Amen! This is a strange world at first blush but it makes sense. Why not help design those products and services you are passionate about? Why not get a reward for helping out with their design?
So here’s the thought. We’re living in a world of increasing interconnectedness: long value and supply chains, web services and cheap connectivity. But the corporate body hasn’t evolved along with it. I can’t penetrate the force shields of the Ford Motor Company and dive down to the product manager who decided to mess up the clean Euro design of the Focus when translating into supersize Americana. [This is nothing about Europe vs. US, by the way. It just works out that way in this one case.]
My cell phone, my car, my home, all the stuff I buy — I want to be able to make it better. I want to have a meaningful relationship with my personal suppliers. I want to see the translucent enterprise: not so transparent that they freak out, not so opaque as we have today.
I want to be able to go to the corporate web site, select any product or service, and be able to drill down. Interact with the product manager and marketing team. Tell them what’s wrong, what my unmet needs are. Do it directly, not just post up an unseen complaint on a random website.
In return, they keep me informed when my concerns are addressed in the next product iteration, give me priority access to new product, give me the inside track on other customers.
Crazy? You bet. But is it any madder than online banking and dating were twenty years ago?