March 28, 2023

How to Drive Outcomes Over Outputs, with Josh Seiden

Episode 197 of The Innovation Engine podcast.

This podcast is part of the Masters of Innovation.

Learn more about this series and join the community.

Do you know the difference between focusing on outcomes versus output in product development — and why the distinction can make or break a product? On this episode of The Innovation Engine, we explore how shifting the focus from churning out features to driving business outcomes can help product teams deliver more value to users and have an infinitely greater impact for organizations.

Our guest, Josh Siden, is a designer, strategy consultant, and the author of the book Outcomes Over Output: Why customer behavior is the key metric for business success. The inspiration for the book was the two years Josh spent working on a stock trading app for a major financial services company that just…never shipped. The experience taught him the importance of delivering incremental value frequently and putting products in customers’ hands “unreasonably early,” as he says during the episode.

Josh draws on his experiences and lessons learned working on this product and many others as he highlights how product teams can work with senior leadership to jointly navigate the inherent uncertainty of product development.

One recommendation Josh has for product leaders is to use three “magic questions” that will ensure they’re focused on driving outcomes rather than falling into the trap of being a feature factory. He explains the importance of telling a specific story about the user journey, highlighting key moments that make a difference, and building a shared perspective and understanding to make collaborative prioritization decisions. Finally, Josh discusses the benefits of outcomes-based roadmaps vs. the traditional “roadmap to nowhere.” Unlike their predecessors, outcomes-based roadmaps provide context for why the team is focusing where they are and outlines the key questions the team is looking to answer and hypotheses they’re looking to validate.

Tune in to the full conversation below to hear valuable insights into how product development teams can shift their focus from a feature-based approach to a business outcomes-based approach, delivering greater value to both users and the organization.

Episode Highlights

  • How shifting the focus from features to business outcomes can help product teams deliver more value to users and organizations
  • How teams can focus on changes in user behavior that create business value
  • Why telling a specific story about the user journey can help achieve alignment and overcome roadblocks
  • How building a shared perspective and understanding can help stakeholders make collaborative prioritization decisions
  • Using outcomes-based roadmaps to provide context for why the team is doing something and outline questions and risks


Watch the Full Episode

You can tune in to the full episode via the YouTube embed below.

Watch Episode Highlights

These are just a few of the highlights from this episode of The Innovation Engine, featuring Josh Seiden.


About The Innovation Engine

Since 2014, 3Pillar has published The Innovation Engine, a podcast that sees a wide range of innovation experts come on to discuss topics that include technology, leadership, and company culture. You can download and subscribe to The Innovation Engine on Apple Podcasts. You can also tune in via the podcast’s home on Spotify to listen online, via Android or iOS, or on any device supporting a mobile browser.