Data Gurus


Fueling Innovation | Ep. 172

Welcome to today’s illuminating episode of Data Gurus, recorded live at IIEX in Austin, Texas! Sima is happy to have Paul Gaudette, CEO of Dig Insights, joining her to talk about innovation!

There are many opportunities for innovation right now. However, founders of companies are concerned about failure because 80% of the 600,000 new products and CPG launched each year fail, and 50% of all new businesses fail by year three.

Dig Insights

Dig Insights is a consultancy that has been around for twelve years. They built their own innovation software to assist their clients with innovation exercises and navigating their life cycles. They provide their clients with a foundational understanding of the consumer or the market and fill the gaps across the innovation lifecycle with their platform and other research solutions.

Speed and agility

There is a lot of pressure for innovation to get out into the market and innovations to be the first ones out. But, sometimes, large organizations get stuck in the process. So speed and agility are critical.

Clients are taking more advantage of data

Clients are taking more advantage of data, including survey, sales, behavioral, and social data, to find ideas and opportunities for coming up with innovations.

Democratization of insights

One reason companies present at AIX is that democratization of their insights function is happening across their organization. So they want to empower their internal clients with technological solutions to enable them to research independently and speed up the innovation process.

Traditional companies versus smaller brands

Years ago, large companies had the advantage because they had the resources, budget, and knowledge to launch new products. Now, they have to compete with many smaller and more agile direct-to-consumer brands with a constant finger on the pulse of the consumer.

The stage-gate product development process

Most large organizations Paul deals with still subscribe to the stage-gate product development process, but they try to speed up the process and shorten the time it takes to get a new product to market.

Medium-sized companies

Medium-sized companies are now doing a lot of iterative innovation, getting constant feedback, and optimizing everything before going to market.

Equalizing the playing field

Lately, startups have also been asking if they can leverage the Dig Insights platform to do their research. That has equalized the playing field and made the competition for larger companies even more stringent.


Most companies recognize that they need to talk to a younger consumer base. They have to be quick in their approach and get feedback fast. They need a way to solicit information quickly, easily, and confidently, so they are looking for innovative, fun, and robust solutions that are agile, engaging, and have a great user experience.

Consumer product failures

Consumer product failures tend to occur when companies start without a strategy. Or when they do not know what they want to achieve or for whom their innovation is. To overcome that, they need to use specific methodologies to get feedback from a broad audience.

On the flip side

Some clients want to talk to a very niched customer profile, so they tend to miss potential opportunities outside of that profile.

Avoiding problems

To avoid those problems, understand who your innovation is for, think broadly, and plan. The market is changing rapidly, so it is vital to think ahead and consider whether your idea will still be relevant in six months or even a year from now.


Dig Insights has built a platform called Upsiide to help its clients assess innovations quickly and intuitively. It started as a simple way to test ideas. They used the technology of swiping and trade-offs and turned it into a test for innovations. Then it evolved into a DIY innovation platform that clients can utilize independently. Dig Insights has also productized elements of the platform to service its clients while using it. One of their global clients has already tested 4,000 ideas in the last year!

Alcohol companies

Many niche opportunities get identified in the Upsiide platform. That suits alcohol companies because they look for incremental wins and not necessarily major wins.

Don’t reject an idea outright 

Do not reject an idea outright if it gets a bad score. Find out what is driving the score, and see if there is any unidentified passion around the idea that might gain momentum if it were to get launched.

Not all ideas are gold

On the flip side, not all ideas are gold. Even if you have a great idea that people love, it could still be a problem if they do not choose it when it gets compared with something else.

The best approach 

Choose an approach that will help you understand whether or not your idea will be successful against those with whom you are looking to compete.

Find the right group to focus on

Find the group where your idea does very well, and focus on it.


KPIs cannot work across a variety of innovations. A more tailored approach is necessary for innovations with different purposes. If KPIs are done correctly and communicated clearly, a test can get done internally to see if the results fulfill their criteria on a KPI.


Some people tend to go overboard with surveys and methodologies when testing an idea. A full-blown concept is not always necessary for a simple idea. Sometimes a simple and easy-to-understand approach will work just as well.

An analytics tool

Dig Insights built its analytics tools internally. The company’s analysts and managers use it to get data visualizations and understand the analytics to analyze the information. It works well and prevents bottle-necks from forming with their analytics team.

A standardized approach

Dig Insights’ clients want a standardized approach. Many people trying to standardize things across their organizations have approached the company for help.

The future

Paul is excited to see what the next few years hold for the industry! He is also excited for the startup brands with new products that are now able to do research and are keeping the large organizations on their toes!



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Connect with Paul

Paul Gaudette on LinkedIn

Dig Insights