Product Strategy: How to Make Human Human Again

Google the phrase, ‘AI and Robots are going to take our jobs’ and you get an idea of the incredible amount of focus and buzz surrounding this topic. Folks are worried that in a world of fast-moving technology, all the smart bots are about to put us out of work.

However, it is clear to me that something else should concern us more. I have been speaking with a lot of CEOs of business software companies like yours and they have given me insights on their product vision.

They have also shown me that too many business software solutions are all about process, not about people.

And this is where the problem lies: We have, at our fingertips, a huge volume of human resources. But they are enormously underutilized.

Freeing People from Their Role as a Robot

You see, human beings are currently trapped in the role of robots. It is not that robots are taking over our lives and jobs, but we are allowing ourselves to think so coldly and calculatedly, that our product strategies end up sounding like a robot delivered it.

I recently featured Ryan Falkenberg of CLEVVA on my podcast. CLEVVA is a South African Augmented AI company that leverages digital intelligence to empower, not simply replace people.

In the interview, we discussed some pretty important questions, such as: “How do we humanize our workforces? How do we make them powerful as opposed to making them robotic?”

Ryan said it is currently a global issue. “In schools, we essentially teach young people a couple of mental skill sets,” he noted. “The whole journey of teaching people to replicate, teaching people to memorize and teaching people to comply was something that was very powerful in the industrial era.”

However, Ryan saw this problem as an opportunity for CLEVVA to make a difference.

“I realized I can get you doing stuff which would normally take me two or three years. You can get it in a matter of weeks, “ He said. “That becomes very exciting for companies, but it also becomes exciting for the individuals because they really start differentiating themselves.”

Are We Standing in the Way of Ourselves?

Let me try to encapsulate some points this podcast brought out:

product strategy

1. Human beings today are not being used as differentiators. They’re actually a scale problem.

2. There is a great value that we can unlock when we use technology to augment to the unique strengths of people to deliver remarkable impact.

3. This is a huge opportunity to bring out the best in people.

So now, we have to ask different questions, and challenge ourselves as a business software vendor:

What could happen if we transform our solutions to start utilizing people by bringing out the best they can be?

How could this boost employee engagement for each of our customers? How could this actually solve the war for talent that many organizations are challenged with?

Rethinking Your Product Strategy for Greater Impact

I want to try to challenge you to rethink your business software solution portfolio so that it will treat your customers’ employees differently. Rather than expecting them to memorize a bunch of data, and then risk being fired according to technical capabilities, look at each one as a valuable human being.

Notice their strengths, encourage them in a way that brings these strengths out, and then use the power of your technology to guide them to deliver remarkable results.

Start rethinking your portfolio of products. How much of your investments is actually sub-optimal because you are not going the extra mile in treating your customers’ employees like humans again?

What if it did? How much better would their performance be, and how much likelier are we to see exponential growth? And beyond that – just imagine how this could set you apart as a business software vendor!

Join the Conversation

These are some topics I have been exploring on Value Inspiration and chatting with other leaders about. I invite you to come and join me in the conversation by listening in to future podcasts and letting me know your current product strategy and thoughts on the topic.

About the author

Sales Pitch

Ton Dobbe is a former B2B software product marketer who's on a mission to save mission-driven SaaS CEOs from the stress of 'not enough' traction. He's the author of The Remarkable Effect, the host of the Tech-Entrepreneur on a Mission podcast, and writes a daily newsletter on the secrets to mastering predictable traction.