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AI, Burnout & Sustainability: Insights from Product Leader Petra Wille

June 4, 2024

In today’s rapidly evolving technological landscape, few voices resonate as strongly as Petra Wille’s. As an independent product leadership coach, speaker, and author, Petra has dedicated her career to enhancing the skills of product professionals and guiding organisations toward outcome-oriented success. In this insightful interview, Petra shares her perspectives on the technological advancements poised to revolutionise the industry, the ethical considerations of AI, the evolution of remote work, the intersection of technology and sustainability, and valuable advice for newcomers in the field.

What new technology do you believe will have the biggest impact on the product development, marketing or tech world in the next 12 to 24 months?

The integration of AI and machine learning will have the most significant impact on product development, marketing, and technology in the next 12 to 24 months. These technologies enable predictive analytics, personalized customer experiences, and efficient automation, driving innovation and competitive advantage.

Considering recent advancements in AI, what are your thoughts on the ethical implications? From your perspective, what are the critical ethical challenges that need to be addressed as AI becomes more widespread?

The ethical implications of AI revolve around data privacy, bias, and transparency. As AI becomes more widespread, it is crucial to address these challenges by implementing robust data governance policies, ensuring algorithmic fairness, and maintaining transparency in AI decision-making processes.

From your own experience, how do you see the continuing evolution of remote work and its technologies impacting your own work-life balance?

Organizations are currently trying to get their employees back to the offices, but I believe they won’t succeed in the long term. Although the current job market might force employees to comply with back-to-office rules, this is unlikely to be the case in the future. Leaders should focus on human-to-human interactions in real life, especially for workshop scenarios, and invest in more community-building activities in person. However, I believe everyday work will still be done remotely or in a hybrid model.

Can you share a bold prediction about how you think technology and sustainability will intersect in the next ten years?

In the next ten years, I predict that technology and sustainability will intersect through the widespread adoption of smart grids and IoT devices that optimize resource usage. This will lead to more sustainable urban living and efficient energy management systems.

If you could implement changes to the way people work based on your own routines and practices, what specific adjustments would you make to improve productivity or well-being?

Oh, there’s so much to say about that and I’m afraid I can’t fit that in a short answer. If I need to it would be that: To improve productivity and well-being, I would implement flexible working hours and encourage regular breaks to avoid burnout. Additionally, promoting a culture of open communication, clear decision making responsibilities and providing access to wellness resources can significantly enhance employee satisfaction and productivity.

Reflecting on your own journey in your field, what is one piece of advice you would give to someone who is just starting out?

For someone just starting out in the field, my advice is to stay curious and embrace continuous learning. Building a strong network and seeking mentorship can also provide valuable insights and support as you navigate your career journey.

And if we are talking product leaders I do have a nice collection of advice for them here.


Petra Wille is an independent product leadership coach, speaker, and author passionately dedicated to helping product people get better at what they do.

After the success of her coaching card deck #52questions and her first book, STRONG Product People: A Complete Guide to Developing Great Product Managers, she recently released her next book, STRONG Product Communities.

Since 2013, Petra has been helping product teams enhance their abilities and guiding product leaders to build outcome-oriented product organizations.

In addition to her coaching and writing endeavors, Petra co-organizes Product at Heart, a conference for curious product people in Hamburg, Germany.

Petra Wille’s Turing Fest talk: Lessons on Storytelling for Product Builders

Most product builders know that storytelling is essential to convincing a team to use their skills and knowledge to solve a difficult problem.

But many product people struggle to build that muscle. This is especially challenging when your inner critic is telling you that you are not a great storyteller. Join this session if you are one of these product folks with a malicious voice in your head telling you your storytelling isn’t good enough.

Petra will talk about the power of stories and why she calls them a design tool. Plus, she will share hands-on tips and proven frameworks to improve your storytelling capabilities.

Why focus on storytelling? With better stories, it will be much easier for you to:

Inspire your product development team
Unite stakeholders
Ask senior management for more budget
Help marketing sell the product
And most importantly, help users understand the value your product can add to their lives.

View the 2024 agenda here.

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