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We began our Six Word Wisdom series in June of last year. Since then we have spoken to a variety of thinkers in the field of management and organisational development to ask them to condense for us their advice for business into just six words... It's building up to be quite a collection....we thought it was time for a recap. So what have our contributors said?

They have pointed out the importance of taking account of the individual when trying to build succesful organisations:

Build the Organisation of Your Dreams - Prof. Garreth Jones

Everybody counts - Develop the human now! - Doug Silsbee 

They have pointed out the need for all businesses - of all sizes - to take account of the power of big data and analytics:

Learn to compete with Data. Now. - Dr. Thomas C. Redman

And they have told us that we are not in Kansas anymore and that we have to stay agile and focus on the differentiated value of what we are offering:

Rewrite your playbook for transient advantage - Prof Rita McGrath

Develop a compelling customer value proposition - Prof. John Fahy All in all 30 words that say a lot. We'll be continuing to grow the series as we call on the expertise of those in our network.

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In our 21st Century Age of Science and Technology, the volume of information available to us is enough to make our heads spin. Finding market information that is reliable and credible is a challenge that often defeats us, and for many organisations, the cost of commissioning primary research can be prohibitive. Market Research is the only sector where the ‘Secondary’ should be undertaken before the ‘Primary’. This saves time and money by finding crucial market information, from reputable third-party sources, to inform our decision-making process. On the face of it, this shouldn’t be too difficult.

market-researchMarket Research is a process; it’s what we do. The frequency with which we do it is determined by our business needs, the speed of change in our industry and the impact of external forces on our sector.

Market Intelligence is how we use our research to inform our decisions, on an ongoing basis, as part of our strategic planning process.

Working with my IMI colleague, Cariona Neary, we have discovered that linking market research to established market analysis models makes it easier for organisations to get real value from their research. Meaningful market intelligence is found when the data is used to identify opportunities, as opposed to data being found to support a strategic decision that has already been made.

Discovering how and where to start, differentiating between reliable and spurious data, understanding how to use your data and building a framework that allows you to track mission-critical information on a regular basis is the key to real market intelligence. Here are 5 quick-start tips from my toolkit:

  1. Start with the Economy

Check unemployment and consumer confidence levels – these trends indicate the economic health status of your target market, and this information is feely available from EU statistical websites and national government sites.

  1. Reliable Business Data & Reports

The IMI Library should be your first port of call as they have access to several useful online sources. Enterprise Ireland’s Market Research Centre is an essential resource – if you are an EI client. Other business libraries that I frequently use, where clients are not EI clients, are the various business libraries in London that are free to use. Old-fashioned library work is cheaper than purchasing third-party reports that quickly become out-of-date.

  1. Online Sources

Reputable online sources include trade bodies, websites, blogs and magazines. I keep an eye on industry conferences where keynote speakers can often provide an insight that was previously unknown.

  1. Comparing Like with Like

This is where basic maths comes into the equation! Inevitably, you will need to do some basic calculations to marry the information and data from the different sources that you have found. Online maths calculators and Excel spreadsheets are hard to beat, though there are many software applications with varying benefits available online.

  1. Ongoing Tracking & Evaluation

Once you have identified the key market indicators that you need to track, the different intervals for updates and the KPI’s for measuring progress and success, you can create your market intelligence dashboard. Using a single-page dashboard means that key market factors can be reviewed efficiently as part of your monthly/quarterly management meetings.

Developing in-house market research capability to deliver meaningful market intelligence is a sure-fire route to competitive advantage, and, at the end of the day that should be the whole point of the exercise.

