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How Product Managers Are Driving A Culture of Innovation

August 12, 2015

Product Leadership

Promoting innovation and ensuring your product is at the cutting edge of its field is one of a product manager’s highest priorities. The responsibility of developing the product may be down to the product manager, but good ideas lie with every interaction your company has.

Any company that wishes to grow will listen to their clients as well as the people that are the most passionate about their product – their own team. By sharing, voting, and commenting on each other’s ideas you focus your team and give them a comfortable and open channel to contribute to the success and growth of your product. Communication and collaboration between all parties involved is key – from cross-team conversations, to passing on customer feedback to the product team so they are aware of the needs and wants of the community. Capturing ideas at the right time can make all the difference, and having the right tools can be a game changer.

But communication goes beyond just listening to what your clients are saying. It’s alsoabout  taking action on those ideas that are passed forward. If there is no reaction from your product team to your community’s feedback, how can you validate the work you are doing? This is where a public roadmap comes in.

Flexible roadmaps allow you to be innovative by providing you the ability to adapt to your product plans and the changing market, while keeping all stakeholders up to date. After all, transparency is king in today’s SaaS world, and the more open you are about what your product plans are, the more supportive your community will be.

Last but not least, innovation comes with a process. Not just a thought process, but an evaluation process! Not all ideas come fully formed, and some may have more weight than others. There is a process to refining, developing and identifying the ideas with the most potential. By keeping on top of your backlog and using key metrics such as impact and effort, as well as speccing out the idea with a business case and figuring out ‘what problem you are trying to solve’ – your ideas will take form in no time.

So how do YOU promote innovation?

As a side experiment to this blog post, I decided to ask the Twitter community how they promoted innovation. Here are some awesome thoughtful answers from some super smart people!


Todd Motto – Director of Front-End Engineering @letsmozio

 

 Chris Massey – Community architect & generalist @redgate

 

 Thibault Lemaitre – Host of the @DigiDigest podcast

 

Ivor Macfarlane – Freelance trainer/consultant and author

 

 Dominik Gehl – Engineer @ReturnPath
Jason Lunsford – Web App Developer & UX Devotee slinging JS, CSS, HTML
 Sarah Chambers – Growth @Kayako

How are you promoting innovation in your industry? Join the discussion on Twitter or let us know in the comments. And if you haven’t signed up already, start a free trial of ProdPad to use our outstanding collaboration tools!

Andrea is a Product Support and Management expert, technical writer, and social network monkey. An undercover geek with a passion for music, animals, and avid unicorn rights activist, she's always up for a challenge.

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