Welcome to the 100th episode of The Everyday Innovator podcast. I have a little something different for this episode, being this is kind of a big milestone, the 100th episode. I don’t have a guest today, and I’ll tell you more about that in the episode recording.
For the 100th episode, I cover four topics:
- An opportunity to get The Everyday Innovator coffee cup.
- Learning from self-reflection to increase your empathy and influence, using my self-reflection as an example.
- Why the podcast and blog is named The Everyday Innovator.
- Answers to product manager questions: advice for new product managers, where product management is heading, and why launches go bad.
Practices and Ideas for Product Managers and Innovators
Summary of some topics discussed:
- Coffee cup. I shared in the audio episode (listen below) how I designed The Everyday Innovator coffee cup and how 10 listeners with US shipping addresses could get one. The coffee cup is stunning…
- Self-reflection. Self-reflection helps you become more self-aware, which makes you a better leader and will help you increase your influence. If there is one thing product managers and innovators need, it is more influence! Self-reflection will help. I shared some of my pivotal moments that led me to become the product manager and innovator I am today, including:
- My love of building when I was young.
- Developing an experimental mentality as an engineering research assistant in college.
- Working in a systems engineering group that frequently created software prototypes.
- Falling into ethnography to gain deep insights into customers.
- Returning for a PhD to more deeply examine a professional issue I encountered as a product manager.
- How I love helping people.
- Teaching and coaching product managers to become product masters.
- “The Everyday Innovator” name. I chose the title to reflect that all of us are innovators. Some of us just tend to look at problems more closely and consider various ways the problems could be solved. These are the everyday innovators. “Everyday Innovators” are on a journey. They want to solve customers’ problems, make things people value, and work with incredible people who enjoy doing the same thing. As Everyday Innovators, we see problems not as challenges but as opportunities for creating new value. Anyone can be an Everyday Innovator, but some of us are naturally wired this way — seeing opportunities for innovation everyday.
- What advice would you share with new product managers? First, start by building your base. By this, I mean getting grounded in the fundamentals of product management. I built my base through involvement in professional associations, starting with the Product Development and Management Association (PDMA) and then adding the Association of International Product Marketers and Managers (AIPMM). I highly recommend the knowledge that can be learned through these professional associations. I’ve since developed my own approach for building your base, which I call the IDEA Framework. Second, recognize that successful market-winning products are created by first having deep insights into customers’ problems. Clayton Christensen popularized thinking of a product in terms of the job the customer hired the product for – what problem did they need solved that caused them to purchase the product? While it is a challenge for new product managers to find time to interact with customers, it is through discussions, interviews, and observations that insights are best discovered. Don’t chase what competitors are doing, which leads to copycat products – do your own research. In the audio episode, I share two other pieces of advice.
- Why do product launches go bad? Product launch is largely execution – execute properly and you’ll have a good launch. Where product launches go bad is back in the beginning of product development. A great launch can’t save a poor concept. To have a good launch, start by knowing you are solving an important problem in a way that a sizable number of customers will buy your solution, creating value for them and you – and doing it in a manner that is better than options from competitors. That is a mouthful, and the key pieces are:
- Problem worth solving.
- Solution customers will pay for.
- Market that is large enough to care about.
- Ability to beat what competitors are offering.
This all starts by first building your base as a product manager. A simple way to do that is to listen to this podcast and read the show notes. You are on your way!
“Fall down seven times, get up eight times.” –Japanese proverb
Listen Now to the Interview
Thank you for being an Everyday Innovator and learning with me from the successes and failures of product innovators, managers, and developers. If you enjoyed the discussion, help out a fellow product manager by sharing it using the social media buttons you see below.