In business, some people like to use the term "actionable insight" to mean something like new information that can you do something with. Is there a common word or phrase outside of business English that means the same thing? "Task" doesn't quite fit. Perhaps "epiphany"?

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    From the military register: fresh intelligence. – Edwin Ashworth Aug 3 '16 at 14:45
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    Maybe clues? Seem insightful and actionable to me. – Dan Bron Aug 3 '16 at 14:46
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    "useful information" is the most general term, applicable to any field. Properly speaking, useful is something that one has a "use" for, that can be "used", else you'd called it interesting information, amusing information, anything but "useful". – P. O. Aug 3 '16 at 14:50
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    @DanBron ah yes! And your clue has lead me to leads. Not bad. – z0r Aug 3 '16 at 14:51
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    Don't forget that the past tense of lead is led (pronounced like the metal lead, not like the active verb lead). Isn't English spelling fun? – John Lawler Aug 3 '16 at 15:01

I think in common parlance "actionable" is very similar to "constructive" or even "useful". We teach our kids that constructive criticism is the kind that can be acted upon. Actionable insights may come in forms other than criticism, of course, and may be derived from data or discovered rather than told.

I would suggest constructive feedback for the common case that the information results from an earlier action, or simply useful information to cover the more general case.

We could try constructive information, but it sounds kind of weird! Usually we would simply say that we "had a constructive discussion", rather than that we "got constructive information out of it." I'm not sure you'll find a common English expression that captures precisely the same idea as "actionable insights". To frame events in terms of the gains and losses that result is a fairly business-minded perspective to begin with. :)

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New information that you can do something with could be referred to as new information that has been tested and found applicable or the latest research. It really depends on the nature of the new information. If you can name the organization that has tested the information and stands behind its authenticity, that helps--as in an FFA-approved product or process. It also depends on whether this is a new discovery with far-reaching applications. I normally deal with engineers. Their ultimate goal is to commercialize their findings or to make them accessible to those who can use them via a free website. The latter is the case with databases that can help the medical profession. You can refer to a product or process as innovative or newly developed.

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  • In this case it's far more vague. An example would be "employees are not feeling engaged because xyz". You might not know what the ultimate action is yet, but you might have enough information to move to the next step – z0r Aug 3 '16 at 16:45

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