So I got a golden ticket to P&G's digital hack night -- a P&G party to bring together social media experts, P&G digital minds, and experienced interactive marketers to share ideas. The event is to test the strength of digital media to try to generate $100,000 for charity.
In response to the last couple of posts about invention and innovation, Jennifer says:
While this is an interesting thread to read, and can definitely cause many long hours of debate sitting in front of the fire with our pipes et al, it seems that it might be missing the mark with product management.
Yep, I agree. Which leads me to the next point I wanted to make in this series:
Inventors in development need innovators in product management.
While the two groups often don't get along very well (product managers are naysayers, development is just doing its own thing, etc.), the partnership between them is essential. Someone with a cool idea and enormous technical skill is usually the first person in a new product group, or a new startup company. However, that inventor can benefit immediately from someone who's a professional reality checker and opportunity finder--a product manager.
Last Wednesday, the part of Forrester that runs the Leadership Boards sponsored a dinner in the Boston area for product managers and product marketers. (This was part of the regular activity for the new Technology Product Management Council.) And wow, was that a good conversation.
The good news is, the research agenda is on the right track. From social media to product requirements, from the PM job description to general best practices for PM, from Agile in the tech industry to how people become thought leaders, we seem to be picking the right topics.
The bad news is, I have a lot of research to do. But that's only bad news as long as I'm not doing it.
However, that wasn't the best part of the dinner, which was when we Forresterites shut our big yaps. The product managers and product marketers had a lot to talk about themselves, comparing experiences in profession that doesn't give many opportunities to talk across organizations. Fostering and participating these missing conversations was one of the reasons I wanted to join Forrester in the first place.
Except that despite being poor and having many of his inventions unrealized, a hundred years later we're still using Tesla's work rather heavily. This says something about his pure success as an inventor, with or without massive market capitalization.
...And I agree. Yes, our electrical distribution mechanisms use Tesla's AC, not Edison's DC. Yes, Tesla's coils became a component of other inventions, such as radio transmitters and medical devices. And yes, arguably, Tesla is a vastly underappreciated inventor.
It's not clear when it happened, but at some point in the history of the technology industry, people lost the distinction between invention and innovation. While insisting on the difference between the two words may seem like a minor semantic difference, it's as fundamental as distinguishing between speed and velocity as the same thing. In fact, mixing up invention and innovation is potentially as dangerous as confusing chemicals and medicines, if you prescribe one when you really need the other.
Tesla, Shmesla Both Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison were inventors. However, Edison was the better innovator. Fannish biographies of Tesla that complain about history's indifference to Tesla's genius are missing the point. Even if everything Tesla had invented exceeded Edison's in brilliance, Edison was much better at getting his inventions developed, sold, and distributed. (Throw in Tesla's unproven inventions, like the death ray and ion-powered aircraft, too, if you want.)
The management here at Forrester prods us analysts regularly to keep our research agenda in line with our clients'. In that spirit, I've been on a personal campaign to hear, as directly as possible, what questions you'd like answered. You might not know what's already on our list, so it's also an opportunity to get a sneak peek at upcoming projects.
I've been contacting people who downloaded my research, as well as visiting clients in person. (Which is one reason I'm going to be in the Boston area this week.) I had a dope-slap moment this morning when I realized, duh, I should be asking through the blog, too.
So, whether you're a Forrester client or not, let me know what kind of research for product managers and product marketers you'd like to see. If you're in the Bay Area, I'd be glad to visit you in person. If not, let's talk on the phone.
It seems like every CIO I talk with has or is creating a plan to reduce costs. Whether they’re shooting for a svelte, wiry, emaciated or lean organization, there are a number of common roles that senior IT people say are critical to this goal.