Listen to the Interview for Product Managers and Innovators
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This is your home for making your move from product manager to Product Master so you can BEAT the competition. There are four levels, which spell BEAT, toward product mastery — Build your base, Earn professional certification, Apply deep dives, and Transform the organization. The fourth level — transform the organization — is the topic of this episode. At this level, product managers go from building better products to building a better organization. This is a role product managers are uniquely equipped for and are the best resource for organizations that truly want to improve.
Someone who has helped several organizations be better, specifically those in health care, is Dr. Gene Beyt. Gene is a medical doctor who now works with organizations as a healthcare designer, educator, artist, and creative director. He has a simple mission — to put human needs and well-being at the center of all that we do.
Summary of some concepts discussed
- [3:34:] How are product managers uniquely equipped to transform the organization? The position of a product manager provides three advantages. (1) Product managers are system thinkers who have a holistic view of the organization. (2) They have a strong sense of the culture of the organization, understanding the expected norms and routines. (3) They have gained relationships over time that span the organization, which enable them to navigate politics and have a powerful perspective.
- [7:18] What is a positive business? Much of the research in this area has come out of the University of Michigan. It’s a fundamental idea that an organization that is human-centered and customer-outcome focused and chooses affirmative business practices will have greater beneficial impacts to employees and customers. It is a business based on positivity. Such organizations typically have a general good as its aim, with a positive impact on the community and the environment while pursuing profit. The research of such businesses indicates that the outcomes of performance and profitability usually exceed expectations. The bigger picture is to help humans thrive and flourish, and in the process, such businesses achieve higher performance. There is a current movement to create “B-Corps” which is a public business entity that has the charter to do good first while maximizing profit.
- [13:44] How do you apply Design Thinking for organizational improvement? In a traditional organization where there is a fair amount of control, the common path to improvement is through reducing variation. Plan-Do-Check-Act cycles and Lean tools are used to reduce waste, improve profitability, and hopefully improve customer satisfaction along the way. From the perspective of the healthcare industry, there are four areas to consider. Real improvement cannot be achieved without re-designing these areas. They are (1) the patient experience, (2) patient outcomes, (3) cost, and (4) the workforce that tends to be burned out and disengaged. What Design Thinking does is turn around the normal problem-solving process. Instead of first focusing on a solution, you start by gaining an empathetic understanding of those affected – the customers (patients) and the employees (care providers). When employees are taught Design Thinking and they use it to solve problems, you see real change in the culture and improvements across the four areas.
- [24:15] What is Positive Change Leadership? Positive Change Leadership is used concurrently with Design Thinking. Fundamental to the definition is the understanding that at one time or another everyone in the organization is leading other people and everyone is a follower. The idea is that leaders are making a change towards a positive business. My work in this area began by asking what a wise leader is. Wisdom has a specific definition and it uses a cycle that aligns with Design Thinking. It begins with a perception of others, then there is reflection of what that means, and that leads to compassion. This is the ability to walk in another’s shoes and to then look for opportunities to thrive and prosper.
- Gene’s website, Positive Human-Centered Healthcare: Different by Design
- Fundamentals of Design Thinking — episode 019
“Science is humankind’s greatest accomplishment, and compassion its greatest virtue.” — Michael Beyt, Gene’s oldest son
Thank you for being an Everyday Innovator and learning with me from the successes and failures of product innovators, managers, and developers. If you enjoyed the discussion, help out a fellow product manager by sharing it using the social media buttons you see below.