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Sriram Iyer
GM / Head of Products and Partnerships, Adobe DVA, Adobe | Formerly Salesforce, DeloitteMay 4

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.