5 09, 2013

Frank Mini-Me Piller: Get Yourself 3D-Printed, Keep Your Young Self Forever

By | 2018-06-14T06:33:55+00:00 September 5th, 2013|3D Printing, Cases-Consumer, Customization Trends, Design, Fabbing, Technologies & Enablers, Virtual Models|

Doob 3d printing
has developed far beyond a trend by now. Potential applications are manifold, ranging from medical gear to entire houses. And now you can even have a detailed replica of yourself printed in a variety of sizes, a kind of 3D printed Mini-Me, to give it away to your friends or just place on your shelve to keep a memory of your young, energetic self for the decades to come.

In Germany, there are several companies offering this service. I used Doob, or Deep End Productions, located in Duesseldorf, Germany. Founded by Vladimir Puhalac and Torsten Bernasco Lisboa, the companys offers 3D photographs to everyone. While standard sizes go from 15 to 30 coms, you can also get a lifesize figure (for 15K Euro onwards, the 30cm version go for about 300 Euros).

All you have to do is to show up in their studio and be photographed from all sides, simultaniously, by a 50 cameras (this process is called Photogrammetry"). These pictures than are transferred into a 3D model, which then is hand-modelled into the final 3D file. This file then is placed on a standard 3D systems prototyoing machine that can print in full color.

The founders are coming from the medical field and have a strong background in 3d modelling. Their first company is providing replicas of ears, noses, and breasts to unfortunate patients who lost these bodyparts. With this background, they discovered the stereo litography, and developed a quite efficient procedure to develop your "doppelgänger". After the photograph, a 3D model is created that then is manually prepared for the final print. While the later procedure takes about 2 hours, I believe it can be brought down.

They now opened a first store in Duesseldorf, but plan to enter the US and Japanese market, too, within the next months.

The result is really stunning, and while I belive that in general people like to see themselves, it really is a great feeling to have yourself as a mini-figure. But also everyone else found this really cool.

This is why I believe that this kind of 3D printing service may become the killer application that makes 3D printing a mainstream business application:

  • Established market. Our parents all used to go once every few years to a professional photographer for a family picture. While this market has almost disappeared, this 3D printing service may foster its revival.
  • Fast. The print is based on a photograph, not a 3D scan. This means you can also have a child, dog, or something similar quickly moving on your arm.
  • The quality is really stunning. You can see the pattern of your t-shirt or even your tatoo perfectly (I almost feel sorry that I did not have a tatoo to be printed on my figure).
  • Prices will go down rapidely. While the current price of 200-300 Euros is quite high, there is plenty of room for adjustments (I estimate that material costs are below 10 Euro).
  • There are many more options for business model innovation: You and your favorite soccer star in one print; you and your baby belly (very popular with German moms to be); the partners of a law firm greeting their clients on the reception desk, you holding a poster and a bunch of flowers proposing to your wife to be, …
  • Local production: While delivery in the moment takes a couple a weeks and is done in a central facility, production can be brought down to a couple of hours, opening an entire new market in malls and amusement parks.

So when you have the chance and like to experience a reall fun application of 3D printing, then get your doob, too.

Update: Here are some other posts about this technology and the picture taking:

Captured Dimensions and Twinkind (similar services)

– Report about COKE Israel advertising campaign featuring Mini-figures


15 07, 2013

[Featured Research] User Generated Brands and their Contribution to the Diffusion of User Innovations

By | 2018-06-14T06:34:20+00:00 Juli 15th, 2013|Co-creation, Design, Featured Research, Research Studies|

Continuing our mini-series on noteworthy research from around the world, today we feature new work by Johann Füller, Roland Schroll and Eric von Hippel who show that usersnot just are the source of most innovation, but also can create powerful brands

ResearchUser Generated  Brands and their Contribution to the Diffusion of User Innovations
, by Johann Füller, Roland Schroll, Eric von Hippel

Published in: Research Policy, Volume 42, Issues 6–7, July–August 2013, Pages 1197–1209

Available on: ScienceDirect.com


(based on the abstract)

It has been argued that users can create innovations
and also diffuse them peer-to-peer independent of support or involvement
by producers
: that “user-only” innovation systems can exist. It is
known that users can be incented to innovate via benefits from in-house

But users’ incentives to invest in diffusion are much less clear:
benefits that others might obtain from their innovation can be largely or entirely an externality for user innovators.

course, effective distribution of information products can be done
near-costlessly via posting downloadable content – for example, software
– on the Internet. However, potential adopters must still learn about
the product and trust its qualities.

