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Key Insights into Building Vision Driven Products | Radhika Dutt, Author of Radical Product Thinking

In this episode of Product Unfiltered, we sit down with Radhika Dutt, Author of Radical Product Thinking to discuss radical product thinking framework which has helped many companies across the globe.

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Summary: Product Unfiltered: A Discussion with Radhika Dutt, Author of Radical Product Thinking.


Radhika Dutt is the author of Radical Product Thinking: The New Mindset for Innovating Smarter which has been translated into several languages including Chinese and Japanese. She is an entrepreneur and product leader who has participated in five acquisitions, two of which were companies that she founded. She advises organizations from high-tech startups to government agencies on building radical products that create a fundamental change. She is currently Advisor on Product Thinking to the Monetary Authority of Singapore, and serves on the board of the independent publisher, Berrett Koehler. Radhika has built products in a wide range of industries including broadcast, media and entertainment, telecom, advertising technology, government, consumer apps, robotics, and even wine. She graduated from MIT with an SB and M.Eng in Electrical Engineering, and speaks nine languages.


Radhika discusses her experience with the "hero syndrome" that many startups face. This syndrome causes startups to measure their success based on how much funding they have raised instead of focusing on the problem they set out to solve. Radhika realized that her company, Lobby Seven, had run into hero syndrome, leading her to co-create the radical product thinking framework with two other ex-colleagues. Here are some key takeaways from the podcast discussion:


Vision and Strategy are Key:

Radhika argues that having a clear vision and strategy is essential to building successful products instead of randomly iterating and trying things out. The radical product thinking framework starts with a detailed problem statement and a solution statement, which helps in creating a radical vision. The next step is to have a detailed strategy that is actionable and intentional, leading to the development of truly personalized products.


RDCL Strategy for Developing a Product:

To launch a successful product, Radhika emphasizes the importance of identifying the pain point that motivates users to seek out the product and then creating a solution that addresses that problem. She recommends using the RDCL strategy, which stands for Real Pain points, Design, Capabilities, and Logistics, to develop a vision and strategy for the product. The speaker stresses the crucial step of prioritizing decisions based on the vision and strategy.


Pivoting and Prioritization:

Radhika discusses the importance of pivoting in product development and shares an example of how a company in the shipping industry underwent a hypothesis-driven approach to pivot their strategy based on user research and testing. She emphasizes the need for companies to prioritize and communicate changes in their vision frequently, as they learn more through discovery. Additionally, she notes the importance of reframing the way we think about prioritization in organizations, moving from a myopic approach of dictating priorities to a more collaborative approach that empowers teams to make decisions.


Balancing Vision and Iteration:

The speaker emphasizes the challenge of balancing a vision-driven approach versus an iterative development process and emphasizes the need for clear communication and transparency in the face of pivoting or changing the vision.


Prioritisation:

Radhika advocates for a radical approach to prioritization that involves defining long-term and short-term goals explicitly and placing them on an X and Y axis. The quadrant that aligns with both is ideal, while investing in the vision and avoiding vision debt is necessary. Taking on too much vision debt is detrimental to the company's vision, and investing only in the short-term is a danger.


Impact on society:

Radhika discusses the importance of being thoughtful and deliberate about the impact of products on society. She encourages product managers to think about their vision and whether their products align with creating a world that works for all.


Psychological safety:

Radhika emphasizes the importance of creating psychological safety within a team to foster innovation and encourage team members to take ownership. She stresses that psychological safety allows teams to feel empowered to contribute to the organization's vision and strategy.


Radhika Dutt's radical product thinking framework emphasizes the importance of having a clear vision and strategy in building successful products. She encourages product managers and entrepreneurs to prioritize decisions based on the vision and strategy, communicate changes in their vision frequently, and create a world that works for all. Creating psychological safety within a team is essential to foster innovation and encourage team members to take ownership.

 







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