Penta Fintech Meetup: From Idea to Product

Alina September 2020 6 min

Well, have you ever had a crazy business idea or perhaps another company has successfully implemented exactly the idea you had a few years ago? To transform an initial business idea into a real product can sometimes be a bit bumpy and seems incredibly complex at first glance. How to start? Fortunately, we have some experts who know how to do it.

We invited experienced speakers to our virtual Penta Fintech Meetup on 27th August 2020 to discuss how to turn a business idea into a real product. Penta’s Co-founder and CCO Jessica Holzbach hosted the meetup and warmly welcomed our guests of the panel discussion virtually:

  • Rohan Garg – Managing Director & VP Product at Kununu Engage
    Rohan is the Managing Director of Kununu, a employer rating platform and a leader in providing workplace insights. Previously, Rohan took up multiple tech and product roles across various internet companies.
  • Itai Aaronsohn – VP of Product Management at Aklamio
    Over the past 12 years Itai has been involved in the internet & mobile industries and took part in startups and products from day one, when an idea was first born to successfully monetising products reaching millions of daily users.
  • Georgie Smallwood – Chief Product Officer at N26
    Georgie is in charge of defining, leading and implementing N26 global product strategy. She joined N26 in 2018, and brought with her over 15 years of experience in global digital and software companies.
  • Tim Kaltofen – VP Innovation at Element Insurance AG
    Digital native, economist with love for business development. Focused on bringing insurance to the next stage as an experienced entrepreneur.
  • Caroline Bell – COO at FinMarie
    Caroline has been part of FinMarie as a Co-founder since mid-2019. After working for many years for a global tax consultancy she founded her own firm in Australia in 2006 as one of the fastest-growing financial advisory companies in Australia.

You can watch the whole panel discussion again here. Are you short of time? No problem, then take a look at our key learnings and the identified five major steps in the development of a product below.

1. It’s All about Problem Solving

Even if the development of a product sounds very rational at first, it quickly becomes clear that it is all about feelings, emotions, empathy and mindset. The idea for successful products often arises when looking for a solution to a problem. An understanding of people is particularly important in identifying and understanding problems. These problems can relate to users, the economy, the business world or even private concerns. For the development of a successful product, it isn’t necessarily enormous experience that is important, but the ability to apply the framework for problem solving in everyday life to business solutions. An open mind and empathy for customers, users and stakeholders are requirements.

2. Consider as Many Perspectives as You Possible

At the beginning it is recommendable to find out whether the idea of your product, as you have it in mind, is relevant for a possible target groups. Will they really care about the product? As a product manager, you must determine where the customer is to be taken. Often customers don’t know exactly what they want. Because they also don’t know what to expect in detail when it comes to a new and innovative product. You have to figure out the real problem, not the problem that users think they have. It is particularly important to analyze many perspectives in detail. Afterwards make sure that your customers have an emotional connection to the product – this is why empathy plays such an important role in investigating customer problems and finding solutions.

3. Break the Framework into the Smallest Possible Chunks

For many entrepreneurs, but also for the product teams of a company, the actual start of the implementation of the idea is difficult, even if many resources are already available. Georgie therefore advised to break the framework into the smallest possible different chunks. “Just start and take the first step.” Caroline recommended an implementation plan to identify exactly these chunks. But it’s important to remain flexible while working on the first subtasks so that the implementation plan can still be adapted. “The place where you start isn’t gonna be the place where you end up – adapt on the way!”

4. Deal with the Constraints to Make Decisions on Proirization

“It’s easy to run in different directions and get lost” Itai mentioned. So that’s why you should set up a solid strategy and keep track. In product management and project management in general, the three dimensions of quality, time and cost scope must always be considered. The determination of the capacities and possible constraints can help you to prioritize. But you should never lose sight of the strategy basis. Tim recommends you not to plan more than 12 months into the future for new products and solutions, as it may not yet be possible to predict what the situation will be like in a few years and what the problems will be that need to be solved.

5. Find the Best Technical Solution to Solve the Problem

Once the ambitions, strategies, resources and constraints have been identified, the functionalities of the product can be developed based on the skills. This should be done by putting the product back into small chunks, which should follow the initial strategic basis at all times. A product solves problems by offering solutions and functionalities. To develop these functionalities for the product, technology is required. The right technical option must be found to develop a functional product. But the technological outcome is just the basis, because it must be highly functional. In addition, an engaging experience is extremely important, which means not only the interface and design, but also verbal communication. Personal contact with customers should also create an emotional connection to the product. For the internal cooperation in a company, this means that the product, sales, marketing and technology departments must work closely together. Communication in an open corporate culture is just as important for successful products as ongoing communication with peer groups, customers and business partners.

We wish you much success in turning your new idea into a successful product.

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