Product Manager – Fall in Love with the Problem, not the Solution

Product Manager – Fall in Love with the Problem, not the Solution
Daniel Elizalde
Fall in love with the problem not the solution

One of my favorite Product mantras is, “Fall in love with the problem, not the solution.”

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been passionate about applying technology to address climate change. And with today’s headlines, it’s no surprise that climate tech regularly comes up in my podcasts, interviews, and conversations.

My colleagues and friends are surprised to learn that I’ve shifted my focus:

Daniel, you are “the IoT PM” guy. Are you still doing IoT?

I saw you just published a book on B2B Innovation. What happened to IoT?

 The truth is climate change is the problem I am most drawn to—and one I’ve been working with for many years. But that doesn’t mean IoT and B2B are no longer in my wheelhouse. On the contrary, both IoT and B2B innovation are important tools to create solutions to meet the market needs that will help address climate change. But they are only tools. They are a solution to a potential problem.

Let me explain.

Climate is a physical phenomenon, and most digital solutions require interaction with the physical world. That’s why IoT is a foundational technology to fight climate change. IoT plays a vital role in all significant areas of climate tech, including energy generation, distribution, EVs, charging infrastructure, smart agriculture, distributed energy resources, carbon capture, and energy efficiency in buildings.

As an advisor, I’ve coached Founders and Product Leaders in all of these categories, helping them get unstuck with their IoT strategy or Product Management challenges.

B2B comes into play because it’s corporations, utilities, and governments that can have the most significant impact in combating climate change at scale. Yes, consumers have a role to play, but most funding is rightly going to B2B innovation.

When working with climate tech companies, I’ve repeatedly tested the blueprint outlined in my book, The B2B Innovator’s Map. It’s a valuable tool to help companies demystify the innovation journey and reduce the risk of bringing the wrong product to market.

So, I’m still “the IoT PM guy,” and I’m also working in B2B, but those are just solutions. Most importantly, I am consciously focusing this expertise on helping companies apply those solutions to address the problem I love.

What about you? What is the problem area you love?

Photo by ThisisEngineering RAEng on Unsplash

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