- Sep 2020
“Working backwards” from customer needs can be contrasted with a “skills-forward” approach where existing skills and competencies are used to drive business opportunities. The skills-forward approach says, “We are really good at X. What else can we do with X?” That’s a useful and rewarding business approach. However, if used exclusively, the company employing it will never be driven to develop fresh skills.
This reminds me of the Product Management interview task of coming up with a new product. You can start with a SWOT analysis, but then you'd be missing out on thinking from the customer's point of view.
Bezos calls the former the skills-forward approach, and the latter the working backwards approach.