Open-Source Product Development II

Last fall, I pointed out that video game makers were starting to open their development processes so customers — gamers — could actually modify their products… and help develop their own.

Now a newspaper, the Columbia Missourian, is doing much the same. Rather than redesigning the newspaper internally — or using the workaday focus groups to help decide on design improvements — the paper opened its redesign to its readers.

Not only is the paper publishing various versions of its Sunday edition to see what appeals to people most, it published editions with blank pages — asking readers to help redesign the paper, as well.

Readers were encouraged to “help create a new publication.” One instruction read: “Draw. Doodle. Design. Turn the pages upside down or sideways if you want.”

One major change is that the Sunday paper will now be a tabloid, while the daily remains a broadsheet. When was the last time you or your own organization drew on the experience and idea of clients and customers?