Observations are facts, findings seen and heard in the field. Something like “8 out of 10 users had difficulties finding the power button” or “54% of 298 respondents prefers Concept A, 20% prefers Concept B, 16% prefers Concept C, and 10% has no preference” or “Older customers only use 10% of the device features”
These are simply findings, summary reports.
They don’t really explain why, nor tell us the implications of these findings.
Insights tend to be surprising and unexpected. Insights are synthesized observations. They explain the top level why certain things happen they way they are. The trick is to keep asking deeper the “why” questions. Insights are impactful and serve as a platform to ideate for new opportunities, new products or services, or new way of doing things.
The bottom line is, to be meaningful, insights have to answer the “why” and “so what” questions.