g_-024-1Gráinne Kennedy is an IMI associate  is an award-winning market research expert, with a background in international advertising who delivers data-driven communications solutions and advertising campaigns to client companies building international brands and businesses. Gráinne is a guest lecturer at the IMI.
[post_title] => 5 Tips For Turning ‘Market Research’ into ‘Market Intelligence’ [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => draft [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => 5-tips-turning-market-research-market-intelligence [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-11-28 00:04:04 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-11-28 00:04:04 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [2] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 19182 [post_author] => 7 [post_date] => 2017-03-30 13:48:18 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-03-30 13:48:18 [post_content] => [post_title] => 5 Tips for Motivating Employees [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => 5-tips-motivating-employees [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-05-18 07:59:34 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-05-18 07:59:34 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [3] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 4773 [post_author] => 13 [post_date] => 2013-07-25 13:04:17 [post_date_gmt] => 2013-07-25 13:04:17 [post_content] => In the space of the last 10 years the world of marketing has changed. confusedmarketing Marketing and advertising have always been a highly dynamic space. But we’ve now entered hyper-speed. I recently graduated from a Masters in Marketing and I am nearing the end of my 6 month Internship Programme at the Irish Management Institute before moving on to a new marketing role next week. imi_luke cropped_mini My experience of the Irish marketing jobs market? It’s been challenging to say the least. When I began my 3rd level education, Facebook had barely launched worldwide and YouTube was a mere 7 months old. To put things into perspective - I am 27. Social media, digital and now mobile channels have turned the marketing world and the expectations organisations have of marketing functions upside down. On top of that, there are large graduate numbers but a small number of jobs – I recall an internship that I applied for that had over 200 applicants (and that was unpaid!). All this means that recruiters and companies are increasingly advertising for specialist skills. Where organisations used to look for ‘Marketing Executives’, more and more I’m seeing ads for specifics like ‘Digital Marketing Executive’ or ‘Brand Specialist’. Branding yourself in order to stand out from the rest is a must for Marketing Graduates. The sheer breadth of today’s marketing sphere implies that you cannot be an expert at everything. So what does this mean for the budding marketer today? In my experience two things are necessary. Firstly, anyone looking to take up a role in marketing needs to decide ‘Am I going to be a generalist or a specialist?’ and they must make sure that the organisation that is hiring them understands their own requirements. Secondly, once the role has been established continuing to develop your skills is key. The latest consumer trends dictate that core marketing competencies can be deemed out-of-date within an extremely short period. At IMI I spent time working on social media and took the time to brush up on some of my digital marketing skills by sitting in on modules of the IMI Diploma in Marketing Strategy with Digital Marketing. So does the pace of change mean the death of the all rounder ‘Marketing Executive’? Yes and no. Marketing disciplines are changing. But while your current role may require you to act as a specialist, where you may be having a conversation about LinkedIn one minute and about viral media the next - it is important to remember that it is an understanding of the core marketing practices that should guide your decisions regardless of the channel. In the long run, you will fail in any marketing campaign unless you are guided by a fundamental understanding of the organisation’s offerings. In summary, today's marketing graduates need to brand themselves as specialists in the short term but retain the core capabilities of the generalist that will allow them to become the marketing executives of the future. It's this type of flexibility that's required to future proof your marketing career. Luke Bellew has been working with the IMI Internship Programme. If you are interested in working with us on this programme get in touch at Internship Programme. [post_title] => Are we seeing the death of the ‘Marketing Executive’? [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => are-we-seeing-the-death-of-the-marketing-executive-6 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-05-11 21:38:24 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-05-11 21:38:24 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [4] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 11405 [post_author] => 7 [post_date] => 2015-08-21 15:55:57 [post_date_gmt] => 2015-08-21 15:55:57 [post_content] => OK so what’s a data structure scientist I hear you ask! Yes, we have all heard of that “sexy” data scientist role but perhaps never of the data structure scientist. You might imagine it to be a role demanding significant technical know-how; well nothing could be further from the truth in fact. Let me share.

A data structure scientist is a business person who unlocks business value from having conversations with their business data in order to draw pictures about that data.

