Opportunity Hypothesis: First step towards creating successful products

Definition of product management

How do you create successful products and new businesses ventures through effective use of product management?

Let me start with asking the following questions:

  • How do you define product management in the broadest terms to encompass all facets of the role and address why the product manager role exists to begin with?
  • How should we envisage the role so it can have a meaningful impact in today’s rapidly evolving landscape?

I’ve spoken with tens of people in multiple industries and have determined that there isn’t a unanimous understanding of or answer to the these questions. I’ve seen skills varying in both meaning and application that tend to get associated with the role. Examples are product strategy, product ownership, product marketing, product development, product delivery.

The terms product agilist, product architect are also being used synonymously , especially in newer tech oriented startups.

While none of these are inaccurate because most product managers are directly or indirectly responsible for these aspects, they don’t truly do justice to what the role can accomplish.

Revisiting how we define product management

I like to think of product managers as Opportunity and Innovation Managers instead.

In order to appreciate this, we need to define the following terms.

  1. Opportunity: Potential to address unmet and underserved customer needs and therefore create value.
  2. Innovation: Imagining an end state for an opportunity/problem and creating an offering (product or service) that is valuable, feasible and commercially viable that helps reach that state.

There is usually an element of creativity involved. However, in most real world cases, there are constraints in place in terms of resources which are crucial to consider so the creativity is channeled in a realistic , useful way.

The above definition helps creates a different mindset altogether. No longer is the focus only creating products. Instead the product managers (or innovation managers) start to think more about identifying and creating value.

How to start applying this thought process in a practical way

It all really kicks off with the creation of an opportunity hypothesis.

We need to ask ourselves a well directed yet broad question that creates the basis of the problem definition.

  • For a company like Uber, an opportunity hypothesis could be something like the following:

“Is there potential to disrupt how people commute locally? ”

Or “Is there potential to change the way people use taxi/transportation services?

  • For an airlines struggling due to the impact of Covid in 2020, it may be drafted as:

“Is there an opportunity to create a safer and more enjoyable shopping experience for customers?”

  • When Apple created the iPod , they had hypothesized the opportunity as following:

“Can we put 1000 songs in people’s pockets?”

4 guidelines to consider while drafting an opportunity hypothesis:

  1. Ask a question which is broad enough so it doesn’t limit the scope of what can be created as a solution, but focused enough so it creates at least some useful boundaries.
  2. Don’t include a proposal or a solution. It should only help create a path towards identifying a potential problem.
  3. It can continue to evolve or refine over time , especially if the domain and subject matter is new.
  4. A well drafted opportunity hypothesis will eventually describe the vision of the product or maybe even the company itself.

The above definition can apply to all levels of product management. It is not just applicable for creating a new disruptive business or product from scratch.. You can use the same method and principles even if you’re working on iterations to an existing product or solution. E.g. if you operate an existing ecommerce store, but have witnessed a high cart abandonment rate you could hypothesize an improvement opportunity by asking “Is there a potential to improve customer buying experience”

What company, product, or industry are you passionate about? Create opportunity hypothesis for it and comment below?

47 thoughts on “Opportunity Hypothesis: First step towards creating successful products

  • Tanmay

    Very insightful article Vipin!
    I really love my Google Pixel and I have had a great experience using this phone for the last ~2 years. I have used both iPhone and Pixel, and I prefer Pixel better. However, it always hurts me when I read statements like “Pixel is a good ALTERNATIVE to an iPhone” or when I engage in conversations and get replies like “Pixel is not as innovative and as reliable as an iPhone”.
    I really believe that Pixel as a Product has great potential. Hence, my opportunity hypothesis (from a Pixel Product Manager Perspective) is – “Is there an opportunity to make Google Pixel more innovative and reliable”?

    • Vipin Makhija

      I am personally in the iPhone camp , so I may be biased 🙂
      Your hypothesis is certainly broad (as it should be) and you’ve clearly heard the underlying problem area. But do you feel it may be almost too broad? Making anything more “innovative” is clearly always possible, isn’t it?

