insight hubs revolutionise research efficiency and supercharge decision-making
Maximising existing research

Unlock the gold mine: how dedicated insight hubs revolutionise research efficiency and supercharge decision-making

It’s no news to any researcher that past insights are valuable – and every research initiative should start by looking back at what you already know. But in reality, insights can be hard to find and utilise efficiently. Enter the insights hub.

Dan Robins
May 24, 2023

Past insights are like gold. You know they're valuable, but they can be hard to find. They're often buried so deep within reports and apps that you need to be a proficient power reader to find anything valuable before the pressure is on to just start researching

This common scenario often leads to charging ahead with new research, and an abandoned (or half complete) literature review. And we get it, deadlines can be demanding, and researchers are often under so much pressure to just get started(!) that it’s rare there’s time to do a full review of what research already exists today.

The problem is that this can lead to repeated research, missed opportunities, and wasted time. 

As research leader Dr Ari Zelmanow puts it in his latest newsletter:

“Secondary research, also known as desk research or a literature review, involves reviewing existing published materials such as books, journals, articles, and past reports to gather information on a particular topic.

Every. Single. Research. Project. should have a secondary research phase, i.e., a phase where we see what has been previously done AND how it applies to the current research objectives. It’s that simple."

To make this process more efficient and effective, in recent years we’ve observed a growing trend in the building of dedicated insight repositories (also known as the ‘insights hub’), which are focused around organising and raising the visibility of existing research findings. 

So what exactly is a dedicated insights hub?

A dedicated insights hub serves as a centralised repository for your organisation’s synthesised knowledge. Generally organised by topics and themes that are relevant and unique to each organisation, they enable teams to store, analyse, and share existing insights that can drive meaningful impact across the business. 

Insight hubs are not intended for storing vast quantities of raw data. Rather, they provide a dedicated space where teams can converge to find answers, discover new insights, and make more informed decisions.

Dedicated insight hubs come in a variety of different shapes, sizes and formats. From spreadsheets, wikis, and internally built tools, to specialised solutions like Dualo

There’s several reasons why these dedicated spaces have become a popular choice for high maturity teams in recent years:

1) They save researchers time
2) They improve the validity of new insights
3) They enable organisations to make better decisions, faster
4) They help identify new opportunities for innovation and growth
5) They’re more accessible for wider teams and stakeholders
6) They help teams combine different research types

Let’s break these down:

1) Insight hubs save researchers time

Let's face it, researchers are busy people. They have to design studies, recruit participants, collect new data, analyse results… the list goes on. And that's all before they even begin thinking about how to share, organise, or evangelise their findings. 

But researchers also lose a ton of time at the beginning of each initiative. In fact, on average researchers spend up to 59 minutes every day searching for information in different apps - time that could be spent conducting new research. 

By utilising a dedicated insights hub, within minutes researchers can quickly discover what insights already exist to inform their research ahead – less hours sifting through raw data, old reports, or asking colleagues for past insights, more time researching.  

2) Insight hubs can improve the validity of new insights

By using an insights hub to quickly examine existing research, the validity of the resulting findings are improved because they’re built upon established knowledge and experience.

Teams can quickly familiarise themselves with the topic, refine their focus around the most suitable methods and frameworks, and evolve or adapt their research questions and hypotheses. This process prevents researchers from pursuing questions or developing hypotheses that have already been extensively explored or lack relevance, and enables them to learn from the methodologies, approaches, and techniques of previous studies – further increasing the relevance and validity of new insights.

3) Insight hubs enable organisations to make better decisions, faster

Centralising and organising insights across projects and initiatives allows you to quickly determine what to prioritise and build next. When your insights are organised in one dedicated space, it's easier to see the bigger picture and make more informed and timely decisions across the organisation.

Imagine the additional impact your existing research could drive if your stakeholders were trying to decide whether to launch a new product. They could spend weeks or months attempting to locate and review existing scattered data (or worse, pull researchers away to do it for them), or, they could leverage an insights hub to quickly understand what your team has already discovered in this area. A dedicated insights hub not only reduces the time to decisions, but also enables organisations to make better, more informed decisions.

4) Insight hubs help identify new opportunities for innovation and growth 

When insights are indexed and organised in one central location, you can unlock opportunities for innovation and growth that may have previously gone unnoticed. 

By combining and analysing your synthesised insights you can identify previously hidden trends in customer needs, preferences, and behaviours – as well as the evolving needs of the business. Taking a macro view and leveraging insights in this way can not only help you stay ahead of the changing needs of your customers, but also helps to demonstrate how strategically valuable your team is to the wider organisation.

5) Insight hubs are more accessible for wider teams and stakeholders

“Can you send me insights on X?”. We’ve all received those stakeholder requests which ultimately mean a tools down situation, and a time-consuming search through the shared drive. 

One of the major benefits of a dedicated insights hub is that they’re more accessible for self-service by wider teams and stakeholders. By nature they’re lightweight, and easy to use. By contrast, 'All-in-one' research tools can be overwhelming for stakeholders who are not used to working in these complex systems, and while they may be powerful for doing research, it’s important to remember that tools designed for research professionals can quickly become confusing and frustrating for those who are not trained in their use.

Insight hubs are focused around synthesised insights, not raw data, which means that unlike research analysis tools, they’re not overwhelming for non-researchers, and the data is less vulnerable to misinterpretation.  

6) Insight hubs help teams combine different research types

Research tools are traditionally focused on a single discipline. While this can be useful for specialists, it can make it difficult for other insight-driven teams to benefit from and contribute. 

For example, a data science team may be less receptive to leveraging a tool that’s primarily focused on user research or marketing insights, and vice versa. This can lead to siloed insights that do not contribute to a holistic understanding of the business. 

Building a dedicated space which is suitable for different disciplines and data types (including both quantitative and qualitative insights), helps to generate better collaboration and cross-functional learning across the organisation.

In conclusion

It’s no news to any researcher that past insights are valuable – and every research initiative should start by looking back at what you already know

But in reality, insights can be hard to find and utilise efficiently. It’s why there’s a growing trend among research teams to build dedicated insights hubs that serve as centralised repositories for synthesised knowledge. 

These hubs are more versatile and accessible, they enable more informed and robust research, and they’re less focused on a single discipline or research type. Above all, they save researchers time, and enable better and faster decision-making across the organisation (and who doesn't want more time and better decisions?!). 

So, if you're still sifting through mountains of data trying to find that one nugget of insight, it's maybe time to consider building a dedicated insights hub. Your fellow researchers, your decision-makers, and your customers will thank you for it.

Further reading
Research Repositories: A ResearchOps Community Program of Work
The Power of Insights: A behind-the-scenes look at the new insights platform at Uber
Why (and how) you should start every research project by looking at what you already know
You can subscribe to Ari Zelmanow’s newsletter here

Looking to build a dedicated insights hub but unsure where to start?

We understand that there are lots of options out there and it can be overwhelming. If you’d like to understand the ways in which we help teams at Dualo (both on and off platform), then reach out to our team to set up a call.

Dan Robins

I’m a design, UX & strategy lead with a passion for storytelling. Proud member of Dualo’s founding product trio. Always seeking new inspiration.

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