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PEOPLE

The Power of Insight with Accenture’s Peony Wu

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• Peony Wu, Managing Director - Accenture Interactive, Greater China, talks to The Mag about the power of insight.
• Meaningful insights are the ones that lead to action in business, the workplace, and in life.
• We can gain insight by looking at data and taking advice from others before making an informed decision.
• While insight can help us make decisions, it’s also important to keep a positive intention and be brave to take action.

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What’s the one thing that motivates you? “The Power Series” offers thought leadership insights from industry experts at Taikoo Place on the “power” of their initiatives in relation to everyday life. In March, we speak to Peony Wu, Managing Director - Accenture Interactive, Greater China, about the power of insight.

Insight is more than just data and observations. It’s the understanding of the cause and effect in a specific situation, and most importantly, what actions you can take as a result.

In other words, insight is meaningless if it doesn’t lead to actions. This is true both professionally and personally – and it comes with a process.

When deriving insights in business, the purpose is always to shed light on what actions the company can take to achieve its goal, whether it’s to improve the customer experience or to tackle a certain challenge.

“Keep a positive intention, no matter what you do. ”

You could say this is a personal insight that I’ve gained through my 20 years of experience in the marketing industry, where I have worked in both the consulting and corporate worlds. I have specialised in customer experience design, branding, customer engagement, analytics, while integrating innovation into an experience-led approach to solving business problems.

Now, as part of the Accenture Interactive team, my team and I help clients across Greater China to generate business insights that drive their transformation agenda. The process varies depending on the maturity of the organisation. Generally speaking, you’d first consider the end goal. After that, you would then start collecting evidence-based data.

For example, for a project that we’ve worked on with Swire Coca-Cola, they wanted to find out how they could place vending machines strategically across China. So we looked at various data, such as transactional data and even weather data, to get a full picture of how the machines performed in different locations. After that, we ran rounds of simulation using machine learning technology to generate relevant insight for a marketing campaign, which enabled us to see which locations could yield better ROI [return on investment] by adjusting the number of vending machines.

During this time, you may also want external input, such as opinions from experts from other industries. Accenture is a global professional services company, so it’s convenient for us to offer an outside-in perspective for our clients. Of course, it’s also important to keep the internal business stakeholders’ intention in mind: in what direction do they want to steer the company towards? With Swire Coca-Cola, in the end, we were able to increase the sales in some of the strategic locations by as much as five times. This shows just how impactful meaningful insights can be.

For organisations, internal insights are just as valuable in creating a better workplace – and the process is similar. At Accenture, we first determine what we want to achieve, then we run quantitative surveys to gather feedback from our colleagues to see what they think of the company and their areas of interest. We also learn colleagues’ feedback through some informal channels, such as at team activities – we used to host movie nights, yoga sessions, leadership coffee-chat Fridays, baking classes…now, despite the current pandemic, we still have regular webinars and virtual get-togethers to make sure there’s a platform for our folks to talk to us.

But of course, collecting data is just the first step. We utilise a lot of the insights in designing different programmes, from our health and wellness initiatives, which now include having mental health allies available for our staff, to e-learning courses, which keep our colleagues updated on the latest trends in the tech world.

In life, I realised that deriving insights for ourselves isn’t so different either: we need observable “data”, which can be a sum of our own experience; as well as feedback from external sources, such as our mentors, colleagues, friends and family members. These “data” and advice from others help us gain self-insight, a deep understanding of our purpose and intention. Then we can make the right decisions on what actions to take next on our paths. Essentially, it’s about asking ourselves: “How do I get to where I am today? Where am I heading? And who can I talk to for advice?”

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Find inspiration from your Taikoo Place neighbours –
Read more from The Mag’s POWER SERIES.  

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A key insight throughout my personal journey is to keep a positive intention, no matter what you do. When you know what you truly want, you would naturally reach out to the right people, ask the right questions and be a good listener. A positive intention is what keeps you on track as you make decisions at different stages – and at work, as you create impactful projects. This understanding has led me to get involved in many meaningful projects, such as mentorship work and building one of Hong Kong’s first virtual banks.

While data help us make informed decisions, don’t be afraid to listen to your gut. Sometimes, as well as being analytical, we also need to have that bravery to make a leap of faith. Whether it’s for yourself, for a client, or for your workplace – as long as you have a positive intention, as long as you want to create positive impact for your company, your colleagues and your own life, you’ll find your way, one way or another.

 

How does machine intelligence enhance our lives? Read all about the Power of Intelligence with AQUMON’s Kelvin Lei.

 

Do you work at Taikoo Place and want to be featured in The Power Series? Get in touch.

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