      How would you try to add at least some dimension/constraint to make it a little more focused and redraft it?

  • Kim

    Cool article. I see Products Managers at the intersection of global business, tech and the user experience. Having to think from varied perspectives, always keeping an open mind, passionately curious, empathizing and thinking about making customer experiences at all tiers and levels satisfied and happy.

    I enjoy global travel, sports among others. An opportunity thesis can be, especially in this day and age and circumstances – what are the opportunities to make travel safe and sanitary for customers? what opportunities exist for more fans to join in the live sports experience and be safe?

    • Vipin Makhija

      Hit the nail on the head. I have a feeling you’re love the user research part of product innovation!
      And right on with the opportunity hypothesis in the sports industry. In fact, that’s probably one of the sectors hit the hardest by the Pandemic. Perhaps you can help the Japanese government with Olympics planning?

  • Pratham Doshi

    Amazing article Vipin! So far, I appreciate the approach you have taken to collaborate/train us as we are going through each step of the product life cycle. I have heard a lot of definitions on what a PM really is, but I think your definition beats them all since a PM in the current times is really responsible for Innovation which comes from an opportunity. A further definition of PM can be expanded into someone who understands the business so he/she can make the innovative opportunity into profitable. Someone who understands the engineering so he/she can make the innovative opportunity into a feasible technology. Someone who understands the design process so he/she can make the innovative opportunity be accepted by its users.

    Your statement on how it all starts with an opportunity is spot on with how products are driven in the current day and age. We are no longer just creating products for convenience but instead, a product exists as there exists a problem. Creating an opportunity hypothesis helps us really see the pain point that we are solving and the value proposition we are offering to our users. Solving a real problem will make the growth of users organic and an important factor in terms of user retention. Starting with the opportunity hypothesis gives us more clarity as it acts as a sniff test. The sniff test will help us understand the direction and the goal that we are trying to reach.

    Currently, I am on the lookout for finding a problem that speaks to me, so I don’t have anything particular in mind. But recently I have been very interested in Data Analytics/Science and using it to provide more clarity to artists. I am currently in the process to figure out if there are any correlations between the music that is launched with the time of the year. Based on that I want to provide aid to the new artists releasing music and helping them understand the current trends better. The opportunity hypothesis will be “Can we use data science to provide artists with tips on what type of music to release when? Will it be something that will use?”

    • Vipin Makhija

      Pratham, you raise a very important point in the first paragraph. Something we may blog about and open for discussions in the near future. If there are some people who are subject matter experts and others who are tech experts, where exactly does the product manager who may be new to the domain and is not a technologist, add value? And how?

      Very interesting problem in the music industry. However as far as the opportunity hypothesis goes, it will be best to separate the “solution” (data science) at such an early stage of the opportunity definition. While I do believe sometimes opportunities can originate from the solution side (especially if some technology exists and we find a new business use case for it), it is best at the early stage to purely focus on the underlying opportunity. “Can we help artists with deciding what type of music to release when?” is a more apt way of approaching it in my opinion.

  • Rahul

    Agree with the first piece that being in product means identifying opportunities and creating value for your customers and for your business.

    In principle, I like the idea of thinking of a PM as an Opportunity Innovation Manager. It is the responsibility of a PM to create an environment and manage people/expectations/resources to collectively find and validate the opportunity.

    Interesting question at the end about an opportunity hypothesis > I was doing my weekly run for groceries just yesterday when I went to Giant Eagle. I’m not a fan of waiting in the line to checkout my items and often find myself using the self-checkout kiosks. Every time I feel like I’ve figured out how to use it, the alarm goes off requesting an attendant to guide you. It just makes you feel anxious and nervous that you are holding the line-up and you can almost hear the jeers of the crowd piling up behind you saying (hypothetically) – “Jeez, how dumb are you?”. So here is my opportunity hypothesis > “Is there an opportunity for supermarkets to make their checkout less stressful and anxiety-inducing for customers?”