In producer systems, this aspect of
diffusion is heavily supported via the creation of trusted brands. It
has been shown that brands help to increase awareness, to communicate a
product's benefits, and to reduce perceived risks of adoption. The
development of brands by producers is traditionally seen as a very
costly exercise
– unlikely to be thought of as worthwhile by users who
expect little or no benefits from the diffusion of their innovations to

In this paper the authors explore the creation of a strong and trusted
brand by the Apache software community
– and find it was created
costlessly, as a side effect of normal community functioning. The authors think
the costless creation of strong brands is an option that is
generally available to user innovation communities. As they 
propose, it supports the existence of robust, user-only innovation systems by
helping to solve the problem of low-cost diffusion of trusted
user-developed innovations.

8 07, 2013

Amoonic Continues to Excell in Custom Jewellery, Pulled In Huge Investment

By | 2018-06-14T06:46:54+00:00 Juli 8th, 2013|Cases-Industrial, Design, MC/OI on the Web, Personalization|

AmoonicLast year at pretty much this time we published an interview with Sabine Linz of Amoonic, a company offering customized jewellery from all price ranges online. Fortunately, Amoonic has not suffered the same fate that many startups do, making critical mistakes and disappearing after a short period of existance. In fact, Amoonic just announced that Business Angel Marlon Ikels, the man behind galleryy.net, has invested a six-digit amount into the future expansion of the company. You can download the official press release here (in German).

Sabine_linzThis gave us the opportunity to interview Sabine once again, asking about the development of the past year and the future of mass customized jewellery.

FTP: Sabine, it has been about a year since our last
interview about Amoonic. How have things developed since then?

SL: In the
meantime we broadened our designer product range by a huge variety of jewellery
pieces. In addition to that, the technology in the background was enhanced a
lot. For example an open configurator was added to simplify the customization process
for our customers. Another example is the new 3D product preview. We developed
some great cooperations within the jewellery online market. Besides we tested a
lot on our website and developed a new system for producing jewellery in a
digital way.

FTP: How do you see the market for mass customized
goods today?

SL: I think,
today mass customized goods are not simply a trend anymore, you can find them
everywhere and people love them. Customization is now a well-established
approach and customized goods have become more or less mainstream. People nowadays
expect to be able to customize their products.

FTP: Can you go into a bit of detail on what you
want to do with the huge investment you got? What are your plans?

SL: Since a lot
of work on the technology side was done over the last year we are in the lucky
position to be able to invest most of the money in Marketing. We like to see
Amoonìc expand more and more to be internationally known as soon as possible.

FTP: You mentioned that Amoonic now offers
individually crafted jewellery on request. Can you tell us which diamond dreams
you can make a reality?

SL: In
principle, everything is possible. Our motto is: “If you can dream it, you can
do it”. But of course, any technical details have to be considered J . Our customers enjoy the freedom to
make their dreams come true and our designers are ready to assist them in case
of questions. More and more people use this opportunity and also the B2B sector
is highly interested in purchasing customized goods for their clients.

FTP: Any tips you can give entrepreneurs who want to
venture into any niche of mass customized products or services?

SL: Keep
smiling, be smart and exhaustless. Honestly, it is important not only to focus
on a configurator. Show all products on your web presence, give examples and
don´t let the user think. Furthermore, in my opinion, an extraordinary customer
support is more than a requirement today!

FTP: Are you looking for any specialists to expand
your team within the next time?

SL: We are
always looking for specialists. Good people are hard to find. Our new partner
and Business Angel, Marlon Ikels, is an ecommerce expert and we are more than
happy to have him in our team. Among others, he is founder of www.galleryy.net. He´s great and it is always good to get more
knowledge. We love to work with him.

