Jenna Collins

The power of the ‘eureka moment’

June 3, 2016

Eureka blog

Recent research on the ‘eureka moment’ has shown that solutions derived from a flash of inspiration rather than a purely rational methodological approach are more likely to arrive at the correct answer because it is more ‘intuitive’.

This is unsurprising to people at iMPOWER. Here, we talk about ‘insight’ a lot, but what it really boils down to is that one thing or piece of information that suddenly makes us see the world differently than before. Or in other words, the eureka moment. You still need the methodological rigour, but it takes a profoundly human interpretation of the data to derive something ‘insightful’.

These flashes of inspiration can take many forms:

  • A piece of data that flips a problem on its head. For example, in one project 68% of children became looked after due to abuse or neglect – a statistic that was previously unknown to the service, which allowed us to see that unless we solved the root cause of demand, no amount of remedial care for the children would ever be enough.
  • Involving service users and citizens in the co-design process
  • Realising that staff have some fantastic ideas about how to do things differently given the time, space and encouragement to share and develop them

For iMPOWER, eureka moments are crucial because not only does it mean that we can then go on to co-design solutions that have a better chance of succeeding, but because we uncover these insights with our clients. Not everyone may have the same eureka moment, and different people may experience it at different stages of the project, but it ignites a passion for doing things differently and approaching a problem in a new way from a new angle.

The eureka moment features in nearly all of iMPOWER’s projects because we’re in the business of unearthing behavioural insight. The public sector’s challenges are complex and at a system level. Cracking the really difficult stuff often requires a flash of inspiration. However, the key is to open yourself – and your team and partners – to them and knowing how to spot one. When you can do that, then you have a pretty powerful tool at your disposal to drive and inspire change.

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