About the Product Community®

The product community® is a product development learning community designed specifically for associations. It is a new concept to enhance engagement, grow revenue, and transform culture.  Product communities do this by leveraging existing value and channeling this value into new products, experiences, and programs. 

The product community® taps what associations do best: build communities around a strong purpose and combines it with product design principles that push the association to think differently about customer understanding, member needs, and value creation in a way that both enhances connection and creates new revenue. 






Frequently Asked Questions


What is the product community®?

A product development learning community designed specifically for associations.


What differentiates the product community®?

  • Unique. The only one of its kind.
  • Curriculum. Live, facilitative, competency-based, experiential, and tool-based.
  • Usable outcomes. Learn to build a new, market-ready product.
  • New business model. Understand and reach your customers more efficiently.
  • Framework. Reusable product framework and repeatable processes.
  • Culture-building. Community creates buy-in, focus, and momentum.

What is a product? Can you give me some examples?

Anything of value produced by an association. Common association example products include events, podcasts, webinars, or membership. 

Product community® examples are any common association example built on a product framework that leverages underutilized value, extends possibility, and allows for the creation of endless, focused spinoffs. 

  • E-Learning. Collection of curated content tailored to your needs. Can be delivered in varying lengths bundled by theme.
  • Tool Subscription. Practical tools delivered via email to foster engagement. Includes video intros and is linked to questions.
  • Interactive, Orientation Game. Help socialize new members by gamifying boring content.

What are the outcomes of the product community®?

  • A fully-functional product community® for an association.
  • Diversified revenue through product development and the four dimensions of growth: discover for growth, build for growth, deliver for growth, and measure for growth.
  • A ready-for-market product with accompanying business model, product roadmap, go-to-market plan, and growth plan.
  • Durable access to diverse peers and practical tools to build knowledge and community.
  • A transformed culture around the new imperative for robust community and agile responsiveness.

What are the product community® competencies?

There are six Product Community® competencies, designed specifically for professional associations:

  1. Culture – Products are team-based
  2. Vision – Products are anticipatory
  3. Customer – Products are learner-centric
  4. Design + Build – Products are optimized
  5. Go to market – Products are expansive
  6. Performance – Products are indispensable

The competencies are accompanied with the Product Community® Maturity Model, which acts as a way to anchor current state, gauge progress, and achieve outcomes.


What is the duration of the product community® cohort?

The product community® is a yearlong cohort program, divided into quarterly themes which take about 3 months each. Each of these quarterly themes is a considered a dimension of growth: discover for growth, build for growth, deliver for growth, and measure for growth.

The cohort meets 3 times a month for approximately one hour. There are specific required activities, assignments, and things to consume. 


How much time will I need to allot in order to be successful in the cohort?

This is job related work. Google’s famous 20% rule dictates the number of working hours that should be spent on innovation. About 15 hours a month, 3 hours in the live course and another 12 or so reading, engaging, and completing assignments.


Describe the product community® curriculum.

The product community® is a fully built, live, yearlong curriculum anchored by six competencies, learning objectives, readings, videos, podcasts, assessments, and tools.

The curriculum is reconfigurable to meet the needs of learners. That is, we can adapt the curriculum to your association’s needs in time (1 hour, half day, one month, three months, etc.) or topic (a particular area of emphasis which you’d like to focus: product marketing, pricing, culture-building, etc.)

Cohort. In each of the three live meetings per month, participants consume content, participate in the session, apply a model or framework, and continually build a product relevant to their association.


What is the return on investment for joining the product community®?

We base the product community® ROI on responses to the following seven questions

  1. What does it cost, and how long does it take, to get a new product to market?
  2. How many people does it take to get a new product to market?
  3. How precise is your product market fit?
  4. What is your yearly spend on professional development and what is your return on this spend?
  5. Is your product portfolio built on a repeatable product framework?
  6. What is the average salary of a product owner/manager?
  7. How much would your organization have to spend on product ownership experience to receive similar services?

How do you measure the success of the product community®?

