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Effective Product Strategy in the Era of Fast Demands

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Technology has transformed from being an enabler in the early 2000s to a fundamental part of the decision-making process at every single large organization in the present day. As such, a successful product strategy is now expected to go far beyond simply solving user needs, it must go above and beyond in creating meaningful value. The average human spends countless hours of the day online, putting more and more pressure on these technological product strategies to enrich, assist, and open doors.  

Some of these technological changes are happening at breakneck speed. You need to only look at the impact artificial intelligence is having on the product world. Customers expect their problems to be solved at the click of a button, and AI is being adapted to make that happen. This is the same reason why organizations are adopting technologies like Cloud at a rapid pace. And with such a fast phase of expansion, there is a very real requirement for leaders to step up and define product experiences at both a consumer and enterprise level.

Product strategy is all about the relationship between problems and solutions. What problems can we highlight using technology and what problems can we successfully solve using a streamlined product strategy? Industry experts are working on that very concept every single day, whether it be attempting to weed out misinformation on the internet or develop a driverless car that is safe for the roads.

One such expert is Abhishek Kanal, one of Google’s most impressive Product Strategy Leads. Kanal has been working over the past decade in the field of product strategy to ensure that enterprises are able to adopt technologies as fast as possible, but also as effectively as possible. The focus of his work is to ensure meaningful and consistent value creation for the common internet user.

One of the ways Kanal has helped large organizations adopt technologies like AI and Cloud faster has been through the development of the Strategic Interest Group (SIG) framework. Managing expansive client relationships is becoming more complex by the day, with escalating stakeholder demands, diverse project portfolios, and the ever-evolving nature of product integration. Even when two perfect companies come together for an ideal collaboration, without a streamlined structure, they often fail to reach their full potential. Kanal innovated the SIG model to provide an adaptable framework to efficiently manage growth and promote seamless collaboration. It does this by extracting coherent, logical units from clients’ vast workloads, allowing these units to be independently owned and managed by designated stakeholders.

Kanal’s current focus is on devising product strategies that help tackle misinformation on the internet. During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, information as a currency became more valuable than ever. With the world’s population confined to their homes, the only source of guidance came from news outlets, official addresses, and social media channels. But how can one be sure that information is correct when staring at a screen instead of talking directly to a doctor or professional? After all, anyone on the internet can post whatever they want, whenever they want.

Google came up with one of the most successful anti-misinformation solutions we have seen to date, the YouTube Information Panels, a project whose global launch was led by Kanal. These panels were essentially an automated system designed to inform the general public of the latest developing news, while also correcting widespread misinformation. But this went beyond simple fact-checking, the YouTube Information Panels were engineered to add vital context, especially on sensitive topics. Not only did this educate billions throughout the pandemic, but it also set a precedent for how misinformation products could and should be structured.

During election seasons, misinformation becomes especially rampant. There is now a growing concern among experts that artificial intelligence could be manipulated to disseminate fake news, thereby influencing voters. A recent article in The Guardian delved into the use of AI bots, voice imitation, manipulated videos, and tools like ChatGPT to shape voter behavior. To tackle the spread of such civics related misinformation, Kanal leads a team of 12+ cross-functional teams at Google turning the general public from mere observers to well-informed participants. Under Kanal’s expertise, this product was ingeniously crafted to act as a credible information source during pivotal election times. This initiative underscored the importance of trust in news outlets and set a benchmark for future endeavors.

Technology can also be adapted to solve social and economic problems in the modern world. Across India, countless households used to find themselves with an abundance of household items they no longer needed. Unfortunately, there was no trusted or streamlined platform through which to donate such items, so many of them ended up on scrap heaps or in the hands of junkyard vendors. That was until Abhishek Kanal created Urban Donate, India’s pioneer non-profit donation platform. This served as a direct connection between Indian households and over 15,000 underprivileged children and elderly residents in shelter homes, finally allowing for streamlined, non-monetary donations. Instead of focusing on monetary donations, Urban Donate redefined the fabric of charitable giving in India by allowing people to donate goods instead.

In a technological world that is moving faster than ever, it is of extreme importance that large organizations have the right product strategist in place to ensure they are moving in the right direction. Abhishek Kanal has proven across his career to be one such expert.