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Innovation in Product Management Will Unlock Potential for Technology –Adesanya

Lead Product Manager, Morgans Consortium Adeyinka Adesanya is a Nigerian-bred whose passion for innovation has landed her in the coveted position of product lead at Morgans Consortium, where she’s making waves from the heart of London, United Kingdom. A masterful conductor in the symphony of tech, Adesanya’s passion and attention to detail resulted in a remarkable command of process, strategy, and user experience. In an exclusive interview with Saturday Telegraph, the product management expert gave deep insight into how the sector is evolving in Nigeria and what it takes to be a successful product manager. Excerpts:

What inspired your journey into product management?

It wasn’t planned. After completing a degree in Mass Communication, I was drawn into the vibrant world of technology. Although the journey was not without its challenges, transitioning from Mass Communication to a tech-focused role required me to learn new skills and adapt to a different way of thinking. I spent countless hours studying, attending workshops, and seeking advice from industry experts to bridge the gap. Looking back on my journey, I am re- minded of the importance of staying open to new op- portunities and embracing challenges and opportuni- ties for growth. While my path into product management may have been unconventional, it has been a rewarding journey filled with learning, growing, and the thrill of bringing innovative ideas to life in the ever-evolving tech landscape of Nigeria. Alongside my journey, I’ve embraced pro- fessional development op- portunities by enrolling for a Masters degree in digital marketing from the Univer- sity of Huddersfield. That has equipped me with vital skills in product strategy and lifecycle management. These learning experiences have not only sharpened my expertise but have also connected me with a vibrant community of fellow prod- uct managers, where we share insights, collaborate on ideas, and mentor aspir- ing newcomers.

What’s your view on product management today?

Driven by a flourishing tech ecosystem and a growing number of startups, I would say that product management in Nigeria is rapidly evolving. Despite the challenges such as lim- ited funding, regulatory hurdles, and a shortage of experienced mentors, the field is maturing daily and Nigerian product manag- ers are gaining global rec- ognition by participating in international forums, and fostering a strong sense of community through professional groups and meetups.

Can you elaborate on the growth of product management in the country in recent years?

The growth of product management in Nige- ria over recent years has been a fascinating journey, shaped by pivotal experi- ences and evolving oppor- tunities in our tech land- scape. Starting out, I saw how startups emerged as agile problem-solvers, ea- ger to address local chal- lenges with cutting-edge products. Their success underscored the need for skilled product managers who could not only steer development but also ensure these solutions res- onated with users in our diverse market. The inte- gration of product man- agement into corporate structures has been cru- cial in fostering a culture of innovation and custom- er-centricity within estab- lished firms. This shift has been complemented by the global trend towards remote work, allowing me to collaborate with international teams and gain invaluable insights into global best practices. As an advocate for further growth, I see immense po- tential for product man- agement education in our universities. By embed- ding these principles into curricula, we can prepare future generations to ex- cel in this dynamic field and drive Nigeria’s tech industry forward. How- ever, amid these strides, I recognize there’s room for improvement. Great- er investment in training, stronger partnerships be- tween industry and aca- demia, and heightened awareness of the strategic value of product man- agement could propel us even further. Although, while our journey in product management has been promising, it’s clear that continued dedica- tion and innovation will be crucial to fully unlock- ing its potential as a cor- nerstone of Nigeria’s tech future. Despite the harsh economic environment in Nigeria over the years, the tech industry appears to be maintaining steady growth.

What factors can you ascribe to this?

A large, youthful, and tech-savvy population has driven demand for digital services, invigo- rating the tech ecosystem. Improvements in Internet and mobile phone access have expanded the reach and availability of these services. The fintech sec- tor has been a significant growth catalyst, achieving international recognition and attracting substantial investment. This success has drawn more venture capital and private equi- ty funding, providing the necessary resources for tech startups to expand and compete globally. In- novation hubs, incubators, and accelerators across Nigeria offer essential support, resources, and mentorship to startups, fostering a nurturing en- vironment for new ven- tures. The Nigerian dias- pora, particularly in tech hubs like Silicon Valley, has played a pivotal role by leveraging international connections to support lo- cal entrepreneurs. Despite economic difficulties, Ni- gerian tech entrepreneurs have shown remarkable resilience and adaptabil- ity, consistently creating solutions tailored to local needs. This entrepreneur- ial spirit ensures the tech sector not only survives but thrives, positioning it as a crucial driver of Nige- ria’s economic future.

Given your optimism on the growth of Nigeria’s tech space, what are your projections on the future of product management in this sector?

Looking ahead, I see a promising future for product management in Nigeria’s tech sector. As digital adoption acceler- ates across industries like finance, healthcare, and education, the demand for skilled product managers will rise sharply. Startups, known for their agility and problem-solving drive, will increasingly rely on product managers to shape market strategies and deliver im- pactful solutions swiftly. I believe in the importance of user-centric design, en- suring products resonate with Nigeria’s diverse pop- ulation. Continuous pro- fessional development and industry-specific training will be essential for stay- ing ahead in this evolving landscape. Government support for digital inno- vation and infrastructure development will create a fertile ground for product management excellence. Networking within product management communities and exploring global collab- orations will expand hori- zons, enriching skills and perspectives. In essence, the future of product man- agement in Nigeria will be defined by innovation, col- laboration, and a relentless pursuit of digital excellence, driving technological ad- vancement and economic growth. What would you advise an upcoming tech professional who intends to specialize in product management? Embrace an entrepre- neurial mindset. Seek men- torship from experienced product managers who understand the intricacies of Nigeria’s tech ecosystem. There is also a need for one to find a niche and develop strong communication skills in order to articu- late one’s vision clearly and gain buy-in from stakeholders. Also, lead- ership qualities will help to drive product strategies that resonate in a dynamic market.

What is the next big thing in the pipeline for you?

I have initiated collab- oration with Dr. Okorie, a senior lecturer in the De- partment of Engineering at the University of Exeter, as a strategic move to ad- vance my career in prod- uct management. I will tackle challenges head-on, ensuring the timely deliv- ery of top-quality software products. This partnership is a valuable opportunity for me to enhance my skills and knowledge in product management, supporting my long-term career growth. I also want to work with young people who are under- privileged in Africa and the United Kingdom. My goal is to provide them with the support and op- portunities they need to succeed. I believe in the potential of every young person, regardless of their background, and I am committed to making a positive impact on their lives. By offering mentor- ship, educational resourc- es, and access to technol- ogy, I hope to empower these young individuals to overcome challenges and achieve their full potential. My work with underpriv- ileged youth will focus on building their skills, boost- ing their confidence, and opening up pathways to better opportunities in ed- ucation and employment

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