The product community® is designed as outcome-based. There are the multiple ways in which we will measure progress, success, and outcomes: 

  • Quantitative Measures.
    1. Quarterly outcomes 
    2. Alignment assessment 
    3. Participant satisfaction 
    4. Community evaluations 
  • Qualitative Measures. 
    1. Product Community® Maturity Model
    2. Program outcomes 
    3. Knowledge recall 
    4. Product portfolio assessment
  • Durable Growth Measures. 
    1. Revenue growth 
    2. Revenue diversification
    3. Number of products 
    4. Number of product variants 
    5. Number of learners / members 
    6. Time to market. 
    7. Product pipeline. 
    8. Product lifecycle.



James Young builds cultures of innovation by uniting diverse communities around exciting ideas. He specializes in product strategy, learning communities, story branding, and transformative growth for associations and nonprofits.

He served as Senior VP and Chief Learning at the American College of Chest Physicians and Chief Learning Officer at the Society of College and University Planning. He also served as Chief of Staff at Lehigh University, founding Chief Information Officer at Harrisburg University of Science and Technology, and worked in learning communities for ten years at George Mason University. He earned degrees from George Mason University, the University of Michigan, and Michigan State University.

Advisory Board

Faigy Gilder
Strategic Communications Consultant
Bergen County, New Jersey

Isaac Shalev
Cary, North Carolina

Tom Lietz
Tell Stories
Farmington, Michigan

Jason Slipp
Associate Director – Design
Coopersburg, Pennsylvania

Tim McGeary
Associate University Librarian
Duke University
Durham, North Carolina

Stephen Spohn
Executive Director
Ocean State Libraries
Warwick, Rhode Island

Cheryl Myers
Web Strategy
Grand Rapids, Michigan

Barbara Silverstone
Executive Director Emerita
New York, New York

Daniel Young
Executive Director
Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan
Midland, Michigan

Kent Pickett
Northwest Tool and Machine
Jackson, Michigan


With Jim and his team’s coaching and guidance, association professionals will learn to nurture an innovation culture that is integrated with a methodical approach to developing, launching and scaling products that their membership and stakeholders will love.

– Isaac Shalev

Jim has channeled his passions and experience into a new enterprise called the product community, an exciting new take on infusing innovation into associations. Jim is as accessible and fun as he is serious about training and creating healthy, growth organizations.

– Elizabeth Bernard

Jim Young is a serial entrepreneur always at the forefront of what’s coming. True to form, this unique venture links the best of strategy and culture to build vibrant communities of practice around new product development. Jim is a master at building teams and designing strategies that demonstrate a deep understanding of how to bridge purpose, superior focus, and growth.

– Stephen Spohn, Jr.

The product community is a visionary concept, led capably by a proven entrepreneur. Jim and his team lead with insight, empathy, knowledge, and foresight. Associations need a shakeup. The world is changing rapidly, time is precious, and new constraints emerge daily. Employing a product strategy is an investment you can’t afford to bypass.

– Eric Wight

Jim and his team are professional, accessible, decisive, and results-driven. I’ve worked directly with Jim on multiple high-profile, sensitive, and complex projects. Jim brings a unique and actionable yet strategic mindset that marries big ideas and successful execution.

– Tina Miller

Learn More

    Get Started


    Product Community®

    Insights Newsletter

    Weekly content on association product communities.

    • Timely + authoritative
    • Help shape the dialogue
    • Build + sustain momentum
    • Immediately applicable
    Starting at $495

    Product Community®


    Live + engaging 4-6 hour workshops or 3 month courses.

    • Learn about: positioning, pricing, growth + scale, competition, business models, and go to market
    • Experiential + case-based
    • Collaborative + applied
    • Immediately usable
    • Gain access to like-minded innovators
    Starting at $7495

    Product Community®

    Yearlong Cohort Experience

    Our premier, highest impact offering.

    Learn more
    • Learn + apply the Product Community® framework.
    • Develop +  bring to market new products
    • Master the 6 competencies
    • Create repeatable processes to extend value long after the experience
    • Join a perpetual innovation community