How would you design a Product X? It seems a very simple yet a very complicated question. Having asked that question either you might feel blank with no ideas or there is such a heavy flow of ideas like the Hoover Dam just broke in your head. Unfortunately, it is not great to be in any of these positions. In my opinion and experience, it is almost impossible to structurally think about this challenging question in real-life projects without a guiding framework of thought.
Of-course a lot of quality analysis comes with experience and formally learning about product design/management and there is no substitute for that.
Thankfully I have had the wonderful opportunity to do a both of the above in my career. Having had some experience, success, failure, lessons learnt, readings I could organize this whirlpool of ideas in a comprehensive 8-part framework. There are many product design frameworks out there recommended by many gurus of product management. Of-course my ideas are totally inspired from the much available product management guidelines out there. It would be incorrect to say that one is right or the other is wrong, or one is better over the other. Rather a better way to think about is – Which one fits my context ? The objective of this blog is to provide a comprehensive 8-Part framework that helps you think and analyze product development. It helps to ask the What, Why and How questions to ensure that your ideas are directed toward building the“right” product. It is extremely important to avoid jumping to the solution space instantly but rather discovering the problem space in detail first in-order to build the “right” product. The 8-Part Framework is described below:
Introspection -> Inspection -> Understanding via Disconnection (Discover Creativity, Discover yourself)
What is Disconnection? In my opinion, disconnection is a tool to look at identities, ideas, perceptions, emotions, and circumstances objectively. It is the art of ceasing to flow like a lifeless log of wood on the river – unattached to it roots or purpose; trapped in the flow of subjective meaning imparted from impressions of assumed meaning of the world. The trick is to figure out that – It is NOT a question of right or wrong; it is a question of transcendence. I had this fleeting thought for a very long time, both from the philosophical aspect and from the aspect of discovering meaning such as to fit myself in the piece of this puzzle.
It is only recently that I could ask the right question when I read the book – The Moment of Clarity. I learnt a great deal and the words go something like this: “Our understanding of the world is based entirely on context, we can only ever truly understand our tools— our mobile phones, our coffee, our cars— when these objects break down. We can only understand what it means to be online when, suddenly, we are unable to get online. Our phones only make sense to us when someone takes them away. A line for a coffee cart outside our office only becomes clear to us when we are from a culture that does not stand in line for coffee. Things withdrawn from our understanding, from our mere consideration, come to the fore when they are disconnected from their chains of meaning. Only through this disconnection do we gain true understanding about our worlds.”
Isn’t that so true? – I asked myself. I thought about great products shipped from companies like Apple and Google and their key underlying ability to continue to do this. How could Google know Search was so important that it would become an inevitable part of our day-to-day live? How could Steve Jobs possibly know what he knew about the users needs? Is it just a natural order of nature or is it conscious intelligence to change for the better? I think it is the latter; Mother Nature just provides the playground and lessons for those who disconnect to listen. And then the answer came to me like it had been hiding in plain sight. The idea is to attach to the context but also disconnect in-order to break away from the shackles of what we define as established and impossible to truly discover – the new.
Give it a minute to digest and have a creative and productive day.