No that’s not a typo, I do in fact say ‘having conversations with their data’! So being a data structure scientist is as much about being an artist as it is a scientist.   1  Some things are often best explained with an example, so let me ‘show’ you what I mean. Imagine you are the HR manager of a business and you are interested in your employee roles. To get this picture of employees and their roles you query the data on the HR system. Now you know you currently have 100 employees but the result of your query returns 135 employees. Something is wrong! It’s obvious you asked the wrong how many question of the data! So a quick call to your techie colleague and you ask them to check this out for you and to your surprise you get confirmation that “135 employees” is in fact the correct number. BUT your IT colleague clarifies, with perhaps a sense of “I thought you would already know this”, while the business has only 100 employees, the HR system has 135 employee data records because some employees perform multiple roles in the business! So you ask yourself, why is the HR data telling us we have 135 employees and not 100? Enter your need to be a data structure scientist. In short, if some of the 100 employees perform multiple roles (as confirmed by your IT colleague) and you have 135 data records, it is most likely that you have redundancy in your data caused by an inappropriate data structure. Figure 1 below is the most likely structure that exists. The assumption built into this data structure is that an employee performs only 1 role. However, to work-around this inappropriate assumption, because the business needs employees to perform multiple roles, another instance of an employee data record will be created, for an already existing employee, to accommodate an additional role. As it happens if this employee also performs a further role, then a 3rd instance of an employee data record will be created.  


Figure 1

  So how do you overcome this data structure problem and remove the undesirable data redundancy? The answer is captured in Figure 2 where you introduce an associative entity (Employee Role). You need to introduce a more dynamic data structure that is appropriate for the business model and the logic that an employee can perform 1 or many roles. This associative entity now provides the appropriate structure where an employee is matched with their role or roles over time.  


Figure 2

  The business value of this data structure (Figure 2) is very simple. When you now ask the how many employees question, you will get 100 employees, but 135 Employee Role data records will also exist to cater for an employee performing 1 or many roles. So the next time you spot an anomaly in your business data (for example the wrong answer to a how many question), have a conversation with your data in order to draw a picture about the data structure. This behaviour will present a challenge to the IT side of the house and start you on a journey of treating your business data as an asset!   Dr.David Sammon and Dr. Tadhg Nagle are programme directors on the IMI/UCC MSc in Data Business. Dave is a Senior Lecturer in Business Information Systems at University College Cork and Tadhg is a Lecturer in Business Information Systems at University College Cork.   [post_title] => Are you a Data Structure Scientist? [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => data-structure-scientist [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-05-11 20:47:19 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-05-11 20:47:19 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [5] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 7017 [post_author] => 32 [post_date] => 2014-05-08 15:28:31 [post_date_gmt] => 2014-05-08 15:28:31 [post_content] => [post_title] => 3 slick selling techniques you should take from the Time-share Salesperson [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => can-learn-selling-street-vendors [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-05-11 21:12:04 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-05-11 21:12:04 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) )
IMI Insights

IMI Insights

3rd Jan 2019

Related Articles

30 words your business needs to hear? Friday Blog Roundup
5 Tips For Turning ‘Market Research’ into ‘Market Intelligence’
5 Tips for Motivating Employees
Are we seeing the death of the ‘Marketing Executive’?
Are you a Data Structure Scientist?
3 slick selling techniques you should take from the Time-share Salesperson

Insights from the Stage: Highlights from IMI Speakers

From exploring what companies need to survive in the future, what leader’s need to thrive in a shifting landscape and how re-examining fundamental principles can lead to breakthrough innovations, we have selected a number of key insights from their sessions.

Deborah Rowland (left) with Nathan Furr, Simon Boucher, CEO of the IMI and Terence Mauri, pictured at IMI’s 2018 National Management Conference.

Jonas Ridderstralle: The Future Firm: Building an Evolutionary Mindset

‘What we sell and what we market tends to be two different things. Many companies fail to realize that when we are selling experience, the product is no longer so important.’Jonas Ridderstralle

Jonas Ridderstrale is the author of multiple international bestsellers such as Funky Business, which recently ranked at number 16 in a Bloomsbury survey of the best business books of all time.

In the 1st Masterclass of 2018, Jonas explored the evolutionary mindset on why ‘survival of the sexiest’ can trump ‘survival of the fittest’ when it comes to consumer choices, and how shifting demographics are changing marketplaces and buying behaviours.

In the world of business and human emotions, perception often beats reality when it comes to customers choosing their favoured product. Because customers make emotional and not rational decisions, it’s the companies that stand out – the ‘sexiest’ companies – that capture the market.

