This post was previously on the Pathfinder Software site. Pathfinder Software changed its name to Orthogonal in 2016. Read more.
Here is a simple exercise that you can try. Instead of thinking of the details of what might improve your product, simply consider your product as an “environment” or a place people go to get some kind of value. Try filling in the following sentences:
This is where people like to come to do ______________.
It’s way better than ______________ because of _______________.
Simply put, it’s the only place to go where you can ______________.
We can dissect these sentences and realize they are about thinking through differentiators, what makes the product competitive, etc. In narrative form, however, you are not just thinking of these items, you are also putting them in context of how they would sound to someone else. By using this “narrative” or mini elevator speech approach, you will likely find you are better able to come up with ideas that have an emotional tug.
Try emailing the sentences to your team and have everyone return a response. You can also use the exercise to kick off the beginning of a meeting or a brainstorming session.