As a Chief Product Officer or Product Lead you’ll be expected to guide an organisation and your team to success through leadership, process and often innovation. There is an inherent expectancy that as a product leader you should be ahead of the curve, knowing what’s around the corner and when to bring some of that future thinking into play. But how do you decipher genuine innovation from overhyped fads?


Blockchain: Beyond the Hype

Blockchain, hailed as a revolutionary force, promised transparency, security, and efficiency in various sectors. The allure of an immutable ledger in supply chain management, decentralised financial systems, and enhanced data security captured the imagination of businesses worldwide.

However, the practical implementation of blockchain has revealed challenges. Scalability issues, energy consumption, and the gap between potential and real-world applications have emerged. The question looms: Can blockchain fulfil its promises or has it become an overhyped solution in search of a problem?

Blockchain technology has discovered compelling applications across various industries, ushering in transformative changes. In supply chain management, companies like IBM are using blockchain to enhance traceability and transparency, reducing the risk of fraud and errors.

In the financial sector, Ripple‘s blockchain solutions streamline cross-border payments, enabling faster and more cost-effective transactions.

Healthcare is also embracing blockchain, with projects like Medicalchain securing patient records and ensuring data integrity.

Real estate is witnessing innovations through platforms like Propy, which leverages blockchain for transparent and efficient property transactions.

These examples underscore how blockchain’s decentralised and secure nature is reshaping industries, offering tangible benefits and solving real-world challenges.


AI: Cutting Through the Buzzwords

Artificial Intelligence (AI), once a futuristic concept, has evolved into a practical tool with applications ranging from predictive analytics to natural language processing. The transformative impact of AI on decision-making processes and efficiency in various industries is undeniable.

However, the buzz surrounding AI can create unrealistic expectations. To truly harness the power of AI, Product Leaders must go beyond the buzzwords. Some recent applications of AI have proven the direct correlation between pushing this technology and real world benefits. 

In South Africa, AI is being used to help fight spatial apartheid. Townships get little by way of public resources compared with rich suburbs. By mapping the problem, researchers like Raesetje Sefala hope to reverse it.

A new AI-based risk prediction system could help catch deadly pancreatic cancer cases earlier. The PRISM AI system uses data from millions of patients to help identify those likely to develop the most common form of the disease.


Quantum Computing: A Closer Look

Quantum computing stands at the forefront of technological innovation, promising to solve complex problems at an unprecedented scale. From simulating molecular structures for drug discovery to optimising supply chains, the potential applications seem limitless.

Yet, the current state of quantum computing raises questions. Is this technology ready for widespread adoption, or are we still in the early stages of a quantum revolution?


5G: Beyond the Need for Speed

The rollout of 5G promised not just faster internet but a connectivity revolution impacting various sectors, from smart cities to autonomous vehicles. The potential for enhanced data transfer and reduced latency seemed unparalleled.

But the huge promises have not materialised with consumers wondering what on earth they have been paying for.



Betting on the latest tech is always risky. In truth, the adoption of any technology should be secondary to understanding the problem you’re trying to solve and the real jobs users need to accomplish. Often technology might help to underpin economies of scale or accelerate tasks but may not directly solve the issues at hand. As product leaders we need to have a deep understanding of our users and products to see if something around the corner might drive efficiencies, transformation or even new product growth areas within our product suite.

By scrutinising these tech trends, we can ensure that our resources are directed toward solutions that genuinely enhance our products and services.