If you can’t explain the next big idea for your product to your grandmother, it might be a good idea to go back to the drawing board.
For Bianca Maxwell, Disney’s principal product manager of growth, there’s no question about whether or not to implement this practice. That’s why her grandmother often serves as the sounding board before she shares those creative visions with her peers, let alone the rest of the world.
“One of the things that I like to do to make sure I’ve cornered a problem, but also I know how to explain it very, very well, is I call my grandmother who’s 82 and has a podcast,” she shared when she took the stage on Nov. 2 during AFROTECH Conference 2023.
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Her workshop allowed attendees to get a firsthand look at how storytelling and imagination can be used to ship products and ideas to the masses.
As a product leader with a resume that includes helping to pour into the growth stories of brands such as Adidas, Apple, Reebok, and even her own startup, Maxwell encourages people to verify that their thoughts and ideas can be explained and understood by people from all walks of life.
Her grandmother ensures that this happens for her.
“If I have an idea and my grandma can understand it once I explain it to her, that means that the way that I’m talking about the idea is enough into layman’s terms that anyone can understand it,” Maxwell said. “There is something that I think a lot of us technologists like to do, which is talk in a very high level with big words to sound very smart. Stop doing that.”
Another key piece of advice that Maxwell told audience members during the conference was to remember that just because something is the norm for you, does not mean it is for the target audience you’re looking to approach.
She continued: “I think one thing you have to remember is that English is not everyone’s first language, and you wanna be accessible.”
When it comes to pushing the culture forward through creative endeavors, Maxwell’s personal journey is yet another reminder that when a product is accessible, everyone wins in the end.