This brainstorming interview question tests whether you can think outside the box and develop creative, relevant, and novel ideas. Since product managers are responsible for product vision, the interviewer wants to see whether your ideas tend to be more of the same or whether you possess divergent thinking. Use the following brainstorming framework to help you be creative in your answer.
The interviewer is evaluating you on the following:
- Are you creative?
- Can you generate new ideas?
- When producing ideas on the spot, do you enjoy the challenge or give up under pressure?
- Can you think outside the box?
- Are you articulate?
Train Yourself to Be More Creative
Creativity is a skill you can develop with practice. Make time every day to look for a product or service and practice ideation by applying the concepts from SCAMPER. SCAMPER is a technique to generate multiple and different ideas.
The name mnemonic stands for the actions:
S — Substitute something.
C — Combine it with something else.
A — Adapt something to it.
M — Magnify or Modify it.
P — Put it to another use.
E — Eliminate something.
R — Reverse or Rearrange it.
SCAMPER aims to apply the actions to an existing product or service to generate new ideas for products, services or processes. Read “Scamper: How to Use the Best Ideation Methods” to learn more.
Before brainstorming, it is helpful to start by describing the product or service’s attributes. These attributes, together with SCAMPER, will trigger associations that you can use to generate new ideas.
Here is a suggestion on how to structure your process:
- Describe the product or service: Mention the key attributes of the product or service.
- Generate new ideas based on associations: Use the key product attributes and each letter of the SCAMPER acronym to aid you in generating more ideas about new products or services.
- Recommend ideas (optional): Based on some criteria (e.g., cost, complexity, demand, etc.), recommend your best idea.