 More about Amoonic on www.amoonic.de

4 02, 2013

Lego CUUSOO: How Lego Turns Your Ideas Into Cubic Reality

By | 2018-05-07T15:19:22+00:00 Februar 4th, 2013|Cases-Consumer, Co-creation, Crowdsourcing, Design, MC Alternatives, Open/User Innovation, Technologies & Enablers|

LEGO's Factory (later called "LEGO Design by me") has been one of the pioneers of mass customization.However, times change and Lego closed this "build on demand site" about a year ago and focused entirely on customer co-creation in the innovation process.

For this, they are partnering with CUUSOO; the mother of all crowdsourcing sites for product development (we described them in our 2006 paper on Threadless already!).

The project is called Lego CUUSOO and wors fairly simple: Everybody can submit an idea of what he would deem a great Lego product. Customers get to vote online and if the proposal gets sufficient buyer pledges the company turns it into reality and produces the toy.

Noew, there is a nice video giving more detail on this idea, it makes you instantly grab a pen and paper and start drawing your own powertoy idea…


12 11, 2012

[Market Watch] Open Runway: A Women’s Customization Paradise

By | 2018-06-14T06:49:40+00:00 November 12th, 2012|Cases-Consumer, Clothing, Design, Footwear, Personalization|

Open Runway #logoCertainly, vendors offering individualized shoes and handbags are not a truly new concept. But some do it better than others, at the very least in terms of configurator-usability.

One such example is Open Runway, a company founded by Monika Desai, one of the strong members of the Boston mass customization community.  Open Runway lets you crate individual shoes (soon) and handbags (now) and have them manufactured from scratch.

The web-interface is, as said, really convinient to use. You pick one of several base models, represented as silhouettes, decide which material and color individual parts such as heels, trims, straps etc should be in and see the results of your decisions in realtime on your screen.

As you can tell from the two images below, the process of designing is fairly simple even for men. Manufacturing time is announced to be 8 weeks, but if you have the chance to get the shoe or handbag, you have always wanted, what is two more months? (even if we know from our research that a delivery time of two weeks really improves the turnover rate .. so here is room for improvement for Monika).

Open Runway Shoe
Open Runway Bag

More about Open Runway on their website. I am curious to see how this develops and fits into teh recent trend of strong investments into custom fashion sites.

5 11, 2012

Lumographics: 3D Configurators in Mass Customization [Interview]

By | 2018-06-14T06:49:54+00:00 November 5th, 2012|Design, Interview, Personalization, Technologies & Enablers, Virtual Models|

LumologoSeeing is believing. This old yet certainly often correct phrase describes one of the phenomena of human psychology: No matter how great your product is, no matter how well you describe it in text, one subpar image can ruin the entire impression and make your would-be customer decide against the purchase.

This is especially true when it comes to products for which buying decision is mainly based on aesthetics. Customers usually (more or less) instantly recognize what they like but are often bad at describing it with words – or transforming a product description into a mental picture of the product.

Mass customized products add to this by putting the "burden" of design into the customers hands, enabling him to decide which combination of design factors looks best – and, forcing him to do so.

 3D visualizations as part of a configurator is one option companies have to make life a bit easier for their clients and increase chances to sell a product. Well visulized products give an instant idea of what one will gain for his money and how it will change with different options selected. As with most configurator-related things, though: If it is being done the right way.

Since 3D modeling and the required software coding is certainly not easy, seeking professional help is usually a good idea. One such company to assist mass customization ventures in presenting their products in the right light is LumoGraphics.

Being in the business of professional-grade 3D configuration systems since 1998, the German company works for industry mayors such as Mercedes-Benz, helping them to visualize their line of buses in full 3D.

Marc HerlingMarc Herling, CEO of LumoGraphics and speaker at the MC2012 conference in June, was kind enough to answer some of our questions about 3D modeling as a service, as a business model, as an enabler and how mass customization companies can profit from it.

FTP: Marc, your company Lumo Graphics offers
completely individualized 3D products visualization, which is a good example
for service customization. What kinds of services and products do you
offer and how far can they be individualized to each client of yours?

