Today, businesses simply cannot expect to grow without digital influence. Even your local library is highly likely to have a website and social media presence.

 

We all know that digitalisation is a fundamental cornerstone of growing a business, so we should embrace it.

On Thursday the 3rd of May, digital enthusiasts gathered at our European Polyglot Office to participate the first “La Product Confx BCN” Meetup in Spain.

La Product Conf is a French conference dedicated to Product Management and Design. Its purpose is to unite the community and to spread the word about trends and noteworthy innovations.

The conference takes place each June in Paris, and draws more than 450 product professionals. The smaller monthly gatherings are meetups which usually also take place in Paris, but now for the first time LPC crossed borders and brought the newest digital insights to Barcelona.

Polyglots Global Head of Market Development Jacques Reynaud introduced the meetup and the LPC organizer Sebastien Levaillant and Nicolas Leonard.

 

Platform Innovation: Key Points for Building Two-Sided Networks

The first speaker Sabrina Guzman, Cofounder of Platform Innovation elaborated key points for building two-sided networks.

Sabrina is fascinated by platform business design and disruption theory with more than eight years of experience in digital. Her Co-founded company, Platform Innovation, is a framework for designing, prototyping and launching platform business models.

The purpose of her talk was to help the audience understand the most crucial aspects in creating digital products and software as a service (SaaS) tools.

We are all familiar with the rise of SaaS in this digital age. Apps like Uber, Facebook and Airbnb are taking the world by storm and changing the way we engage with products and services.

What makes these platforms so interesting is the fact that Uber doesn’t own any cars, Airbnb doesn’t own any real estate and Facebook doesn’t create content. It simply provides the exchange of value and offers the platform in order to do so. This means these platforms are depending on the network they are working with to offer value such as goods, services or information for one another.

Sabrina explained the piggybacking theory, where platforms are growing on top of another pre-existing network. How did Airbnb get so popular? It grew on Craigslist, while Whatsapp leveraged the mobile phone’s organic network to create a cheaper replacement.

From this, we can conclude that digital platforms are devoid of the rules that typically apply to tangible products. Competitors can help each other grow, entering the market can happen from a  “click”, and overall, the barriers are simply not the same.

 

How to Use the Design Thinking Methodology to Revamp your API?

The second speaker Alessandro Pintaudi, Product Manager at Weekendesk, introduced us to design-orientated methodology. He also explained how he put this thinking into action to improve the company’s API.

Alessandro is a seasoned Product Manager with a deep knowledge of the travel industry and a combined background in engineering and business. Currently lead product manager at Weekendesk, he oversees their inbound and outbound APIs strategy. So, what is API, and how does it work?

Basically, API stands for Application Program Interface, which sounds complicated. However, you are undoubtedly already with API. Each time you use an app like Facebook or check the weather online, you are using an API.

API is like sitting in a restaurant, and utilising the waiter as a way to communicate your order to the kitchen. In this case, the waiter is the messenger and is the medium for distributing information from one party to another. This can be seen as a metaphor for how API functions.

 

“Almost any digital product should be able to focus on the main problem it tries to solve and accept the fundamental chaotic nature of the ecosystem it lives in.”

 

Alessandro also explained how he used “big picture thinking” and straightforward methodologies. To get the best ideas about the user’s needs, you simply have to ask them. During Alessandro’s design thinking session, he gathered internal and external developers to brainstorm their target audience, discover their biggest needs and deliver on this understanding.

 

“Design thinking is a human-centered approach to innovation that draws from the designer’s toolkit to integrate the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for business success.”
— Tim Brown, president and CEO, IDEO

 

After the brainstorming session, the next step was to clearly communicate the results to everyone in order to be “on the same page”.

To make the new changes clear to everyone, Alessandro and his team drew a customer journey map and illustrated how new initiatives can improve the customer’s experience. And last of all, the final step was prototyping and testing the new initiatives.

When concluding, Alessandro underlined the importance of onboarding various stakeholders and enhancing the autonomy during the project development.

The meetup gave deep insights into platform and API strategies and made clear how the future of digital products will look like. Once this is clear to everybody, nobody will ask again:

 

“Mr. Zuckerberg, how do you sustain a business model such as Facebook in which users don’t pay for your service?”

 

“Senator, we run ads.”

About the Author:

Hellen is a strong and multi-disciplinary Marketer with a wealth of knowledge in consumer behaviour and global experience to match. From Germany to South America to Spain, Hellen is trained in identifying consumer needs and how to efficiently find tailored solutions.
Read more about Hellen Weber.