Last November I was introduced to Connected Lab CEO Mike Stern through a mutual friend. He and his team were looking for someone to lead a brand transformation project to bring their company vision to life. When Mike shared that vision with me, I was hooked. Not just as a brand strategist, but as a product owner. Allow me to explain…
I had recently left a role where I was the product owner for a large-scale digital transformation project. Working with a world-class design thinking partner, I helped reimagine the banking experience to create a desirable product. We spent hours, days, and months leading human-centred design research sprints and iterating on a prototype. The day the product was awarded funding after an onerous viability audit by a leading management consultancy remains a career highlight for me.
However, things quickly took a downturn once we went from strategy to execution: we learned that the product that we knew was both desirable to users and had a viable business model was not feasible on our current tech stack.
Ok, you might ask, but what does this story have to do with the Connected mission and vision? As Mike explained when we first sat down, he and Co-Founder Damian McCabe founded Connected Lab in 2014 because they were tired of watching so many products die in execution. They were tired of the handoffs and broken telephone that happened between management consultants (who were focused on viability), design researchers (who were focused on desirability), and developers (who were focused on feasibility). Their vision for a new kind of consultancy — an integrated product development firm — was one that promised to avoid these kinds of disconnects and help ambitious product builders make real progress.
The Connected vision was something that instantly resonated with me given that it would have solved the number one problem I had in my previous role, a problem I’m passionate about solving. I learned first-hand that products can’t succeed and certainly can’t be developed at the pace required in today’s world without bringing strategy and execution closer together.
Mike and Damian knew this too. That’s why they decided to build a different type of firm: not a dev shop, or a design studio, or a management consultancy, but an end-to-end product development firm — one focused on driving impact for their clients.
Products can’t succeed and certainly can’t be developed at the pace required in today’s world without bringing strategy and execution closer together.
I would have been Connected’s number one customer in my last role, but instead I had the privilege of building a brand that lives up to the work that is being done here (we will be launching next week). I’m really proud of the work and of my marketing team who hustled to bring the brand to life, and I can’t wait for you all to see it.