Analytics & Innovation: The Missing Link

Making The Most of Analytics: Part 1

This blog is the first in a two-part series where we will discuss the process which organizations can use to jump start or resurrect their analytic ambitions to better achieve the potential benefits of analytics in their organization. In this blog we will review the first two phases of this 5 phase approach.

Every business can benefit from improved analytical capabilities – we all want to better understand our customers and employees, optimize operations, and make better decisions. But for many companies, analytics is easier said than done.

An Analytics Incubator process provides a jump start for analytic initiatives. It leads a company through the analytics process, from ideation, analysis and hypothesis creation to data visualization and storytelling. The Analytics Incubator process is a low risk, high speed path to achieving analytic results.

Often the issue is not the statistical or mathematical portion of analytics but rather the lack of creative ideas when it comes to thinking of ways to utilize analytics for the benefit of the organization. One of the greatest challenges for any organization is the ability to articulate an opportunity or challenge into an idea and then develop the idea into a hypothesis which can be tested. Understanding where and how to begin this process is key for getting the most out of your analytic initiatives.

Summarized below are the first 2 phases of the incubator process:


This is the initial phase of the process where ideas and concepts are generated. The objective of this phase is to develop quality hypotheses’ around ways to generate revenue, reduce costs or other beneficial ideas for the company. Below are the high level steps included in the ideation phase:

  • Engagement of Stakeholders and SMEs
  • Idea Generation – Collection & Development
    • Facilitated Brainstorming and Brain-writing
    • Innovation
    • Development
    • Actualization
  • Challenge & Expand on Ideas
  • Hypothesis Creation – Questions to be answered


The next phase is to determine the viability of the hypotheses developed in the ideation phase. To determine the ability of the hypothesis to maintain itself or recover its potentialities. This step requires an analysis of the stated hypotheses including verification with Subject Matter Experts (SME’s) and validation that the data needed to prove/disprove the hypothesis is available and of reasonable quality. Does the hypothesis make sense?

  • Analysis
  • Verification with SME’s
  • Validation of Data
  • Sanity Check – Does it Make Sense?

At this point one is ready to move forward armed with hypotheses about how we can improve performance, understand our customer, reduce operational cost or any number of beneficial ideas. These thoughts now need to be put to the test which leads us to the next phases of the incubator process. Those final 3 phases (Prototyping, Narrative & Evaluation) are covered in Part 2 of this series, which you can find by clicking here.