The World Needs Better Products

The World Needs Better Products
In September, the Working Products Conference took place for the sixth time. This conference focuses on agile product culture and is attended by product managers and everyone who is responsible for the development and support of digital products and services. It is the perfect place to exchange ideas on successful teamwork and how to collaboratively develop better products together. That is why we as TalentFormation also had to be present. Daniel, our Head of Product gave a presentation on how product managers have both the chance, but also the responsibility to solve relevant problems and make our world a little better through better products.

For Daniel, product management is the art of problem solving. He is inspired and motivated by products that have a positive impact on people, businesses and society.

Both the income of and the demand for product owners in Germany are significantly higher than average. In fact after doing some research Daniel discovered that around 88% of Germany’s population is poorer than the average product owner (findings based on World Inequality Database data).

With this standing, a lot of responsibility comes hand in hand. Quoting Jeff Patton, Daniel points out that “The truth is, your job is to change the world. Every great idea you turn into a product solution changes the world in some small, or not-so-small way for the people who use it.”

Our industry holds the power to solve relevant problems and to change the world for the better. Lots of other industries lack this immense leverage. So, what is our industry doing with this massive influence , what problems are we solving?

The problems that are solved vary greatly in their importance and scope. Amazon for example is a power house in regards of problem solving and employees an enormous amount of product teams. Is Amazon solving a relevant problem when it manages to get our groceries delivered to our doorstep within 2 hours, though? The problem is that now, of course, I have to pick up the groceries at the door and put them away myself. Fortunately, Walmart goes one step further and even puts the groceries directly into my fridge. But wait…that means strangers entering my house. A new product needs to be developed: A robot that puts the goods away for me – that would be great. The question of whether these problems are relevant problems is left to each individual to decide at this point.

With the force of the current zeitgeist pushing us forward, it can be very easy for us to get lost in all the tools and practices we learn and become too business- and ego driven. Are the products we create really making a difference and have a real impact on people, businesses or society? Or are we just getting one step closer to Pixar’s Wall-E reality, in which people are floating around on air cushions not confronted with any friction in life?

What are the relevant problems? Which solutions could make our world a little better? Without any doubt there are products that have massive relevance. Daniel’s favorite product is the Share The Meal app, which since its launch in 2015 has funded 60 million meals for children in Africa. We have to look at the world and its facets from different perspectives asking ourselves new questions to identify relevant problems and start making a change. Daniel strongly believes that our industry not only can make a difference but it has to make a difference.  

Check out this video (YouTube – German version with automatically translated subtitles) to watch Daniel’s full presentation.

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