Innovating in Product Management: The Power of People and Politics

December 20, 2023

At the heart of UbiCollaborate 2023’s exploration into the future of parking technology and innovation, Carl Rigoni, a seasoned speaker and product management expert, took the stage to share his profound insights on “Innovation with People.” His business SixSix deeply embeds in strategic restructuring and design within their product team. This structure set the stage for an engaging discourse on the multifaceted nature of product management.  


SixSix: Where it began  

Carl’s journey with SixSix wasn’t just a collaboration; it was a testament to the value of integrating experts into areas where businesses lack strength. He shared an endearing anecdote about the naming of SixSix, adding a personal touch to his professional endeavour.  Watch the video to learn about the anecdote. 


The importance of people 

Drawing from a wealth of experience across various companies, Carl emphasised the need to innovate through people while deftly navigating corporate politics. His eight-point framework, enriched by mentorship experiences, aimed to empower digital product backgrounds like UbiPark. Understanding power dynamics, forming alliances, grasping motivations, practising diplomacy, and discerning when to stand firm or yield formed the bedrock of his strategy.  


How to influence stakeholders to generate positive outcomes  

The crux of Carl’s talk revolved around the intricate web of influencing stakeholders, from internal teams to decision-makers. He underlined the significance of fostering support networks within organisations, recognising them as essential to driving innovation and successful product development.  


Resilience and adaptability emerged as critical attributes in the innovation landscape, illustrated through Canva’s story of perseverance amidst rejections. Carl stressed their importance in today’s ever-evolving industry.  


Building successful products  

Introducing the “Golden Triangle,” Carl proposed a methodology essential for building successful digital products. Centred around the customer or user, this framework comprised three core roles: the product manager, the UX/UI designer, and a robust engineering team. It aimed to foster collaboration, reduce political friction, and optimise workflow efficiency.  


Mitigate noise and confusion through dynamic teams  

Drawing from practical experiences implementing this methodology, Carl emphasised the need for teams to align differently to mitigate organisational noise and confusion. Documentation, customer feedback, prototyping, and clear communication became the linchpins for project success, eradicating assumptions and ensuring seamless execution.  

He highlighted the significance of well-documented ways of working and a shared glossary of terms to foster better communication among team members.  


The conclusion  

In the Q&A session, Carl tackled the challenges of navigating organisational politics, emphasising awareness, resilience, and adaptability without resorting to manipulative tactics.  


In summary, Carl’s presentation encapsulated the essence of fostering resilient, adaptable, and customer-focused teams. His insights navigated the complexities of corporate structures, emphasising the vital role of people and politics in propelling innovation in the rapidly evolving landscape of product development.   


UbiCollaborate 2023 witnessed a discourse that not only shaped the future of parking technology but also shed light on the profound impact of human dynamics in driving innovation.