Barrier #2: ‘Product’ paucity [blog series]

22nd July 2021

[Recap: Our last blog outlined the first barrier against data democratisation – “An aversion to ambition” – talking about how geospatial companies tend to prefer a project approach, and aren’t ready to change.]

Let’s say you have the ambition. You have investment available and you’re willing to put it towards a more innovative, product-based business strategy.

The next question is – do you have the know-how?

The answer is, unfortunately; probably not.

Most businesses in this sector are based on technical or entrepreneurial skills, with little product knowledge on hand in their teams. They haven’t invested in product managers – either because they don’t see the value or because they can’t justify the costs (and the costs can be high).

In contrast, the digital and technology sectors are absolutely a picture of best practice. When it comes to product, they do it brilliantly. Over the last 8 years of working in these domains, I saw the industry take product management by the helm and build not just company offerings, but entire communities based around product.

Everyone can speak for this success. We all use commercial tech and live off digital every day. So why aren’t others following suit?

Geospatial leaders need to finally realise that they won’t be able to succeed in a product venture without the proper knowledge and infrastructure in place.

How 4EI do it

I came from a product-focused sector, with a heart for environmental work, hoping to bring this experience into geospatial. What I saw work, what I know works, and what I wanted to introduce for 4EI is an established product methodology.

I would encourage anyone – no matter your sector – looking to pivot into product to hire someone with the skills to lead this approach. If you’re in geospatial, this 100% means hiring outside your field.

Yes, you’ll lose out on technical expertise – but you don’t need it for this role. Instead, you’ll gain repeatability, a solid innovation process, and a product growth plan that will actually work.

Tomorrow’s blog discusses barrier #3 – “Answering the ‘why’”. Don’t miss out – follow 4EI on Twitter, Instagramand LinkedIn to stay tuned in. to stay tuned in. 

Mariam Crichton

by Mariam Crichton

As Group Managing Director, Mariam provides organisational leadership as well as heading up the 4EI Product Innovation Hub.

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