Zoe Chance: Woo the Gator – Research-Based Influence Strategies for Senior Leaders


‘People constantly come up to me and say ‘ah, but I’m different, I work more rationally than the average person…They probably don’t’.Zoe Chance

Zoe Chance, Yale School of management, is an expert in influence and persuasion. In 2017, Thinkers50 named Zoe one of the top global management thinkers to watch.

In her Masterclass, Zoё explored what behavioural economics can teach us about how the minds of our employees and customers really work through the prism of the ‘gator brain’ – the instinctually led brain of the alligator.

Human beings are instinctual, lazy creatures who incorrectly believe they operate at the height of rationality. In the commercial world, this can give organisations a clear pathway for growth and innovation that, due to its fundamental nature, is often overlooked.

Businesses that adapt to this reality will be the ones that are successful. Indeed, the best determinant of whether a customer will continue to do business with you is not satisfaction or friend recommendation rates, but how much effort they personally put in to buy your product or service.

Listen to IMI Talking Leadership podcast interview with Zoe Chance

Susan David: This is Not an IQ Test – The Emotionally Agile Leader


‘Discomfort is the price of admission for a meaningful life.’Susan David

Susan David is Instructor of Psychology at Harvard Medical School and author of the #1 Wall Street Journal best-selling book “Emotional Agility”.

In the final IMI Masterclass of the year, Susan explored how leaders can train and use their emotional intelligence to achieve personal goals and organisational success.

There is a central paradox in the modern organisation: the same complexity that drives the need for agility also undermines it. When humans are faced with this complexity they tend to become less collaborative, more transactional and competitive with each other.

The solution is to become emotionally agile by acknowledging the messy human emotions people experience in an honest way, and to reject rigid denial.

‘Technology and change have outpaced our evolutionary capacity as human beings to adapt with that change’ said Susan. ‘When humans are faced with complexity, instead of being collaborative we are much more likely to become tribal and competitive. Instead of being relational we become transactional. The level of agility an organisation has is based on the emotional agility of those within it.’

Deborah Rowland: Is Change Changing?


‘Change always comes at a price. It’s going to be tough and a leader needs to honestly address that. The moment you name difficult truths and amplify them, that’s when change happens. I’ve seen most change fail not because of a lack of vision, but a lack of truth telling about the current state of the situation.– Deborah Rowland

Listed on the prestigious Thinkers50 list in 2017, Deborah is the co-author of “Sustaining Change: Leadership That Works” and the author of “Still Moving.”

As one of the keynote addresses at IMI’s National Management Conference, Deborah explored how a leader must look within before leading change externally, drawing on her experience in major global organisations including Shell, Gucci Group, BBC Worldwide and PepsiCo.

Before making real change, a leader first needs to be still. Because the human brain is hardwired for habits, change initiatives are often doomed from the outset because we use these same habits to break the pattern.

This leads to a series of ‘busy actions’, not sustainable change.

Leaders need to look inward and recognise those repeating patterns and how their ingrained biases are affecting their thinking when implementing change.

Listen to IMI Talking Leadership podcast interview with Deborah Rowland, Nathan Furr and Terence Mauri

Nathan Furr: Innovative Leaders: Leading and Creating the Future’


‘Those common behavioural traps – the tendency to get stuck in the status quo, the fear of doing something different, the habit and routines that we have – they can be broken.’ – Nathan Furr

Nathan Furr leads INSEAD’s technology strategy, digital transformation and innovation programmes. He has worked closely with Google, AT&T and Sony to help transform their innovation efforts.

At the National Management Conference, Nathan not only talked about how innovative leaders come up with their ideas, but also how they win the resources and support to implement their ideas.

In an era demanding agility and flexibility, large organisations are using outdated management and innovative practices not suitable to this modern environment. In the past, management was about managing scale in a low-uncertainty environment; today, it is about managing rapid change.

By reworking old management structures and energising innovation through a culture of experimentation, big companies can successfully adapt to the fast-changing market around them – and not be run over by future start-ups.

Listen to IMI Talking Leadership podcast interview with Deborah Rowland, Nathan Furr and Terence Mauri


In 2019, IMI members and guests will again be able to access a series of engaging and inspiring events. For more information on the 2019 line-up of IMI membership events, go to