Kandis O'Brien is a business designer and facilitator. As co-founder of The SIX, a strategy and innovation consultancy, she leverages human-centered tools like design and vision sprints along with consumer insights and creative audacity to help clients re-frame problems, imagine new possibilities and create new products, processes, and organizational cultures.
Clients run the gamut from enterprise customers like Google and Salesforce, to pioneering startups like Clipr and VianAI looking to create systems for sustainable innovation that move them from idea to experiment to execution faster. She is also the organizer of Design Sprint NYC which brings together diverse thinkers and doers to explore topics in product management, user experience, leadership, equity, and inclusion. She lives in NYC and is optimistically looking forward to participating in the 2021 NYC marathon — in person or virtually — and to visit the 7th of the seven wonders of the world this year.
[1:30] How is Kandis O’Brien dealing with the Covid’ pandemic impact on work and routine.
[5:05] Work-Life Balance? Absolutely not! But people have found ways to be kind to each other and to be more flexible about schedules and interruptions
[6:56] Running the NY City Marathon
[7:54] What led Kandis to enter the world of Product Management? From Marketing to Product
[10:55] Kandis Experience in her company The SIX.
[12:46]“We wanted to bring more diverse voices into the innovation process, more women, more underrepresented groups to be part of ideating and co-creating around new products, new business models. We are trying to get more people involved who can change the space around innovation.”
[13:40] What have you learned about your leadership style — strengths or weaknesses — and how do you use those insights to be better?
“Self-examination is good because you need to have a growth mindset around leadership, think about what your strengths are. In my case, it’s around strategy and project execution and then really assessing the areas where you need to put in some work, sometimes, some curiosity to get better.”
[16:00] What is the most common problem, you see on a daily basis?
👉 Alignment problem
“I think one of the biggest is that teams don’t have a shared vision and understanding of success. What success means, right? They might be reporting to managers that have different goals. They might have different incentives and metrics, you know, so getting teams aligned. Is really critical and alignment is hard at any time, but it becomes exponentially harder once an organization starts to scale and you’re bringing more people on board. So the earlier that you can address alignment is to use and focus on that, the better.”
[18:54] Customer and market insights to make strategic decisions.
👉 Start Small
[21:17] “it’s very difficult for teams to start small” . What MVP is going to allow you to deliver value quickly, to test your assumptions and to gain directional Insight?
[23:33] Difference between B2B Products and B2C Products
[28:00] Designing digital products vs physical products.
[31:59] Redesign Your Organization for Innovation.
[36:00] Kandis Bucket List 🦸🏽🦸🏽
[37:17] Q&A: How does Design Thinking and Sprints help build scalable Products? Do these techniques apply to Platform Products?
Kandis O’Brien recommends 📚 on product and leadership:
📗 Inspired by Marty Cagan
Inspired: How to Create Tech Products Customers Love (Silicon Valley Product Group)
Inspired: How to Create Tech Products Customers Love (Silicon Valley Product Group) [Cagan, Marty] on Amazon.com…
📕 Testing Business Ideas by David Bland
Testing Business Ideas: A Field Guide for Rapid Experimentation (The Strategyzer Series)
Testing Business Ideas: A Field Guide for Rapid Experimentation (The Strategyzer Series) [Bland, David J., Osterwalder…
📘Escaping the Build Trap by Melissa Perri
Escaping the Build Trap: How Effective Product Management Creates Real Value
Amazon.com: Escaping the Build Trap: How Effective Product Management Creates Real Value (9781491973790): Perri…
📙Nine Lies about Work by Marcus Buckingham & Ashley Goodall
Nine Lies About Work: A Freethinking Leader's Guide to the Real World
Nine Lies About Work: A Freethinking Leader's Guide to the Real World [Buckingham, Marcus, Goodall, Ashley] on…
📙Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days by Jake Knapp
The Productized Masterclasses are 2 days of hands-on masterclasses and insightful keynote speakers. On 27 & 28 May you’ll enjoy 4 masterclasses of your choice, get practical tips, and network with your peers. Come and meet Dan Olsen, Kandis O’Brien, Radhika Dutt, Ken Sandy, or Daniel Zacarias, among many others and get ready to be inspired to learn more about Enterprise Product and Consumer Product! SAVE THE DATE — MAY 27–28 2021
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