Insight management basics

Improve your ability to understand, share and improve insight.

Test yourself Copy to your organization

Skills contained in this skillset:

I know is meant by insight

When we say insight we mean knowledge that the recipient finds useful.

Research psychologist Gary Klein discusses the what insight is, its role in performance and the fact that organization struggle to capture, manage and digest it from 1:47 to 8:07 in this video:

I know how insight differs from knowledge

In everyday talk, insight and knowledge are used interchangably. However, insight differs from knowledge in several meaningful ways, making insight in many respects more valuable than knowledge.

Consider these differences when attempting to improve your understanding of the differences between knowledge and insight:

Insight Knowledge
Insight is relevant and valuable to the recipient (useful/applicable) Knowledge is neutral to the recipient (the recipient has no opinon on relevance)
Insight is subjectively recognised (by an individual or a smaller group of people) Knowledge is objectively recognized (through consensus)
Insight is dynamic/under development (recent) Knowledge is established/solid/mature
We refer to a person with a lot of insight as being insightful We refer to a person with a lot of knowledge as knowledgable
Insight originates from individual observation Knowlege originates from research and consensus
Insight is specific (problem oriented) Knowledge is generic


I know how insight emerges

Insight emerges as the result of combining input (aquired through learning or experience) with reflective thinking.

I know what is meant by insight management

Insight management is the process of proactively and deliberately organizing insight.

A simple way of thinking about insight management is that it means writing useful stuff down and making it easily available to others who might find it useful.

A concrete and familiar example of this is writing down and sharing cooking recipies. The primary motivation of a cooking recipe is to to produce a high quality and predictable outcome, even if you're not an expert chef.

Similiarly, in the context of business, the aim of the "recipies" we build is to produce great and predictable role holders, processes implementations and behaviours.

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I understand the value of insight management

When it comes to insight, most people default to handling it intuitively (as opposed to deliberately), and to share it verbally whenever it occurs to them.

By managing insight we can more easily understand/align, share and improve the insight.


Let's say you have a hard time understanding something, or getting someone else to understand or get on the same page as you.

By writing it down you are challenged to ensure your own, proper understanding of the idea or concept, and can more easily have a discussion with someone else about where they agree or disagree.


So long as insight is located only within your own head, it can only be accessed by others when you are explicitly available to them, and by yourself as long as you remember it. By writing things down the insight can be made more easily accessible to anyone whom would benefit from it later, yourself included.


When insight is kept in the heads of individuals, the insight is fluid and, as a result, more difficult to improve upon.  By taking it down we have a fixed and shared understanding of the insight, which means we can more easily elaborate and improve upon the insight as our understanding improves over time.

Read more about the specific advantages of practicing insight management within an organization.

I know the steps involved in the insight management process

The insight management process consists of these five steps:

  1. Identifying insight relevant for managing
  2. Taking down relevant insight for further refinement
  3. Organizing the insight for better discoverability and a deeper understanding
  4. Exposing the insight to relevant stakeholders
  5. Improving upon the insight
I know the different levels of practicing insight management

There are three primary levels of practicing insight management. These levels represent how effective an individual is in contributing to the retention, sharing and reuse of insight within a team, and can be improved upon through improved awareness and practice.

The levels are:

  • Level 1: I intuitively look up and reuse recipies built by others
  • Level 2: I identify and flag useful insight worth sharing
  • Level 3: I correct and make adjustment to recipes when appropriate
  • Level 4: I proactively convert my insight into recipes that can be reused by myself and others

The expected insight management level of any given person will depend on their role and level of experience. The more experienced a person is, the greater the benefit will be for the team if that person reaches a high level of insight management.

I am comfortable writing stuff down

Some people feel uncomfortable when prompted to document how work it done.

Some common concerns are:

  • How can I ensure that it's not a waste of time?
    • Won't it be quicker to just do it?
    • Will it actually be read by anyone?
  • Writing stuff down makes expectations more permanent/rigid
    • I want people to have a sense of freedom
    • I don't want us becoming robots acting out programming instructions

If these concerns resonate with you, consider discussing them within your team or with an insight consultant in order to collect multiple perspective and identify what makes sense to document and not in the context of your team.

I practice an insight management mindset

When we refer to someone as having an insight management mindset, we mean that that person understands the value of and intuitively practices the insight management process.