    I’m also a big football fan (aka soccer). I was thinking – “Is there an opportunity to help managers validate their in-game intuition and plans using data collected on players and play patterns of the opposition?”. I’m not looking at replacing managers, just assisting them with alternate plans if they want to change things around.

    That’s my piece. Looking forward to reading what everyone else has to say!

    – Rahul

    • Raoul

      Interesting hypothesis about soccer Rahul, I’m also a big soccer fan. 🙂

  • Vipin Makhija

    Nicely drafted hypothesis for the supermarkets checkout use case. As you realized having gone through that process a few times yourself, you came with a thorough understanding of the underlying subject matter/domain. That can be an interesting challenge at times for product managers who come from a different industry.

    For your second one, adding “using data collected on players and play patterns of the opposition” can limit how you approach the eventual problem, because there’s almost a solution already embedded in that part 😉

  • Shalini

    An interesting read! One statement that stuck to me when I was researching ITIL practices was “Outcomes are more important than outputs”. This was in context to the working of IT employees who might give the right output by gaming the system without their work yielding the right outcome. Applying this sentiment to the world of Product, I would say that a Product that adds quality to your life is more important than the one that dazzles but makes little difference. For example, a “Whatsapp” made a world of difference in intercontinental mobile communication by making it very cheap. Someone sitting abroad can talk to his parents living on another continent daily which would not have been possible using just a Calling card. But an “Instagram”, albeit, an extremely interesting concept and an enjoyable product, did not improve the “quality of life” of people. At best, it provided another platform for service providers to market their product/services.

    Latching on to this thought, the product that I think, can help in revolutionizing education is Facebook. I taught under privileged kids back in India for a couple of years. The app that those kids liked to use as soon as they got hold of a phone was Facebook. Facebook has been carefully refined to be a remarkably interesting and an addictive product. I would often send those kids group messages that included educational tidbits as I knew they would get on FB even if they missed the class. So, my hypothesis would be – Can Facebook be made an effective tool to be used for online learning?

    • Vipin Makhija

      @ Shalini: Quality over pure dazzle. I’ll take that any day definitely. However even if you feel Instagram is “only” an enjoyable product for entertainment, I think one could argue that enjoyment itself adds quality of life to the lives of millions of people. I feel VALUE is the term that defines success of a product. If it adds value to people’s lives (and enjoyment is value too), it has a change if it can reach those people.

      Love the idea and hypothesis of FB being used for online learning. I believe MZ was working on how that could be accomplished, but hey if you decide to go ahead and do that, keep us posted 😉

  • Pawan

    I really love my airpod pros. I never thought i needed it until i got it and now i can’t imagine how i lived without it. Its super convenient- removes the hassle of wires, has noise cancellation, can perform more intense physical activities without the hassle of wires and answering calls anywhere anytime. But i also see where it can be improved. Some things I can see that can be improved: battery life, colors (that of airpods as well as colors of earbuds-customers love customizing), wireless charging, etc. so my opportunity thesis would be – Can airpods become the elite headphones in sound quality and aesthetics?

    • Vipin Makhija

      That’s a great thought process and opportunity hypothesis. Targeted yet broad enough to leave room to innovate.

  • Raoul

    Good article Vipin! Agree with creating value for your customers (making products people love) and for your business.

    For the hypothesis, I thought about this new app called My Mind (https://mymind.com/). They want to create a tool that works like your mind and respects the integrity of your mind. Hypothesis > Is this new product capable to change the way people save content that’s valuable to them?

    • Vipin Makhija

      Very interesting and potentially useful app idea. I just signed up! I could use something like that. And nicely created hypothesis

  • Chioma

    Great article Vipin. Such an insightful read.

  • Nikhil

    A good read, Vipin!

    One thing that I have noticed time and again is that building any product/solution is also about anticipation of customer needs that don’t exist yet but have merit in being solved. Case in point, I’d look at the definition of ‘opportunity’ with another dimension of ‘unarticulated ‘ needs as well. In totality, it now becomes the potential to address unmet, underserved and unarticulated needs of customers to create value. This additional layer could help us expand the bounds of how we think about the opportunity exercise.

