What is product incubation and who does it serve? As a founder, inventor, or startup CPO, incubation is a rollercoaster of learning and adapting on the road to product market fit. Meanwhile, portfolio managers can use incubation to inform investment journeys and strengthen feedback loops among a cohort of new product development. In this talk, Fidelity Senior Product VP Deba Sahoo meets with Fmr. Google Cloud Product Lead Ayana Christie to discuss how product incubation more than fuels the startup ecosystem and is a valuable strategy for every product leader.
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- Product incubation offers a safe space for discovery, experimentation, testing, and validation of ideas.
- Complex ideas with scale potential benefit greatly from incubation.
- The incubation process involves steps such as market placement, problem hypothesis testing, persona development, feasibility analysis, MVP development, and user adoption testing.
- Potential customers, inventors, developers, investors, decision-makers, and stakeholders play key roles in incubation.
- Successful product launch and growth rely heavily on sales and marketing.
- Incubation benefits three main groups: those incubating the solution, those managing incubation, and those enlisting incubation results.
- Each group receives tips such as absorbing information, testing willingness to buy, prioritizing, understanding the go-to-market journey, and achieving product-market fit.
- Incubation provides a structured approach to developing and launching successful products.
- Product leaders should place focus on experimentation, validation, and understanding market and customer needs.
- Challenges in incubation include validation biases, feasibility testing, and core messaging for technology teams.
- Incubation aids in identifying risks, opportunities, team capabilities, partnerships, and linkages.
- Incubation deliverables and results act as gates for resource allocation.
- Product incubation offers early signs of value beyond revenue and aligns with long-term investment strategies.
- Benefits of incubation include timely decision support, clear communication, goal alignment, and team guidance.
- It is recommended to establish clear exit criteria for scaling, slowing down, or discontinuing a product.
- Structured incubation drives successful product launches and growth.
- It is recommended to create a dedicated team and funding for incubation.
- Separating incubation products from the main sales force enables iterative development and experimentation.
- Incubation product managers are responsible for managing multiple products and possessing portfolio management skills.
- Incubation supports decision-making, provides resources, and facilitates growth for companies.
About the speaker
Ayana uses her 13 years of innovation consulting experience and recent role as a GTM Strategist at Google Cloud to advise product entrepreneurs and incubation programs. She is also Chief Product Officer of publishing and art house startup, Bond & Grace, where she brings creative inventions to market. Ayana has built a rich career in product leadership having managed software development, designed incubation programs, implemented investment theses, and managed new product go to market strategies. Her trajectory represents a spectrum of product roles.