Reimagining Product Design is Product Management

Now a Senior Consultant at Park, Tim McKeown was Senior Global Director of Innovation & Design for Wilson Sporting Goods Co.

 

Wilson Sporting Goods’ tennis business wasn’t growing, and in a sports culture where winning is everything, something had to change. Enter Tim McKeown, product designer, innovator and team player. He started by tripling the number of designers playing a role in product development. He then unified the technical expertise that lived in the organization around understanding where the real opportunities were in the business, as well as what today’s consumers were really looking for.

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Putting consumers’ needs and wants at the core of the company’s innovation efforts started with actually talking to consumers. “We brought the whole cross-functional team out on the tennis court and interviewed real tennis players across a range of capabilities, ages, male, female — they all have different needs. And what we were able to learn and identify was that the way the industry talks to these consumers wasn’t really resonating. Consumers are completely confused by the way tennis rackets are marketed and sold. They really didn't even know, in many cases, why they had their own tennis racket. They didn't know why it worked for them or not. But what we were able to learn through a number of different exercises, interview techniques and core interviews and observation, was that what they really sought was an amazing amount of control over their tennis game.”

Identifying that need was crucial to understanding the “why.” And knowing what problem they were solving for consumers helped Wilson create the most wanted products in the industry. Learn more about how Tim drove and managed innovation in a legacy-product environment, as well as the roles played in the effort by social media and sustainability, on this episode of This Is Product Management.

Download the transcript of this episode here:

 

Here are the highlights: 

  • Infusing design at a strategic level: 2:47
  • Driving cross-functional ways of working to achieve success: 9:34
  • The shift to shifting to becoming consumer-led: 15:19
  • Positioning sustainability as a premium: 34:23

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