    Most new solutions in the email service provider market perform modifications of the original outlook/gmail look and feature set. I feel that a cool new startup, Superhuman (https://superhuman.com) is poised to change the game in that regard. The hypothesis could be: ‘Can Superhuman change the way we consume and interact with emails on a daily basis?’

    Excited to see what everyone has to say!

    – Nikhil

    • Vipin Makhija

      Spot on with pointing out the unarticulated needs. Or we may sometimes even call them latent needs (needs that they don’t even know exist).
      Something, I do want to highlight (and it will be a topic for a future blog), that the original hypothesis isn’t geared towards actually highlighting specific needs. It is meant only to set the foundation and some constraints to focus the innovation efforts, especially if it’s a new idea. The formal discovery of needs and problems comes in the next stages and require a lot more effort and techniques.

      Just requested access to superhuman. Keen to find out how they plan to innovate email. Slack is another way to innovate and disrupt traditional email.

  • Shubham Goel

    Very well written and really insightful. Loved it. 🙂
    It’s always the first step in the design thinking framework where we need to build a problem hypothesis.

    • Vipin Makhija

      Indeed. I think considering a scope of a broader opportunity, is actually a step ahead of REALLY defining or discovering an exact problem/need, but certainly moves us in that direction.

  • Aouie G.

    Indeed there are a lot of definitions out there for what product management is and what a product manager does, but I really like how you defined it. At its core, product managers always think about what problems are in the world that remains unsolved and identify all the possible solutions that could address these problems.

    One of the things I am passionate about is the fashion industry and this industry has been one of those that were hit hard by the pandemic. Given the circumstances right now, people are spending most of their time at home/indoors and are working from there. An opportunity thesis could be: What opportunities exist for fashion in a market that will be spending more time at home? Is there an opportunity for fashion to become more digital (vs tangible)?

    • Vipin Makhija

      I loved the first part of your hypothesis, where you may not yet have fully defined an underlying problem, but you use a trend which is very clear to guide innovative thinking.

      The second question you ask is interesting… it appears that you’ve almost concluded that fashion will be more accessible only if its more digital… How about a concept (which I actually worked on as part of an academic project).. where the “store comes to your home instead”. Take it with a grain of salt, I am not the most fashionable person in the world, but I do enjoy shopping 🙂

  • Runa

    Not sure where I read the following but it really resonated with me. Product Management is about building the right things (discovery) and building things right (innovation).
    I am curious about the public education system and its adaptability in these interesting times. As kids managed the last few months of school in spring using a disjointed system of google classroom, zoom, and other random apps, I wonder about the future of the public school system. So my hypothesis:  Is there an opportunity to create an engaging and enjoyable learning experience for students and teachers?

    • Vipin Makhija

      It is in fact a great quote/message which I have also personally used many times over the years. and also cant recall where I first read it 🙂

      I was in a marketing strategy program at NYU earlier in the year and obviously we had to move online for the second half of the program. I absolutely believe education is ripe for disruption in the very near future. There is so much that can be done to adapt especially in these new times.

  • Blessing

    Great Content here on product management. I do believe that Product development and management thrives better in a customer-centric and data driven environment where data is being analysed properly to understand the customers needs so as to provide a product that solves the exact problem your customers are facing.

    I was reading earlier today, someone said he will still prefer to attend one of the top universities online courses paying the same tuition as an in-person course, this is because of the recognition they will attain upon graduation from such schools. Though Online learning is on the verge of disrupting higher education, but for many years now top universities have remained unchallenged based on their profiles and the high recognition they have attained. Their models which includes high tuition among other factors is a disadvantage to the average individual.

    But with the current pandemic and increased need for online learning, Is there an innovative technology or business model that can allow newbies to move upmarket without imitating some of these top universities strategies say in ‘form of high costs’ but provide services/product of value that matches these top players to the mainstream market?

