Product Storytelling : Are you the CEO of Spaghetti Pte Ltd ?

Recently I asked a Product Manager of a Telecommunications Organisation ” What about your job is most frustrating”?

His answer, ” Taking a new product to market because we always go to market under resourced. The argument we face from other teams is, There is no guarantee that this product would succeed and we are not willing to put resources towards it. Its a risk”.

With this mindset the product has failed even before its gone to market.

Tom Wujec’s 7 min TED Talk on Marshmallow Challenge reveals some interesting facts about this type of a mindset

Lets try and understand more about the destructive nature of this mindset starting with What is a Marshmallow Challenge?

Several years ago, Peter Skillman introduced a design challenge called the marshmallow challenge in which in eighteen minutes, teams must build the tallest free-standing structure out of 20 sticks of spaghetti, one yard of tape, one yard of string, and one marshmallow. The marshmallow needs to be on top.

Interestingly, the team’s who do worst at it are Business School Graduates and the teams who do really well  at it are Kindergarten Graduates.

Product Storytelling

So the question you want to ask is: How come? Why? What is it about them?

Because none of the kids spend any time trying to be CEO of Spaghetti, Pte Ltd. Right? They don’t spend time jockeying for power.

But there’s another reason as well. And the reason is that business students are trained to find the single right plan, right? And then they execute on it. They spend time and effort trying to find the perfect plan but it takes too much time. Then, they realise there is no time left. So,they go with what they know and it fails.

What kindergarteners do differently is that they build prototypes, successive prototypes, always keeping the marshmallow on top, so they have multiple times to fix when they build prototypes along the way. And with each version, kids get instant feedback about what works and what doesn’t work.

The lesson to learn here is that building Product Prototype and giving it its birth right to explore the market is the only way to succeed and to look for 100% guaranteed success plan is a failure even before you start.

You Product Storytelling’s success is very dependent on the lessons you learn from the Product Prototype.

Photo Credit : Flickr by Erth

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