The product community is a product development learning community designed specifically for associations. It marries what associations do well with the best in product development.

by: James Young

Greetings! Today, I’m excited to announce the grand opening of the product community! 

The product community is a product development learning community designed specifically for associations. It marries what associations do well (community building, purpose-driven work) with the best in product development (agile, customer-driven design that drives revenue). 

Like many things in life, the product community is an accumulation of my cares, interests, skills, and experience all of which align well with a gaping unmet need in the world of associations. How do we prepare for the future? How do we develop new products or programs? Who are our members and what do they want? How do we challenge our members in new ways? How do we create and diversify new revenue? How do we thrive long into the future?

The way to approach answering these questions is the product community. Here’s why I’m starting it and here’s why I’d like you to start one at your association: 

  1. People want to be connected. The product community is a learning community. The value proposition relies on focused dialogue, the usage of tools and activities to develop ideas, and learning to take these ideas to market with an engaged peer community’s input and support. Connection with focused purpose drives engagement. Executed in the right way, robust engagement drives revenue.
  2. There is an unmet need. Here’s some provable generalizations: associations need new revenue, associations struggle to understand their current and future market, the association business model is broken. Our goal with the product community is to channel the energy and drive of new ideas through a focused framework. The result? New products, more engagement, new revenue, new culture.
  3. Associations are the perfect industry. Associations are unique; they are anchored in purpose, they are volunteer-led, and they celebrate community. They produce content and choreograph events. They are also constrained and don’t have time to waste. They want focused action. Generating new ideas is never a problem; making the right investments and executing on those ideas is what the product community is about.
  4. Innovation is not departmental. Great learning is sticky, social, and longitudinal. Product communities work as they channel the best ideas through passionate people from different professional and personal lenses. Product communities break down organizational boundaries in order to get the best ideas to market efficiently and collaboratively.

That’s it for now. If you’re interested, please contact us!

About the Author

James Young is founder and chief learning officer of the Product Community®. Jim is an engaging trainer and leading thinker in the worlds of associations, learning communities, and product development. Prior to starting the Product Community®, Jim served as Chief Learning Officer at both the American College of Chest Physicians and the Society of College and University Planning.