    • Vipin Makhija

      Great use case and scope. There is already a lot of democratizing of education occurring driven by a number of top universities, through various platforms. But outside of the delivery mechanisms, the business model as you pointed out also has potential to be completely redone. Lets chat more!

  • Jadatharan Santhanam

    Well written Vipin , I think any new product or existing product feature update needs to solve the problem that the user facing. In this pandemic any product which helps people stay away from infection , I heard SG/Malyasia had rolled out devices which helps user to know any infected people around , this is need of hour since people value their life more than any thing . Similarly from an real estate perspective we are talking about it at right because the globe is on virtual working mode now ,so what need to think what all possibilities we have in future in this sector if NEW NORMAL would be working virtually . When people will look on real estate and what is it that they need.

    • Vipin Makhija

      Fully agreed. Hard to think of any industry that will not have to evolve, adapt and innovate given the new realities.

  • Kishan

    Interesting read!

    I would like to share that after reading and learning about Opportunity Hypothesis here, I have already tried to apply it and shared it with the Product team at Crowdtap (https://crowdtap.com/). I had used Crowdtap before and recently tried to use it again. It is a platform that allows users to answer questions about the brands and products they use and provide feedback to those companies who post such questions. Users are incentivized with points that are redeemable for gift cards. My hypotheses were derived on the basis of problems that I, as a user, came across and so I tried to keep them as broad as possible. I shared multiple opportunity hypotheses with the team (I am yet to hear back from them), and am sharing one of them here:
    “Is there an opportunity to improve the engagement of users of the Crowdtap mobile platform?”
    While it is broad in terms of being open to explore the factors that impact users’ engagement, it is specific in terms of being focused on the Crowdtap mobile platform.

    Would love to hear any feedback on if and how could I have created it better?

    I would also like to share another Opportunity Hypothesis. Yesterday, I returned from the laundry room in my building from the usual time I like to do my laundry at, feeling disgruntled that all the three washers had their cycles completed and still the owners of the clothes had not removed them. Half an hour later, the same state, no change. That got me thinking: “Is there an opportunity to empower users of shared laundry to be able to better plan such chores of washing and drying?”

    I do have some ideas of my own, but as again, a lot of work needs to be done before arriving at any solid solution. Would love to hear if anyone has any thoughts.

    • Vipin Makhija

      Just looked at crowdtap.com . Great business model. Glad you shared your thoughts about how to apply the hypothesis. My initial thought is “engagement of users” is perhaps a little too broad of a term still. However, on the other hand, this may actually be the right level to start thinking.

      Great second one. It can definitely spark some creative ways of discovering the problem and conceptualizing it. As I shared earlier, in a “smaller” use case like this one, especially where you already have a good understanding of the problems, the opportunity hypothesis may very well be a clearly defined problem statement already, as was the case here with your proposal. In brand new industries, the opportunity statement, is a first step towards getting to the problems.

  • Rajandeep

    Great article Vipin (and loved the Stock image used in the article🙂 ) ! Totally agree with you on the initial part of the post that there is no definitive line with respect to the responsibilities of a PM. In my opinion the net-net goal of a Product manager is to make the product valuable to end customer. And to achieve this a PM can play any responsibilities from the wider spectrum of a PM’s responsibilities. This is well cemented by the term Opportunity and Innovation manager as stated in the post.
    The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has exposed vulnerabilities of Supply chain and brought it to its toes world over. This applies even to unarguably the most robust and advanced Supply chain giants Amazon and Walmart. In my opinion this also played a major role in failing to control spread of Virus due to shortage of PPE kits, sanitizers, masks for the people and frontline workers. Case in point initial CDC recommendation to common public to leave masks for frontline workers was due to shortage of supplies.
    Being a supply chain enthusiast, I would love to explore an opportunity wherein Supply Chain can be made more resilient and robust to respond to VUCA events such as Covid-19.

