Innovation Games® at Work: Pruning the Product Tree at Oracle

Pruning the Product Tree at Oracle

Getting product feedback through traditional methods such as surveys, focus groups and Q&A sessions with PowerPoint slides is often an imperfect exercise. As Josh Lannin, senior product manager of collaboration technology at Oracle, puts it, “Oftentimes these conversations aren’t very productive, with limited input from only a few participants. Typically, we walk away having simply reinforced our existing projections about our opportunities.”

In this recent blog post, Josh outlines how he used Prune the Product Tree (PTPT) at an internal product feedback conference to tap the creativity and wisdom of the 25 technical sales consultants. Here are some of his insights on how they used PTPT to add product capabilities and identify sales needs.

Why Prune the Product Tree?

“My goal was to take advantage of the face time to get people[to] think about the future, work collaboratively and have fun – harnessing the proverbial ‘wisdom of the crowd’. While it was new to me, and felt a bit risky, Prune the Product Tree was a great exercise and had a number of benefits for the group which I didn’t expect beforehand.

Discomfort = creative spark

“One team member wanted more instruction: To paraphrase ‘I’m a right-brained engineering guy and I need focused direction on what we are doing’. I took this [discomfort] as a positive sign that I was asking people to step outside their comfort zone and creating some cognitive dissonance to help with the creative process.”

Unexpected results

“Watching the teams work, I could see that one unexpected and positive result was not just the development of new ideas but also the knowledge transfer happening around the product features I had put into the starter trees. I could see people explaining to others what the new features of our next release were for, or how they had used features of the existing product with customers to solve problems. So the exercise wasn’t just providing the product management team feedback, it was simultaneously helping to build relationships between the various subject matter experts participating.”

Click here to read Josh’s complete post.

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