What exercises help you to define a product vision statement?
I like to think of it as a set of "converge and diverge" thinking exercises. Usually, I like to start with a blank page and write down my hypothesis. Something that I've observed in talking with customers, or a gap that I'm seeing emerge as I study the market and opportunities, etc. Then I like to bring a small cross-functional team together (think product, research, design, marketing, etc.) to talk about the hypothesis and see if it resonates. Ideally, you want research to take lead and further validate the opportunity and answer the unknowns. And you lead workshops and brainstorming sessions with this cross-functional team to keep fine-tuning the vision. There will be times when you want to welcome all ideas (especially the craziest ones) as you are in diverge mode. And at times you want to start eliminating stuff and focus when you are in the converge mode. Having the team build on the initial hypothesis doc and make it their own is key. This is a highly collaborative exercise. A lot of it can happen offline too as folks key in edits and comments on a Word doc or PowerPoint for example. But I love getting together in a shared space and whiteboard stuff. Nothing can substitute that part of the process. Along the way, you can use a bunch of frameworks or visual tools to come up with the vision statement. V2MOM (originally from Salesforce), the Product Vision Board (UC Berkeley), and the Product Strategy Canvas (Kellog) are all great tools that I often go to.
Interviews with prospects, interviews with analysts, industry reports, industry conference talks, prototyping, experimentation, and whitepapers. All of these resources help provide context on the landscape and help inform what will be the most useful in context to the existing market and challenges. To be more reactive, experimentation enables fast feedback loops on solutions, while prototyping allows for minimized risk of a negative reaction from the end user. I try to have a well-rounded approach with many sensing mechanisms to shape the vision.
Something that has helped me in the past is to work with my team to come up with ideas for the vision statement. Write down everything that matters to your product/products and then distill the ideas that really matter.
It also helps to tie it back to your product and organizational goals to ensure its relevant and the right vision for your product.