    • Vipin Makhija

      Very timely problem highlighted Rajandeep. Supply chains across industries are being assessed for significant improvements as we speak, especially where there is significant geographic exposure.

  • Ahdithan

    In the broadest way possible, I define the Product manager as the orchestrator of a symphony, in the sense where you have the be the biggest advocate for your product both internally/externally. The role exists as the Product Manager has to be the glue between the technical/ non-technical folks to build a product that solves real problems customers may face in a lucrative way. Without the product manager’s vision, companies would have to solely rely on the leadership team’s vision without having an intermediary team between engineering.

    The role should be envisioned with the right level of autonomy to be able to drive meaningful impact. Product Manager’s are the ones who have the primary domain expertise with their products and by trade have to focus on anticipating/working with customers to understand what’s next.

    While collaborative tools such as Zoom, Skyped, and others exist. I believe there is a huge opportunity with VR/AR to be able to replicate as close to an in-person interaction with others especially given how this pandemic will change how we interact with others moving forward.

  • Vipin Makhija

    That is indeed a great analogy and perspective of the role within a larger organization. In smaller companies, it is even more pronounced because for startups, the organizational vision may be the product vision itself… at least to start with,

    And a very relevant and timely opportunity hypothesis for bringing remote people even closer together.

  • Pras Palani

    Great article Vipin. I would define a PM as one who can spot a problem / painpoint & define / execute a solution addressing the same.

    All of us would have experienced taking our cars to service. Especially if our cars are out of warranty & needs maintenance, we would had ‘sticker shock’ looking at a Dealer’s quote for a repair. Also how many times have we been to the workshop for the same issue ?

    Is there an opportunity to make car repair affordable & reliable ?

  • Vipin Makhija

    Pras, great use case.
    I don’t have a Tesla, but it is revolutionizing how repairs and updates are made. From over the air updates, to having the car picked up, to online reservations. Not to mention the drastic reduction in the repairs needed to begin with due to a much lower number of components.

  • Allison

    The way I describe Product Management is managing the collaboration with Data, Design, and Marketing to develop and launch a product.

    A product that I most use is Spotify. I’m assuming prior to being created, the hypothesis was ‘Is it possible for users to access music without having to download and worry about storage space?’

  • Vipin Makhija

    Nice one. Even though I am still a diehard Pandora user, Spotify certainly has had the greater impact on changing the way music is accessed and distributed. Interesting that you wrote the hypothesis from the point of view of the buyers/underlying users/listeners which makes total sense.
    It may also be possible to write it from the perspective of the content/music producers…perhaps the final Spotify product would’ve been different in that case.

  • Nick Giroux

    In past job interviews I would say that as a PM you have to be the fresh set of eyes to every part of the company. You have to be able to see a problem that others have looked over and also have to be able to justify that there is a need to fix it.

    I always that Compass was an interesting company and one that had real potential to impact its space, yet was never really doing so. They have access to all this data from the sales from all of their brokers and millions of dollars devoted to recruiting top tech talent but dont use that tech talent to aggregate their data. I would love to see how Compass could use their power to disrupt the real estate investing and management industry. They see themselves only in the buying and selling of homes, yet there is a much bigger and more sustainable market out there that they are leaving untouched.

    • Vipin Makhija

      @nicholas Agree with the sentiment. Also feel it is not always about a new problem that has been looked over, but perhaps solving it in a different way, as long as it creates new value for the customers. I am very keen to see how compass will evolve their business model.

  • Rajasree

    Amazing article, Vipin! I have always thought of Product Management as an intersection of multiple fields such as Analytics, Data, Design, Communication, and Strategy.

    As a parent of a tween, I have always been in the lookout for great devices for my kid -like a smartwatch or a cell phone. But as we know the vastness of the internet, I do not want my kid to get lured into the huge world of information – both wanted and unwanted. I have always wondered about the lack of products for kids in the age group of 11-18. They don’t prefer ‘cute’ or ‘childish’ designs; at the same time, they are not big enough for adult stuff too! A not-so-basic cell phone with call options and restricted browsing options / a smartwatch that can be also used as a device of communication between parents and kids would be very useful. So, is there an opportunity to create tween-friendly products, targeting the particular age group?

