Three ways to generate ideas to lead a Product Camp topic

Francis stared at the blank Google Form. She felt excited for the upcoming Product Camp on July 13th. Having worked in Product Management for four years, she wanted to lead a session, but she didn't know how to choose a topic.

"Do I talk about my team's new customer interview script? What about best practices with Jira? Would talking about my department's KPIs for Q3 spur discussion? What am I missing?"

She needed a way to both explore the breadth of ideas for a break out session, as well as narrow her ideas around a topic.

Here are three ways she used to help explore ideas:

Try Po Creativity researcher Edward DeBono developed Po to help move ideas beyond stopping points. Take a casual statement. Hold that idea in mind as true, and move the ideas forward.

An example: We're seeing contradictory customer feedback on our new product because of pre-sales commitments.

  • Market the product as two separate products.
  • Develop more personas from the feedback.
  • Split the app into two apps.
  • Charge different prices for the app.

Ask a hundred questions Creativity researcher Michael Gelb suggests an exercise where you list 100 questions on any topic, in one sitting. Try making a list of 100 questions around a product related topic.

On your review of the questions, you'll find the more obvious topics in the first 20 or so questions. You'll find deeper themes and more profound insights in the latter half of your list.

Free writing Take pen and paper. Set a timer on your phone or computer for 10 minutes and start writing. You keep writing until your timer stops. On review of your writing, note the themes that you've recorded.

By using these methods, Francis generated dozens of ideas for breakout session topics. How would she narrow them down to one or two that she wanted to submit as a topic to lead?

Stay tuned for our next post to find out.

Lino Jimenez

Four reasons to sign up for Product Camp Chicago

You’re in your office on a Thursday afternoon when a product manager co-worker of yours comes up to you to chat. Arun tells you he signed up for Product Camp Chicago’s event next month and asked if you were going. You don’t remember much about Product Camp, so you duck his reply and say you’ll get back to him later.

Product Camp Chicago, you think to yourself. You remember they hosted a summer event in 2015, but haven’t heard from them since. So, you wonder, what do I get by going? What's in it for me?

Consider these four reasons to go to Product Camp Chicago at Braintree on July 13th.

  1. Novelty. The attendees drive the evening. You like what see as a breakout session topic? Vote on it. Don’t see a topic on the list that should be? Submit one that you could lead. Because we drive the agenda, topics remain dynamic and relevant.

  2. Networking. Come meet new Product Managers across different domains, with different experience levels. We’re all one community and we’ve all come to learn.

  3. Price. The event costs $0, only your time, and you’ll make up for the time in networking with other product people.

  4. Place. Braintree’s office is beautiful. See for yourself. Better yet, see it in person by attending.

You get home from work and you’re sold. You’ve signed up for ProductCamp Chicago. You’re feeling great about meeting other Product people and learning more about the breakout sessions.

We’ll see you there.

Lino Jimenez

Organizer, Product Camp Chicago