MH: Lumo
Graphics offers solutions for 3D visualization and configuration based on our
standard platform LumoLogic. With LumoLogic users can combine their complex
product structure and variants with the configuration logic and a real-time 3D visualization.
Besides the services for project management and support Lumo Graphics also
offers additional tools like LumoLogic DataPreparator for process integration
and LumoVis as a 3D visualization engine.

FTP: Can you tell a bit about what you have in store
for companies?

MH: Lumo
Graphics works for a lot of customers especially in the complex B2B area. They
all like the integrated and complete solution of Lumo Graphics with 3D
visualization, configuration management and data integration. With Lumo
Graphics companies can avoid failures in the implementation of a 3D
configurator, because of our one stop shopping approach.

FTP: In your presentation at the MC2012 you used the
term YGWYW (You Get What You Want), as an evolvement of the classical WYSIWYG
(What You see Is What You Get). Can you tell more about how 3D imagery changes
the product/buying experience for shoppers when using online configurators?

MH: It is
widely known that seeing is believing. We also quite often talk about that an
image is worth more than 1000 words. So if a customer decides for a complex and
often expensive product he needs a qualitative decision support that is given
by 3D visualization. Products are not only being sold by a rational decision
process but quite often by an emotional aspect, especially in aesthetical
design decisions. 3D visualization also helps customers to understand the
overall possibilities of a product and its variants. So at the end the customer
will get a compelling impression of its own product and forces a correct and a
comprehensible decision.

FTP: Getting a really professional 3D visualization
is most likely more expensive than having a photographer shooting my products.
For which companies do you think these additional costs are outweighing by the
added value of 3D imagination? In other words: For whom are the costs worth it?

MH: If a
company sells products with no or only limited variants than it may be cheaper
to hire a photograph. But in a case that your products have a lot of variants
then it is impossible for a photographer to cover all of them in a given
timeframe and budget. And you always need to wait until the product exists. With
software like that of Lumo Graphics you will be able to manage thousands of
variants and their graphical representation quite easily.

FTP: Do you think 3D product demonstration is
especially suited for MC companies because of the fact that consumers (=
non-professional designers) are integrated into the product design process?

MH: Absolutely.
You have millions of possibilities for a 3D visualization especially in e-commerce.
MC companies need to have a graphical representation of their products because
it makes the customers decision so much easier. Why? In Mass customization the
customers always have a fear of a wrong decision because the product does not
exist before he orders it. So he does not know if it will work (Functional failures)
and if it will look like he is expecting (Aesthetical failures). So the 3D
visualization  assists the customer in his
decision process.

FTP: Can you tell more about the (emotional)
importance of presenting the consumer a more realistic image of what he’s going
to buy?

MH: Think about
dating sites or Facebook. Why does every user of these sites choose an
excellent or a funny picture? The eye believes realistic pictures. And the
pictures create involvement. It’s the same with product visualization. I want
to buy the best looking and working product. If the visualization of a product is
nearly perfect the involvement goes up!

FTP: Do you have figures or specific customer
feedback on how implementing 3D visualizations improved sales or customer

MH: Franz Rapp,
Designer of Mercedes-Benz Buses told us: "We introduced the 3D interior
configurator in order to give our customers reliable support in making
decisions about our highly complex products. After well over 1000 successful
consultations, we have demonstrated that we're right on track with Lumo

customers told us that they reduced the failure rate and the cost of change by
more than 20%.

FTP: How does cooperating with you work in practice?

MH: As I said
before we are a solution company. So if a company identifies the need for 3D visualization
we advise them based on our expertise and technology. After the decision for an
implementation we need to find and prepare the product data (geometries,
dependencies, and so on). In that step we also generate the 3D models and
visualizations of all products parts. After that we install LumoLogic and build
the rules for the real-time visualization. If the customer uses a configuration
toolkit we integrate it. And of course we support the customer in all

FTP: Pretended I was a medium sized MC company
asking for assistance to set up a 3D configurator for my online store. Which
services/products would you recommend to me and how would the process evolve
from there?

