Why You Should Hire a Chief Insights Officer

I recently worked with a product leader who was initially thrilled that her team had established data-driven personas to drive business, product, and marketing decisions. It should have been a significant accomplishment for her team and the company, but unfortunately, it wasn’t working out that way.

In parallel with the product team’s efforts, the marketing team had developed their own independent personas. Although both teams’ research insights had significant overlap, the personas had different names and descriptions, photos, and terminology to describe user goals and motivations. While the research insights were solid, team members from across the organization struggled to determine where to focus their attention.

It won’t come as a surprise that both the product management and marketing teams were struggling due to a lack of collaboration and teamwork. No amount of user and customer knowledge can be successfully acted upon if the teams don’t work together to establish research priorities, run studies, and communicate insights across the organization.

This type of disconnect exemplifies why I advocate for organizations to establish a Chief Insights Officer role to lead all research competencies across the organization. These competencies include UX research, customer and market research, product analytics, and business data insights.

While I’ve seen many organizations attempt to tackle the disconnect by establishing a company-wide research task force or guild in an effort to improve teamwork and communication, no solution compares to organizing all research competencies together to achieve shared leadership, goals, research priorities, and success criteria.