PIP: helping products improve their innovation power

The Product Innovation Power model (PIP) is created for the product teams and provides insights, best practices and tools to improve their innovation power. It unlocks the potential of our people & technology and accelerates the shift to the empowered product teams model. It will support us to become Europe’s #1 in product-led innovation.

At bol.com we want to accelerate the shift from feature teams to an empowered product teams model. To do so, we need a shared understanding of innovation, the power to innovate and ways to improve our power to innovate. We believe PIP is one of the answers to this. It will help us in our journey of becoming Europe’s #1 in product-led innovation. PIP provides insights, best practices and tools for our product teams to improve their innovation power. So that together we continue to solve customer problems and find better and more innovative solutions every day that shape the exciting future of bol.com.

Figure 1: from feature teams to empowered product teams. Based on the book Empowered by Marty Cagan (2020) and adapted to the context of bol.com

From Feature Teams To Empowered Product Teams

Why the Product Innovation Power model?

Our Retail Tech Platform requires best in class products that create value for customers and partners to make their everyday life easier. Our vision at bol.com is to become Europe's #1 leader in product-led innovation. Innovation is at the core of realizing this vision. The product teams and our people, the technology we use and the processes we follow, are all key to our innovation power. To realize the ambitious goals we will need to scale up our innovation power further.

What is Innovation Power?

However, to do so, we will need a common understanding of what innovation power is and what we can do to improve this. Think of innovation as a road trip with a couple of good friends: you have some idea of where you want to go and a limited amount of resources to spend. Innovation power is the key ingredients you need for a better road trip. But how do you know where to start?

That is why we introduced the PIP model!

The PIP (Product Innovation Power) model is a tool to measure and improve the innovation power of our product teams. The PIP consists of 3 dimensions:

  • Value Focus supports you to focus on solving customer problems in ways that work for the business and ensures the team can take accountability for the results. It's your navigation that provides clear guidance on where you should steer for your road trip.
  • Tech health ensures that your services are well designed and managed, and based on modern technology. It's the mechanics of your car and ensures that your gearbox is well-greased.
  • Team health helps you to have the right talents in your cross-functional team, building a safe environment, get role clarity while having fun along the way. It's about the people you take on the road trip. Do you have a driver and a DJ to entertain the team for example?

Figure 2: Product Innovation Power model (PIP), 2021

Product Innovation Power Model Bol.com

Each of these dimensions consists of 5 subdimensions that impact product innovation power. There are four maturity levels for each subdimension. The higher the level, the better your product innovation power.

How to use the PIP?

At bol.com we believe in co-leadership with shared responsibility. All the +-50 products have dedicated leadership teams where both the Product and Technology disciplines are represented (e.g. Product Managers and Engineering Managers). The PIP is filled in by these co-leads. They act as a cross-functional team which have an open dialogue about the different PIP subdimensions. For each subdimension, they discuss perspectives, agree on a score, make relevant comments and identify improvement actions.

From insight to action

For every subdimension, a one-pager is created with description, scoring levels, best practices and the people in the organization that can provide support. For example, it connects you to our experimentation team who can learn how to better do data-driven experiments with your product. Or with the experts on product discovery and design thinking techniques. In our ecosystem, we want to unlock the collective knowledge of our people for building better products.

This tool is not created for performance management purposes, it's created for our teams. Our teams are the ones that build the products for bol.com’s customers and partners to make everyday life easier. The better they can do their job, the more impact we make. Our leadership facilitate and support our teams in this journey.

Figure 3: Example: Data & Experimentation one-pager

PIP One Pager Example

Never finished

Launching the PIP model is a moment of celebration but it marks only the beginning of an exciting journey. We treat PIP as a product itself. That means we experiment, embrace failures, learn from them and adapt along the way. We continuously raise the bar and listen to the needs of the customers (our teams) for future iterations. And that is how we together improve our innovation power further!

Hessel de Gelder

All articles by me