September 13

Instilling innovation within your organization

As a product manager, you can have a big influence on how your organization innovates. Just remember that with great power comes great responsibility. The way you approach innovation, who you involve in those innovation efforts, and what aspects you apply innovation to can have a largely positive, or negative, impact on your product and organization. Here are some things to keep in mind when you instill innovation in your organization so that you use your innovation powers for good.

Product management is really innovation management. Many organizational leaders use the word “innovation” simply to refer to anything new or different. Missing from this perspective is that innovation is not simply change; it’s change that creates value. Rachel Everett explains that “the goals of innovation and product management are inherently aligned. Product managers launch and support products in a dynamic, competitive marketplace. For a product to be successful, it must deliver value to its users, a value that no competing alternative can match.”

(via @viderity)

What is product management’s role in promoting innovation? Product managers often drive innovation within their organizations. But they aren’t solely responsible. “Innovation doesn’t happen in a silo. Breakthrough ideas, like the market knowledge that leads to them, come from collaboration. Product innovation is a team sport, involving many people throughout an organization.” Shaun Juncal explores ideas product management teams can use to enlist everyone across the business to help with innovation.

(via @shaunjuncal)

Applying innovation in product management. “A product consists of more than simply a core offering. The entire experience is important – how a customer learns about the product, how they purchase it, how they actually use it and where they buy it.” The folks at Brainmates explain how you can differentiate your product from competitive offerings by applying innovator’s techniques to your product management efforts.

(via @brainmates)

How product managers can drive innovation.  Trying to predict the future is very hard. In this post, Daniel Elizalde shares several approaches to innovation that can help you anticipate what’s coming and provide a compass to steer your products in the right direction. He describes three keys to meaningful innovation including “hard trends”, focus on your vision not your product, and balance today’s sales with tomorrows investment.

(via @delizalde)

Who Is Your Internal Customer for Innovation? “Imagine that you’re a tech company executive setting up an innovation program. Most of your initial focus is on generating and validating individual product concepts: probably via a LeanUX or Lean Startup model with rapid paper prototypes, MVPs, and quick vetting of hundreds of random employee submissions. Unlike at a startup, though, you have a major hurdle after your validation team comes up with a viable concept: how to find a home for it within a mainstream product group. Which prompts the question: who is your internal customer for a validated product idea?” Rich Mironov explains that your internal customer for innovation is heavily dependent on the size of the idea and its alignment with your existing roadmap/technical investment plan.

(via @richmironov)

Kent J McDonald

About the author

Kent J McDonald writes about and practices software product management. He has product development experience in a variety of industries including financial services, health insurance, nonprofit, and automotive. Kent practices his craft with a variety of product teams and provides just in time resources for product people at and Product Collective. When not writing or product managing, Kent is his family’s #ubersherpa, listens to jazz and podcasts (but not necessarily podcasts about jazz), and collects national parks.


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