How do you empower your whole team or company to contribute product ideas?

Many of the best product ideas don’t come from the product managers; they come from a diverse set of backgrounds and understanding of the users. Whether you’re a founder or a product manager, you’ll benefit tremendously from effectively harnessing and synthesizing ideas from engineers, designers, marketers, analysts, customer support reps, and beyond.

Below are a few approaches that have worked well for us:

  • Set the Context — Arm your team with the context you have: market dynamics and competitive landscape, KPIs (why they matter and how they connect to the product and the work), and qualitative and quantitative data you have about your users. Establishing a baseline around business goals and user understanding is the foundation for any good product idea.
  • Transparency — Open up your roadmap (and how the roadmap comes together)! When the team understands the ideas that have been considered (and rejected/accepted as a result of X,Y, or Z), they feel more comfortable bringing new ideas to you.
  • User-friendly Brainstorms — Some people are shy, and some people are not as good at articulating their ideas in words. You can facilitate brainstorms that break down communication barriers by putting out problem statements (e.g. “How might we help users do X?”) and having everyone draw out their ideas in quick 10-minute sessions.
  • Access — Make sure everyone in the company knows how to reach out to your product team (or you as the product-focused founder). Create dedicated occasions that make you/your product team accessible (e.g. office hours, lunch and learns about the latest features, etc.).

Are you a founder working on the first draft of your product, looking for investment and advising? Check us out at co-op.vc