We won’t be shy about it – the navigation of industry regulations can be one of the more complicated parts of managing a product. At times, it may seem there are more walls than doors to be found. Of course, with the right amount of research and forethought, these regulations can provide secret opportunities that may be otherwise lost in the footnotes. Just ask Colleen Graneto.
On reframing regulations into opportunities
Airbnb Product Lead Colleen Graneto is no stranger to the global world of product regulations. With a storied career in diverse marketplaces that span borders, finding ways to innovate through requirements is her number one priority. Starting off the discussion, she emphasizes that reframing those rules can help companies preserve competitive advantage.
“We often hear around Silicon Valley the phrase ‘move fast and break things’. When we’re talking about regulatory products, that’s not really something you can do. We think of it more as ‘move carefully and don’t kill people’. This way, you don’t upset your regulators.”
“However, it doesn’t mean that you can’t be innovative. It’s important to think this way because you still need to find ways to grow. If you feel overwhelmed by these regulations, reframe how you work with them. It’s really important because if you don’t continue to find ways to innovate, the competitiveness of your product slowly erodes, and that’s bad. It’s imperative that you stay relevant and push through when you feel stuck, or other companies may come in and take your market share”
“Reframing how you think about regulations is really important because it helps you stay at the top of that innovation curve. Thay way, you keep your market share, you keep your customers, and you continue to grow. Otherwise, you fade into the background and lose relevancy.”
On staying on top of regulatory changes
When industry changes occur, it’s important for product leaders to ensure their knowledge is current. We all know the worst feeling is trying to play catch up. Colleen shares that scanning the environment regularly helps teams and products catch those curveballs early. You may even find unique growth opportunities and new ways to connect regulatory changes back to customer values.
“What do I recommend doing to stay on top of your regulations and stay innovative in those environments? One of the first key things is to just scan the regulatory environment on a regular basis. What does that mean? We want to look to understand how regulations are changing, either positively or negatively for your product. That way, you want to connect those changes back to customer value.”
“Build these check-ins into your insight collection process. Often, we’re looking at our customers, our metrics, and our data for feedback. We search for impact through customer service tickets and things like that. We’re already doing research with our customers, so build this in as another source of insights for your product strategy. You may find that changes in the regulatory landscape can be really big opportunities.”
On early collaboration
Planning ahead equals planning for continued success. Early collaboration with regulatory bodies can save product teams a lot of headaches down the road. It may even reveal useful information to frame product strategy for the better. Colleen shares how codesigning from the beginning is a major win-win for products and regulatory bodies.
“You have to really understand the industry and its regulations. What I mean by this is, reframe how you’re actually thinking about the collaboration. You should start this whole initiative together. They should be involved in the scans of the regulatory environment with you. Essentially, start together so you don’t have to ask later.”
‘We’re actually co-designing it from the beginning. We’re not just gathering requirements, we’re not just putting things into a list of what we can and cannot do. It’s about really, really partnering close together. In order to do that, you need time, space, and curiosity.”