Thinking Big….

For those of you that don’t know, especially our non-Australian readers, the Australian government convened a Summit this weekend bringing together 1000 leading Australians to debate and discuss 10 topics of key interest for Australia. Topics of discussion range from the enviroment to the future of the arts, film and design. To quote the Rudd government, the objective of this debate is “to harness the best ideas across the nation” with a view to shape the “nation’s long-term direction from 2009 and beyond”.

The government is quite clear that this summit is “not a talkfest” but instead will formally respond to the ideas generated from the summit by the end of 2008.

You may ask why I would write about about the Australian 2020 Summit in a Product Management blog. Well… before I explain, I would like to applaud the Rudd government for firstly, being interested in the opinions of ordinary Australians and secondly, gathering people en mass with clear agendas and a structure for gathering these ideas.

The Summit if distilled down to its fundamental principles is about:

  1. Generating ideas from a diverse group of people
  2. Planning for the future
  3. Solving problems

Isn’t that what Product Managers do?

Aren’t we as Product Managers meant to:

  1. Gather different groups across the business that touch our product
  2. Workshop the problems they’ve heard or experienced about our product
  3. Generate the best ideas that can be used as a the basis for a solid product roadmap

Why aren’t we doing more of this?

If you are, I applaud you.

If you’re not, its time you set out to bring your support, sales, marketing and development teams together to have a well prepared “talkfest” with clear objectives and outcomes. Don’t create excuses for not holding “idea generation” workshops.

If the Australian government can attempt to “move” groups of people and mountains of bureacracy, so can a Product Manager!