Over the past several months we have been collaborating with our partners at Capgemini on the intersection of product management and sustainability. With this in mind, what is sustainable product management? Furthermore, why does it matter? Do product managers have responsibilities beyond user-centricity? Should product leaders be thinking beyond purely commercially-driven business frameworks? Indeed, all these questions are at the forefront of a new frontier in product management.
Sustainable Product Design: A Report from Capgemini
These questions are the focus of brand new research published by the Capgemini Research Institute. Their report is called Rethink: Why sustainable product design is the need of the hour. They also created an accompanying infographic. For their research, Capgemini surveyed 900 senior product design and engineering executives. Respondents represented large organizations in industries from consumer products, to industrial manufacturing, to medical devices, and more. At present, they found that, for most companies, sustainability was not at the core of product design. On the other hand, sustainability-focused companies enjoyed growing profits and better customer relationships.
In fact, according to Capgemini’s research, 7 in 10 organizations which have implemented sustainable product design have seen increased revenue growth, customer satisfaction, and employee engagement. “No business can afford to ignore sustainability, either financially or in terms of customer opinion,” said Capgemini Invent EVP Lisa Mitnick. “Product organizations must work to prioritize sustainability efforts. While these efforts are gaining traction within individual companies and businesses, more needs to be done. Our newest research explores ways that sustainable product design decisions also lead to other environmental and social benefits.”
Sustainable Product Management at Products That Count
Our own conversations with our network of 300k PMs support these findings. We recently discussed sustainability with product managers and leaders in various industries. As a result, we published a Capgemini-sponsored eBook, Leading the Way for Sustainable Products and Services. For some of the folks we talked with, sustainability is inseparable from innovation. For others, sustainability is simply not on the roadmap. We cover the range of perspectives in our report. On the whole, the eBook gives key attention to PM priorities, key metrics, and relevant action steps to take today.
Also, listen to the “Leaders in Innovation” series on our Award-winning Product Talk podcast. This five-part series features guests in the Capgemini portfolio of products, hosted by Capgemini innovation experts. As an illustration, the first episode features Heatworks Founding CEO Jerry Callahan. The Cape Cod native is focused on efficiency of design. For example, in the countertop dishwasher, Tetra. Additionally, the series shows how global behemoth Unilever is encouraging PMs to set and reach goals on innovation and sustainability. Or how leaders at Hamilton Beach are thinking about how small steps can make a big impact on sustainable product management.
Leaders in Innovation podcast series
- Leaders in Innovation: Heatworks Founder & CEO on Sustainability in Product
- Leaders in Innovation: Intel Global GM on Smart Infrastructure and the Future of Cities
- Leaders in Innovation: Hamilton Beach Senior Designer on the Big Impact of Sustainability in Product
- Leaders in Innovation: Unilever Global Head of Digital Innovation on Data, Priorities, and Sustainability
- Leaders in Innovation: Rockwell Automation Industry Lead on Digital Transformation in the Manufacturing World
What can you do?
If sustainable product management is of interest to you and your organization, there are steps you can take today. To begin with, read the reports linked above. In them you will find concrete action items. These include pushing for a Life Cycle Assessment on your product to reduce your least-sustainable practices, and choosing green hosting. Are you mindful of the energy footprint of your product? This is dependent on use case and geography of users.
Additionally, Capgemini offers several concrete actions. One of these is taking a long-term view when managing costs and considering benefits. They suggest to adopt a True Cost Accounting (TCA) approach to factor in environmental and social costs. This can involve educating consumers as well as investing in infrastructure supporting sustainable action.
In the end, product managers and leaders should know that they have a role to play with sustainability. It may not be easy, but sustainable product management is within reach for committed organizations. Use the reports, infographics, and product conversations at Capgemini and Products That Count to begin. Start creating a better future through product management today.
About the speaker
Products that Count is a 501(c)3 nonprofit that helps everyone build great products. It celebrates product excellence through coveted Awards that inspire 500,000+ product managers and honor great products and the professionals responsible for their success. It accelerates the career and rise to the C-suite of >30% of all Product Managers globally by providing exceptional programming – including award-winning podcasts and popular newsletters – for free. It acts as a trusted advisor to all CPOs at Fortune 1000, and publishes key insights from innovative companies, like Capgemini, SoFi, and Amplitude, that turn product success into business success.