Critical Insight Skills

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A Practical Skills-Based Training Programme for Planners and Strategists

​This course has been developed and primarily funded by the APG to train a new generation of planners and strategists in the skills they need to understand target audiences and develop people-based strategic insights.

Because it is underwritten by the APG to develop the skills of the community at large, it will be priced at less than half our regular training courses.

This is a new APG course developed with The Nursery Research & Planning, to encourage planners and strategists to get out of the ‘bubble’ and  directly engage with their target audiences so that they can root their  strategic thinking in the real world of real people.

Who is it aimed at?

Younger planners and strategists working in agencies with up to 3 or 4  years’ experience who, through no fault of their own, spend too much  time in front of a screen and not enough time drawing on real people for  strategic inspiration and insight.

What will you learn?

It’s designed to instill a series of skills and  behaviours including interviewing, moderating, and analyzing qualitative data and applying knowledge and insight to crack planning problems.

It will encompass digital approaches but will be mostly oriented to real life. We’ll encourage the delegates to experiment with and seek out-of-bubble understanding of target audiences, including hard-to-reach audiences. They will then be shown how to link that depth of understanding to developing insights and feeding through to strategy and briefs.

It will consist of 5 modules of around 3 hours each, over a period of 8 weeks. Each module will tackle a different skill or approach. Delegates will also be a briefed on a project that they will present for comment at the end of the course.

Each session will have a Cheat Sheet detailing the main points and actions.

Each module will be led by senior experts at The Nursery Research & Planning who are excellent practitioners in every aspect of interviewing and interpretation, with the assistance of very senior planners and  strategists in agencies and client companies.

These include Lucy Banister and Sophie Marder at The Nursery Research & Planning, Hugh de Winton of Adam and Eve DDB, Eloise Liley of Publicis, and Kate Waters and Tom Patterson from ITV.

Course Information

When is it?


Where is it?


What are the hours?

It will consist of 5 modules of around 3 hours each, over a period of 8 weeks.

Course Content

Module 1: Critical Interviewing Skills

An interactive teaching session with skilled researchers and moderators including interviewing best practice, drawing people out effectively, case histories and initial guidance on crafting  insights. There will also be a briefing on the effective use of qualitative on-line tools. The session will include an opportunity to have a go at putting into practice what has been learned.

Module 2: Critical Insights and how to generate them

A whole session geared to a deeper understanding of audiences, and uncovering and crafting actionable insight. It will encompass case history examples of how insights were generated in qual research, from top qual researchers, and examples of how planners take these findings and develop insights for use directly in strategic development and briefs.

A project will be set to teach and encourage understanding of particular hard to reach audiences leading to short videos and presentations.

​Module 3: Critical Moderating Skills

This will take place in a viewing facility and is designed to teach professional group moderation by example. Researchers from The Nursery Research & Planning will run the groups and use them as a teaching aid, demonstrating  principles and getting feedback and ideas from the delegates and  demonstrating what happens in group dynamics and how to get the best out  of respondents.

All the delegates will then have a go at running a group discussion and get feedback on their methods and approach.

Module 4: Critical Understanding of Harder to Reach Target Audiences

This is based on case histories about specific  audiences or groups.  It’s designed to show by example how really good  target audience thinking leads to effective strategy and excellent work.   Run by Strategy leaders and based in part on winning cases from the  APG Creative Strategy Awards

Module 5: Project Debrief and Critical Further Insight

Delegate videos and insight presentations are reviewed with a debrief of the work, offering critiques, guidance and tips.

Before you purchase your ticket please call  the APG at 0208 858 0707 or email to ensure you're eligible to take part.

*these tickets are non-refundable


Tom Patterson

Tom Patterson

Client Strategy and Planning Controller

Tom has worked in advertising for over 10 years, starting his career in Research before moving into Strategy, via a short-lived stint in Account Management. During his career Tom has worked at sma...

Eloise Liley

Eloise Liley

Strategy Director

Eloise is a strategy director originally from Tasmania. She believes in living ideas - great strategy and communication that stays in the heads and hearts of people and impacts their lives in more way...

Hugh de Winton

Hugh de Winton

Planning Director

Hugh began his career as an account manager under VCCP and made the change into planning in 2008. After this he spent four years at Dare and left as a Senior Planner. Hugh is now Planning Director at ...

Sophie Marder

Sophie Marder


Sophie Marder graduated with a BSc (1st) in Psychology from the University of Reading in 2015. She studied final modules such as Behavioural Economics, Self Control and Forensic Psychology. Her disse...

Lucy Banister

Lucy Banister


Biography here...

Kate Waters

Kate Waters

Director of Client Strategy and Planning

Previously, Kate was the Co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer at Now Advertising. Kate was a Strategy Partner at Engine, and one of the Government’s leading advisers on behaviour change strategy, res...

Cancellation policy

Should you cancel your booking for an APG training course, the following cancellation policy will apply: For a cancellation made more than 30 calendar days in advance of the training course, a full rebate will be applied. For a cancellation more than ten calendar days in advance of the training course, a rebate of 50% will be applied. For a cancellation less than ten days in advance of the training course no rebate will be applied.

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Sales end on 17/07/2020 at 03:30PM

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