Following up from my previous post about LinkedIn Delta, I am thinking of an open source, let's make the world better model of product management. What if there is an open community of product managers, who work on product ideas for a big ideas? Ideally, you want this group to be focussed on big hairy problems (wicked problems, etc) but nothing stops the group from focussing on products that they love already and motivated to improve.
The premise is that we use a product because we find value in it. And, we know what will make the product better. And, we can talk to our friends and people we know, who use the product to validate if our hypothesis is right. This is classic product work anyway. But the change is that we will apply our product thinking to the products we use even if we are not directly responsible to make that product better. It is 'acting like an owner' approach to the products we use.
It is similar to open source in software, where a tribe comes together to solve a software problem. But unlike software, there is very little structure and the outcome is not tangible. And, this will be a thought exercise to begin with. But, I feel that a path will emerge out of all that thinking to either improve an existing product or create an altogether new product.
The reward model is tricky. In software open source, the reward is usually a sense of gratification, connection with community, shipping code, etc. In a product design open source model, I don't know what can be a tangible gratification. But unless we experiment with this model, we won't know.