When can product managers be creative?

Product management, especially for modern digital products, is an analytical pursuit. All that user behaviour data, market analysis data, and scientific approach means that the majority of a product managers job involves analytical thinking and rational decision-making.

But there are times when a product manager needs to apply some creative thinking.

Analysis can show what the problem is, but creativity is needed to think of ways to solve it. Analysis can show which feature isn’t performing as expected, but creativity is needed to find the changes that will make it achieve.

The Double Diamond innovation process shows stages of divergent and convergent thinking. Any time I’ve seen anyone using it, their focus has been on the four stages rather than the different ways of thinking during the stages, so I think the power of switching between analytical and creative thinking gets lost, but it is a real skill. And knowing when to switch is essential for good product management.