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The importance of an organizational game plan for product managers
I started a new series to explore the Product Development and Management Body of Knowledge. While it has since been updated many times, this is the body of knowledge I discovered in 2007 that led to many ah-ha moments for me as a product manager. It gave me a framework for integrating what a product manager does, and I have since taught it to many other product managers.
Every-other-week we are exploring one of the 7 knowledge areas. Today we are discussing strategy. This is the foundation for product managers as organizational strategy impacts product strategy. By aligning the two, we create more value for the organization and accelerate our careers in the process.
Our guest is Dr. Allan Anderson, past chairman of PDMA and the person who led the development of the first and second editions of the Body of Knowledge. He has had a long career in product management, primarily in food products, and is professor emeritus at Massey University New Zealand. He also joined us two weeks ago, providing an overview of the entire Body of Knowledge. Today, we focus on strategy.
Summary of some concepts discussed for product managers
[2:28] What is strategy?
- Strategy is an organization’s game plan for achieving its long term objectives in light of its industry position, opportunities, and resources.
- Strategy defines and communicates an organization’s unique position and says how organizational resources, skills, and competencies should be combined to achieve competitive advantage.
- Strategy positions the company in a way that it can use its resources and competitive advantage to achieve its specific goals as defined by the company.
[14:16] What is organizational identity?
Organizational identity is a statement of what the organization stands for and why it exists. It’s important to communicate this identity to the whole company. Organizational identity is a key element in creating the environment and underpinning, long-term culture of a company. You must develop organizational identity from a personal perspective within your company. Don’t just copy a vision statement from someone else; make it real for your company and the people involved in your company.
[19:33] What is innovation strategy?
Innovation strategy is embedded in overall business strategy. Innovation strategy is achieving the goals of the company using your resources to achieve competitive advantage, focused around product innovation.
[20:46] What are some innovation strategy frameworks?
- Porter framework
- Miles & Snow
- Landscape model
- Business canvas
None of these frameworks does the job on its own, so you can use them in combination. Innovation strategy provides the basis for selecting the right portfolio.
[24:37] What is Open Innovation, and why do you include it in the Strategy section of the Body of Knowledge (BoK)?
The definition from the book—Open Innovation is the strategy adopted by an organization whereby it actively seeks knowledge from external sources through alliances, partnerships, and contractual arrangements to complement and enhance its internal capability in pursuit of improved innovation outcomes. In other words, seeking knowledge outside the walls of the organization to meet the business goals. In my opinion, Open Innovation is a strategy because it’s something an organization employs to achieve its goals.
[27:16] What is Sustainability, and how is it addressed in the Strategy section?
Sustainability means doing innovation that is profitable and environmentally responsible and takes care of employees and the community. The first edition of the BoK covered Sustainability under lifecycle management. In the second edition, we decided to distribute Sustainability topics across the book. Sustainability is part of strategy because it should be part of your mission and vision, but we also cover Sustainability in other sections. We’re highlighting the importance of Sustainability by showing that it’s part of the innovation process all the way from strategy to delivering products.
Action Guide: Put the information Allan shared into action now. Click here to download the Action Guide.
“Product innovation is the lifeblood of companies.” – Unknown
“We haven’t got the money, so we’ve got to think.” – Lord Ernest Rutherford
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.