Creating a Growth Vision

Dear Readers,

Over here at Pinterest, the Growth Design Team is in the thick of it this time of year. As we close out the year, we reflect on our accomplishments and learnings, and we begin to shift our focus towards planning for an inspiring 2022. We’re running both tactical brainstorms for the year ahead but also setting multi-year visions from a Growth first perspective.

In this newsletter, I will share three Growth vision case studies that delivered between 5-8% increases in sign-ups and engagement metrics.

Go forth and envision,

Allen Jordan, Lead Product Designer, Pinterest

Hold Up. Can Growth Design set Product Visions?

Growth Design can be just about running a lot of scrappy experiments. This type of work is about ideating incremental product changes prioritized by expected business impact. When you’re stuck in this mode, you’re going to start wondering, “where are all of these one-off experiments taking us?”

At Pinterest, Growth Design attempts to answer that by visualizing and setting a North star for the team to follow. We lay out a holistic strategy to ensure our Growth teams are focused on business success through the lens of user success.

So yes, Growth Design can lead product vision work! And I’ve come to learn it is a necessary foundation for performant Growth teams. I even predict it will be how Growth Design will provide the most value in the future as surfaces and experiences become hyper-optimized and hit their “Local Maxima”... And there just isn’t any more juice to squeeze from running small experiments and Growth teams learn they need to take on bigger risks and big bets.

Wait, What Exactly is a Product Vision Though?

Good question! A vision can be an aspirational design, flow, presentation, or it can even be as simple as a bold statement describing a future version of your product that solves both user and business problems. Growth teams often jump right into tactics and experiments, but having a vision sets a destination to guide all short and long-term work.

Below are some examples of recent work by the Pinterest Growth Design Team that show a range of approaches, timeframes, and outcomes for vision work.

Case Study #1

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Reimagining the Logged Out Product

  • Vision Timeframe: 1-2 year vision
  • Approach: Multi-week brainstorm and aspirational presentation share out
  • Method and outcome: Design leads Joana Monteiro and Michaela Tedore ran an immersive two week sprint similar to Google Ventures Design Sprint. Four breakout teams brainstormed based on user problem prompts and personas generating ideas in Figma with digital Post-It notes. Then, the teams took the individual ideas and paired them with themes and flows creating rough wireframes.

We reimagined a logged out vision that seamlessly transitioned to a logged-in experience upon signup. We added flesh to the previous barebones Pinterest landing pages that gave value to the user before they even signed-up.

One experience that shipped was having regular features such as “Save” and “Follow” on our logged out landing experiences. We did multiple follow-up experiments across several teams that ultimately unlocked “Save” and “Follow” as a drivers of 5% sign up growth.

Case Study #2

Mapping Growth Experiences to New Product Direction

  • Approach: Multi-day brainstorm and aspirational & tactical presentation share out
  • Vision Timeframe: 6 month - 1 year vision
  • Method and outcome: Pinterest recently launched some big changes like our new “Watch” tab where Creators publish inspiring content for Pinners with fully immersive video. In anticipation, the Growth Design Team had a two day sprint where we audited our growth experiences and brainstormed changes that needed to happen to map to our new product direction to include more Creator focused content.

We designed ideal flows without constraints and synthesized them into a short presentation which we shared at various all-hands meetings. Individual product teams used them to base their roadmaps on as well.

When we did the design sprint, there wasn’t a launch date in mind just yet for the new experiences. But we were ready when they were finally announced.  With a short launch runway, we just needed to do some polish to go live since we had been doing experiments for months already with early access users.

We were able to ship the immersive video feature education already optimized. For example, Pinners swipe up on a Creator’s video to get navigate to the next video. An animated gesture we tested outperformed a static icon providing an 8% lift in swipe-ups by Pinners.

The vision work allowed us to anticipate and plan ahead for big product changes.

Case Study #3

Visuals to pair with tactics in our roadmap

Visualizing the Activation Team’s Quarterly Roadmap

The Activation Team is what we call a mission within Growth (you might call it a squad or a tribe where you work.) We have a quarterly team brainstorm to generate ideas in a spreadsheet. We then upvote ideas asynchronously. This process helps us to flesh out our roadmap with the full working team.

After team brainstorms, I create visual design concepts to go with our roadmap for alignment. It's easier to analyze if there are any imbalances in our proposed work program when we can visually see the gist of what we're proposing.

We bucket efforts into three categories:

1. Foundations: Iterations on cross-platform, core journeys that have proven themselves out. Iterations on these lead to incremental wins. The logged-out experience from case study one is an example of this.

2. Investments: Promising areas where we've done some work that is starting to show metric wins. They need more iteration to get the most business value across all platforms. Iterations on investments sometimes have bigger wins as they haven't been hyper-optimized yet.

3. Big Bets: A new area of focus like building an entirely new channel to unlock an additional growth source. These normally come with huge wins or good learnings. Introducing Creator video in case study two is an example of this.

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Earlier this year, we noticed that we didn’t have enough Big Bets on our roadmap. In our Activation vision we have a product principle to be delightful and memorable. So I pitched the idea of testing sound and haptic feedback for our core features with new users to see if it would be more engaging. On Android, we saw over 228 million more saves for new users with haptic and sound feedback. Creating visual concepts for our roadmap allowed us to identify the need to take this bigger risk that paid off.

Closing Thoughts

Pitching and getting your Growth team or team at large on board to establish a short or long term vision can be a daunting task but it is totally worth the effort, since both your users and business will benefit from it in the long run. Try to figure out what kind of vision makes sense right now for your team, try to map the approach, vision timeframe and method when pitching as well. Sometimes you gotta just plant the seed of doing a vision and then find the right opportunity like during roadmapping to make it happen.

About the Author

Allen Jordan is the Growth Product Designer Manager at Pinterest where over his 5 year career there helped grow the Pinterest user base from 200 million to 498 million active users. This is his latest stop on the Silicon Valley circuit including past design roles at Opendoor, Google, Apple and Facebook. You can find Allen drawing on this wealth of experience and helping others in the Slack community.

Edited by Molly Norris Walker for If you want to be a guest writer, email