MH: First of
all you need to ask what kind of value do you expect from using a 3D
configuration process. Will your product fit and do you have all the product
data? Just a simple example. Would mymuesli.com sell so much more by using a 3D

If you
think and believe that the 3D configurator will help you to get more revenue or
to cut costs or to increase the efficiency of your processes, than we will
advise the customer based on our solutions. And we also talk about the
investment in Hard- and Software. If all checkings  generate a positive ROI than we will offer
the customer the LumoLogic and LumoVis products.

FTP: How easy is it to maintain a 3D configurator in
my online store?

MH: The main
part in maintaining a 3D configurator is the administration of the product
logic. So do I need to stay flexible to change parts in the product database or
does it take long periods of time to get updated 3D models whenever I want to
change something?

LumoLogic we offer a very easy administration tool to combine product parts
with 3D images and configuration rules.

FTP: Can you talk about business figures at all, how
well-received are your services on the MC market?

MH: Depends on
your definition of the MC market. We have a strong position at B2B MC companies
that sell complex products. We don’t have such a strong position in the B2C
segment of the market. But with our strategy we grow approx. 40% per year in the
last years.

FTP: Do you have more traditional or mass
customization companies, and how is the trend there?

MH: We serve
nearly 100% traditional mass customization companies. By that we mean companies
that sell traditional products but with the mass customization approach. But quite
often they don’t name it Mass Customization.

FTP: Obviously most MC companies are still relying
on classical 2D images for their product presentation, while rendered 3D models
have been available since many years. Why, in your opinion, do they still
hesitate to change to the third dimension?

MH: 3D has
quite often not a good reputation because many people believe that it is
complicated and expensive. But with the enormous boost for the 3D technology in
the last years the use of 3D became very easy. And with the enormous boost in bandwidth
we believe that the usage of 3D models in marketing and sales is going to increase.

FTP: What do you think of mass customization in
general, will it be "just a trend" or become (one of) the major
retail models of the future?

MH: Mass
Customization is in the B2B Segment a huge part of the technical solution
concept to deliver technical and design variants, so it is not a trend it is

FTP: Having worked with MC companies before, which
advice do you want to give to them, especially in regards to the importance of
and proper setup of visual product presentation?

MH: Start small
with only one product or product line but work on the process. 3D visualizations
are only one part of the complete configuration process. The full configuration
of the product is represented in a configuration management tool. But also look
at a tool based administration for 3D visualization and use standard software.
Also have in mind that you want to sell across more than one channel. Use 3D
models for configuration and real-time visualization but CGI (computer
generated images) for printed offers. With that you will be prepared fort he 3D
configuration future.

FTP: Marc, thank you very much for these insights! I am looking forward to see more (MC) products being represented in a more realistic way, using professional 3D technology, in the future.

27 07, 2012

Updated and realistic market data on personal 3D printers

By | 2018-06-14T06:54:42+00:00 Juli 27th, 2012|Cases-Industrial, Design, Fabbing, Technologies & Enablers, User Manufacturing|

3D printing or additivae manufactuing is a hot topic today. Recently, I found this absurdly expensive market study on 3D printing (never had the idea that you can charge $100 per figure). But since many year, my best source about this topic has been Terry Wohlers.

TerrywohlersTerry is president of Wohlers Associates, Inc., an independent consulting firm he founded more than 25 years ago. Through this company, Wohlers has provided consulting assistance to more than 170 organizations in 23 countries. Also, he has provided lots of advise to the investment community. And on top, he really is a great guy!

On his blog, Wohlers Talk, he regularly posts interesting news from and views on how the industry evolves, put into perspective by matching it with his years of professional experience.

Recently he published some interesting thoughts on 3D-printers. As can be seen from the latest Wolters Report on the state-of-the-art and development of additive manufacturing and 3d-printing, sales figures of said 3d-printers have been dramatically increasing over the past years.

The report states that especially personal 3D-printers sales have grown by 289% in 2011. Yet, this is said to account for not more than about 26 million USD so far, making this market appear to hold a lot of potential.

However, in his post, Terry describes the market potential for presonal 3D-printers in a rather disillusionating yet more realistic fashion:

Wohlers Talk: Why Most Adults Will Never Use a 3D Printer

Many have speculated on whether everyday consumers will purchase and use a 3D printer. With prices dipping to $350 for a kit and $550 for an assembled system, they are certainly affordable. Some believe that a 3D printer will someday be in every home and used to produce replacement parts as household products break or wear out.

