Video: Jon Kolko – Where Do Great New Products Come From?

BY Martin Eriksson ON JULY 10, 2015

Do great new products come from vision, process or hard work? In this awesome talk from Mind the Product San Francisco 2015, Jon Kolko, Founder and Director of Austin Center for Design, VP of Product at Blackboard and author of Well-Designed: How to Use Empathy to Create Products People Love, discusses how a new product comes to be from the process of establishing a vision. Yet vision alone isn’t enough – everyone in an organisation needs to understand the product vision there and needs to be consensus and alignment at play behind it. This three-stage process cycle is completed by the shipping of the product – with the product sitting at the centre of the cycle.

Jon asserts that there are two fundamental qualities that make up a product – product/market fit, and behavioural insight. He discusses how to break these down, and the strategies employed by companies such as Uber, Google and Levi’s to make products successful.

In this talk Jon also considers how issues of value and identity figure in the products we use, and the challenge designers face in embedding these very personal factors. Drawing from discussions with senior product leaders, Jon introduces a checklist of the characteristics required of a successful product manager – do you tick all these boxes? – and deconstructs the product manager’s role in the process of establishing a vision, building consensus and shipping a product.

Martin Eriksson


Martin Eriksson

Martin Eriksson has 20+ years experience building world-class online products in both corporate and start-up environments for global brands such as Monster, Financial Times, Huddle, and Covestor. He is the Founder of ProductTank, the Co-Founder and Curator of Mind the Product, and an Executive in Residence at leading private equity and venture capital fund EQT. He is also the author of best-seller Product Leadership, How Top Product Leaders Launch Great Products and Build Successful Teams (O'Reilly, 2017).