Saturday, August 17, 2019

The Rt Hon Chief Product Officer

If you were planning to build a successful product called Brexit where would you start?
Well - you could, like the least successful product makers, sit around a table and work from a set of assumptions about what you think the British people are likely to buy.
You might even run a 'what do you like' survey. You would then invest the farm (or in this case, the country) on what you assume IS 'what they want'. And then spend, spend, spend on advertising to convince people that the thing you now 'have evidence that they want', is what they should invest their hard-earned in.
This is the way of the 95% of product innovation that fails.
The trouble with this approach is that even if the con(vincing) job works, and the customer does indeed buy, that customer ends up with something that doesn't fit their needs or answer the pain-points in their lives. They won't find it of value - they won't recommend it and they won't buy it again.
No, if you want to build a successful product called Brexit you must start with understanding the core needs of those you are making it for.
What are the core needs of the citizens of the UK? There may be some complex emotional ones (known as Esteem needs in Maslow's hierarchy) about fear of change, loss of status etc. But there are some tangible and more basic ones too: Security; Food; Clothes; Shelter.
And right at the top of the hierarchy is all the 'self-actualisation' stuff about being able to achieve one's full potential.
When those needs are understood - then is the time to move to developing concepts that could be best shaped to meet those needs, to solve their pain.
And in a series of iterations in which you shape the direction of that concept, always validating that it is meeting the needs of those for whom it is intended, always testing they understand and get value from what it is you are shaping, you may move to low-through-high-resolution prototypes until eventually you are in a position to launch something you can be pretty sure meets the actual needs of the people it is meant for.
I have yet to see a version of Brexit that serves more than a very narrow band of the nation's needs. You may see it differently.
We don't need (yet) another PR Guru in No10 to con(vince) us of what we want. At this point we need a very capable Chief Product Officer to respond to what we need.

The rate of change is so rapid it's difficult for one person to keep up to speed. Let's pool our thoughts, share our reactions and, who knows, even reach some shared conclusions worth arriving at?