Getting a fresh perspective; my first three months with Incite

In this week’s blog we hear from Melanie Lewis, reflecting on her top 3 learnings from her first three months as Director in the Health team at Incite.

It’s been a while since I’ve been the newest member of a team. In fact, the last time was over 11 years ago. So when I joined Incite back in March, I confess I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about being the new kid on the block.

As it turns out, being the newbie is pretty powerful stuff!

As human beings, most of our thinking is automatic – we use mental shortcuts, biases and past experience to make decisions quickly and in many cases without too much conscious deliberation.

But what happens when you’re placed in a totally new environment? Like starting a new job, working with a new team or in a different sector.

It can be overwhelming but we can also use these opportunities to take a fresh look at our perspective and how we approach different things.

“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change”. [Wayne Dyer]

In my first three months with Incite, I’ve become aware of my own mental muscle memory and looked for ways to challenge some of these ‘shortcuts’.

Here are my top three learnings:

1/ Embrace the fresh perspective  

I joined the healthcare team with a predominantly consumer research background. Working in a new sector can be nerve-racking. It is like learning a new language – there are new practices, terminology, guidelines and don’t get me started on acronyms. However, in my experience, there are more similarities across the different sectors than may appear at first glance.

This may mean a business challenge – whether it is related to a consumer brand or a pharmaceutical company – is at its core, the same. After all, we’re in the business of understanding people and people are more alike than different.

I’ve found my experience of different sectors to be hugely valuable. Sharing relevant knowledge and examples from different types of businesses provides a fresh perspective. It can inspire new ways of working, suggestions for research approaches or even recommendations for best practice.

2/ Don’t always default to using past experiences to inform your future approach 

You need to fully understand the challenge before you can design the right solution.  

It sounds like common sense but how many of us, especially as our experience increases, read a brief and jump straight into designing the approach (even if it is just in our heads).

We know going deeper to unpack and fully understand the challenge delivers more actionable insights but the influence of past experiences can be difficult to ignore – especially when time is tight and deadlines are looming.

So how can we tackle this and make sure we’re benefiting from our experiences and not distracted by them?

At Incite, we use a consulting framework and toolkit to support teams along with our clients to understand and immerse ourselves in the business question. This framework helps guide our thinking through the proposal, research delivery and beyond. It keeps us asking the important questions, focused on the key objective and driven to find the best solution.

If this sounds intriguing do watch our latest webinar where we shared our Critical Thinking toolkit for delivering effective, insight-based decision-making at pace.

3/ Keep challenging your point of view 

Without doubt, one of the best parts of my job are the people I get to work with.

Varied backgrounds, agency and client-side, current or past colleagues – each brings an alternative viewpoint and an opportunity to keep challenging your thinking.

In the words of someone much smarter than me…

“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing” [Albert Einstein]

If you have a business challenge and fancy a chat, we would love to hear from you