  • Gaurav Dhingra

    Great Article Vipin,
    The line that resonated with me the most is that how PM’s are Innovation and Opportunity managers.
    Although I have not had much first hand experience doing product management work but have actively worked with PM’s on a daily basis in any teams that I have worked with and I think all the Innovation and where the product can go is based off of what vision does the PM see for the product, where is the gap/potential in the market that the company is trying to fill, how will that align well with the company’s direction- all that is driven by a product manager.

    One area that I am definitely passionate about is online learning that I feel is not tapped to its potential. I see a lot of websites/applications like Udemy, Edureka and Coursera that offer online learning but where I feel the gap is affordable live learning. Either above donot cover that area or are too expensive for someone who is looking to learn a new area/languge/domain/tool. Although I feel videos are a good way to learn something but I feel more disciplined and if I am learning something new in a time boxed format by having live learning session being affordable at the same time.

    • Vipin Makhija

      @gauravdhingra Education is completely ripe for disruption, especially now with more learning happening online due to the pandemic. I am personally very interested in exploring way to innovate. So happy to brainstorm if you ever want.

  • Nikhil

    Agree with the need to separate a solution mindset from innovation mindset and get into the hypothesis mindset!

    I would like to break it into two product phases


    During this phase, I would say, build a hypothesis, experiment with it, re-experiment, and rebuild the hypothesis as keep on re-experimenting until your devil advocates stops talking to you.

    So the cycle goes, Hypothesis-Experiment-Re-experiment-REPEAT……until the devil advocate is dead

    That is when you born with what is truly needed. Often we try to rebadge the old wine in a new bottle. Don’t do that, as, if one does not un-earth the core of the problem, the product would be just another small and new player in the market. Nothing bad in that but the success only depends on how deep the pockets are.


    My experience in product management has shown that it becomes really tougher for even prudent PMs to separate thinking about implementation from innovation. And that becomes the tipping point of limiting the product adaptability and reduces brimming of the product viz-a-viz ever changing needs.

    So where does the problem lie?
    – Do PM becomes too obsessed with something they thought is a goldmine earlier
    – Do they become overwhelmed with the available limited resources
    – Do they believe that innovation was a one-time game and now we would re-innovate only when the product is ready and tested

    And this is the right opportunity for the PMs to think about their role, the purpose they play and get stick to the role of Opportunity and Innovation Managers

    A hypothesis that I see

    A see a lot of people loose chunk of their savings or had to forgo investment growth as they are fearful in investing in a risky new opportunity (say bitcoin, real-estate) and when they see so high returns that they invest in FOMO (fear of missing out) and ultimately stands on losing side.
    Can they be helped? Can we come up with trend guzzler product that can just help people enter – in between somewhere – and get the best returns? Can a product
    – Sufficiently analyze when the risk is reduced
    – and raise alerts when the product is out of “blind gamble” zone and into risky zone
    – and suggest and individual how much s/he should invest optimally

  • Vipin Makhija

    @iimlnikhil Very valuable thoughts. On your comment about limited innovation in more mature companies, the resources get dedicated to protecting the short term goals and outcomes (which are easier to measure, especially with shareholder expectations). Some cutting edge leading companies like Amazon (one my favorite companies), are not wired like that though. They set a very aspiring vision and dedicate resources to long term research and have a process and culture in place to innovate.

    There are investment options that let make it easier to invest in alternative assets, but I agree that we haven’t quite seen them being made accessible to everyone.

  • Varun Sharma

    Extremely insightful article . I reread this again and thought of sharing my perspective .I am really passionate about healthcare industry . One thing which really touched me during this pandemic is how Co morbid people have fallen prey to COVID in India especially diabetic people.Hence, opportunity hypothesis I thought.

    Is there a potential to make people aware about their diabetic vulnerability accurately?

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