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Mind Your Product Language

Mind Your Product Language

Language matters, because "words create worlds," as Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel said.

The past few years have shown just how much everything we create is connected to everything else in complex ecosystems of interactions. Yet, if we fail to tackle complexity with complex thinking, we’re doomed to oversimplify problems and develop over-simplistic solutions that fail. This explains the mindset of designing for complex ecosystems and why it is essential to design for detail, the big picture, and human behaviour simultaneously. It argues that product people must mind their product language. It can easily create mental models that lure organisations back to familiar modes of industrial thinking and management. If the mental model is an assembly line, teams work in disconnected silos. When products and services are created in silos, customers experience them in bits.

In this talk, I suggest a different metaphor of gardens – ecosystems in which each part affects the whole and are never "done" or "shipped".

The talk was given at Mind The Product Engage Hamburg 2022: https://www.mindtheproduct.com/mtpengage/hamburg/schedule/?day_id=37

#mindtheproduct #mtp #prodcuct #servicedesign #andypolaine

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Andy Polaine

June 16, 2022
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  1. Mind your product language Mind the Product, Hamburg 2022 ©2020

    Andrew Polaine Andy Polaine, PhD @apolaine polaine.com
  2. ©2020 Andrew Polaine 01. Semantics

  3. ©2020 Andrew Polaine “Well, if you want to talk semantics…”

  4. “Words create worlds” – Abraham Joshua Heschel ©2020 Andrew Polaine

    Prisoner of War Asylum Seeker Activist Invasion Enemy Combatant Illegal Immigrant Terrorist Special Operation Semantics matter
  5. ©2020 Andrew Polaine 02. Industrial thinking

  6. Ford assembly line at rest during a strike, September 1945

    Source: Life magazine archive ©2020 Andrew Polaine Industrial mindset: Fixed products, departmental silos, top-down, command & control management.
  7. ©2020 Andrew Polaine These are not products

  8. ©2020 Andrew Polaine "Services created in silos are experienced in

    bits” – Løvlie, Polaine, Reason, Service Design
  9. ©2020 Andrew Polaine “Many companies are confused by the word

    product. You say product and people think of an app, a feature, or an interface. Products are vehicles for value.” — Melissa Perri, The Build Trap
  10. ©2020 Andrew Polaine Image: Ethan Weil on Unsplash Shift the

    focus from designing for users and things to designing for people’s activities in a broader context
  11. ©2020 Andrew Polaine 03. Ecosystem thinking

  12. ©2020 Andrew Polaine Product service ecosystems are exponentially nested layers

    of complexity Single touchpoint “product” Source: Polaine (2016), Design to the Power of Ten
  13. ©2020 Andrew Polaine Product service ecosystems are exponentially nested layers

    of complexity Multi-touchpoint & channel service Single touchpoint “product” Source: Polaine (2016), Design to the Power of Ten
  14. ©2020 Andrew Polaine Product service ecosystems are exponentially nested layers

    of complexity Business ecosystems Multi-touchpoint & channel service Single touchpoint “product” Source: Polaine (2016), Design to the Power of Ten
  15. ©2020 Andrew Polaine Product service ecosystems are exponentially nested layers

    of complexity Political, economic, social, technological, environmental, legal ecosystems Business ecosystems Multi-touchpoint & channel service Single touchpoint “product” Source: Polaine (2016), Design to the Power of Ten
  16. ©2020 Andrew Polaine Photo by hello-i-m-nik on Unsplash

  17. ©2020 Andrew Polaine Image source & ©: https://www.theatlantic.com/photo/2018/03/bike-share-oversupply-in-china-huge-piles-of-abandoned-and-broken-bicycles/556268/

  18. ©2020 Andrew Polaine These are not the flowers you think

    they are Image source & ©: https://www.theatlantic.com/photo/2018/03/bike-share-oversupply-in-china-huge-piles-of-abandoned-and-broken-bicycles/556268/
  19. ©2020 Andrew Polaine These are discarded bikeshare bikes – the

    physical consequences of “digital” disruption Image source & ©: https://www.wired.com/story/photo-of-the-week-a-dizzying-view-of-a-bicycle-graveyard-in-china/
  20. ©2020 Andrew Polaine VC funded Product lens Scale No feedback

    loop Photo by Lucian Alexe on Unsplash
  21. ©2020 Andrew Polaine 05. A different metaphor

  22. ©2020 Andrew Polaine “My sense is that Slack’s teams think

    of themselves as adding ‘features’ to a ‘product,’ instead of as stewards of a place where people work.” – Jorge Arango, Not Just a New Feature; a New Compact
  23. ©2020 Andrew Polaine Image: Durkc - Wikimedia

  24. Gardens require long-term thinking. ©2020 Andrew Polaine Image: Durkc -

    Wikimedia
  25. Gardens require long-term thinking. Nobody says “we shipped the garden.”

    ©2020 Andrew Polaine Image: Durkc - Wikimedia
  26. When you work on features, make sure you connect to

    the rest of the garden. ©2020 Andrew Polaine Image: Anna Shvets on Pexels
  27. Danke! ©2020 Andrew Polaine Andy Polaine – Service Design &

    Innovation Training and Coaching andy@polaine.com Twitter: @apolaine Newsletter: https://pln.me/nws Podcast: https://pln.me/p10 Slides: pln.me/mtp22