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What methods or frameworks do you use to generate and evaluate new product ideas?

2 Answers
Orit Golowinski
Orit Golowinski
Jit.io VP of Product ManagementAugust 1

At GitLab, we adopted a systematic framework called the 'Opportunity Canvas' to generate and evaluate new product ideas. For the Opportunity Canvas, we engaged in customer interviews to validate the problem. Through these interviews, we sought to understand customer pain points, identify target personas, and explore any workarounds they were using. Additionally, we conducted thorough research, examining market trends and competitors to ensure business justification for the proposed solution. Understanding the potential business impact, such as increasing user numbers or enhancing stickiness, was a critical aspect of this validation process.

The solution validation part of the Opportunity Canvas was equally valuable. We carefully defined the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) and made decisions about what features would be included or excluded in the initial offering. Defining our differentiation, setting success metrics, and crafting a clear go-to-market messaging strategy were essential components in our decision-making process.

The Opportunity Canvas framework proved effective, but it could be time-consuming due to the customer interviews and detailed research involved. In some cases, when time was limited, we introduced an 'Opportunity Canvas lite' version. This streamlined approach was asynchronous and allowed us to move quickly when the problem was clear and didn't require extensive research. Despite the reduced complexity, we still ensured that the proposed solution aligned with customer needs and market trends.

In my current role, as VP product at a startup company, we continue to prioritize involving customers in any framework we use to generate and evaluate new product ideas. Working closely with our design partners when developing new functionalities has proven to be invaluable. Their input and collaboration play a significant role in shaping the final solution, ensuring it aligns perfectly with our users' needs and expectations.

By placing customers at the heart of any framework and embracing a collaborative and iterative approach, we've been able to consistently generate and evaluate breakthrough product ideas that resonate with our customers and drive impactful innovations.

967 Views
Rupali Jain
Rupali Jain
Optimizely Chief Product OfficerDecember 6

To generate new product ideas, get a cross functional mix of folks who know their stuff about your business and customers. Then, dive in to a brainstorm using Jobs-to-Be-Done or Design Thinking—these methods are top-notch for brainstorming. There are different flavors to this, but I'm not prescriptive on how exactly to run the brainstorm, as most approaches I’ve seen in the product world tend to result in similar outcomes.

Now, when it comes to picking winners, I’ve got a clear framework

Opportunity: Check out the TAM (that's total addressable market) and what customers really want and have asked you for i.e. customer demand signal.

Ability to Execute: This is our secret sauce. What makes us stand out? Our assets, tech skills—our special edge. Think talent, tech, and how close we are to our existing users. Its always easier to sell new product to existing users than creating a new product and finding new users for it.

Even if both Opportunity and Ability look promising, ask the big question: "Why now?" making sure that you are making the best use of your available resources to take advantage of opportunities ahead of you. And don't forget you can go organic (build in house) or inorganic (acquisition) to address the opportunity.

445 Views
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