As shown by Shapeways, Materialise, FutureFactories, Ponoko, and others, consumers are definitely interested in products made by additive manufacturing and 3D printing. Shapeways claims to be producing more than 90,000 parts (about 25,000 products) per month by AM, with a high percentage going to consumers. For years, Materialise’s .MGX division has offered striking lighting designs, sculptures, and other products, with consumers paying hundreds of euros for one of them.

Indeed, consumers have an appetite for products made by additive manufacturing. However, most consumers will never own or operate a machine to produce these products. Instead, they will go to Shapeways, Amazon, or to another service or storefront to purchase these products. Most will not know, or even care, how the products were made—no different from the way they now purchase products. Consumers only care about receiving good value.

Someday, a company will offer a very low-cost, easy-to-use, and safe 3D printer targeted at children. This market opportunity, I believe, is very big because children like to imagine, create, touch things, play, and entertain themselves. These kids will be producing vehicles, action figures, puzzles, and just about everything imaginable. They are our future designers, engineers, and manufacturing professionals.

Most parents and adults are not candidates for a 3D printer. They do not want to mess with the data, manufacturing process, clean-up, and finishing of parts and products. Even if they owned or had access to a machine, it would probably not be capable of producing parts in the right material with the mechanical properties, color, surface finish, and texture needed for the part(s) they are trying to create or replace. These types of parts will continue to be produced by industry professionals and that’s why most adults will never use a 3D printer.

Source: Wohlers Talk, http://wohlersassociates.com/blog/2012/07/why-most-adults-will-never-use-a-3d-printer/ (July 26th 2012)


10 05, 2012

Participate at Idea Contest: Brining the Walking Frame (Rollator) into the Future

By | 2018-06-14T06:57:20+00:00 Mai 10th, 2012|Co-creation, Co-Design Process, Crowdsourcing, Design, Deutsch (in German), Open/User Innovation, Technologies & Enablers|

Our German readers can find a German version of this post here.

Stilsicher_logoMobility is one of the key requirements for maintaining an independent lifestyle up until a high age. Today, most seniors are able to depend on themselves – as more than 90% of all 65-years olds live under their own roof in good health.

But what happens, when leaving home, to go shopping or to meet with friends, is getting increasingly difficult with a higher age? What if somebody’s mobility declines, even though he or she does not depend on help permanently?

A small daily help in such situations can be a walking frame. In Germany, there are almost two million walking frames in use, with a yearly selling rate of another 500.000 pieces.

Unfortunately, not all of these are as fancy and safe as one would wish. Furthermore, the German consumer protection agency Stiftung Warentest found insufficiencies regarding stability and safety of walking frames tested last year.

But what could the superstar of walking frames look like? It has to be handy and safe, yet Stilsicher_teaser also has to incorporate personal desires concerning the design and accessories to overcome it's still somewhat dusty image.

To find answers to these questions, German League of Seniors, in cooperation with partners from both the business and academic world and sponsored by the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, has initiated a large-scale idea contest to improve the famous walking aid. 

In the context of the idea contest “Stil:sicher unterwegs, everybody is asked to give their input on how to improve the walking frame.

If you want to be on the team for developing completely new and innovative solutions for the walking frame of the future, here is your chance! May it be a GPS-assisted emergency notification system, an attached reading aid or a built-in minicomputer that helps to identify (individually) tolerable food: the only limit is your imagination. 

On the project homepage you can find more detailed information on the contest and the process of turning in your own ideas. Submissions are open until June 15th, 2012. You can also view and comment on already submitted ideas. Afterwards, a panel of experts will decide on the winning ideas which will be presented to interested companies and institutions and hopefully make it into future products. 

So, what is your idea (incremental or wild) to bring the walker /rollator into the future? Submit it here!

PS: The modern walker, the Rollator, of course itself is a lead user innovation, invented by the Swede Aina Wifalk in 1978, herself a polio sufferer.

22 03, 2012

The Million Dollar Zazzle Innovation Challenge: And the Winner is … SELVE

By | 2018-06-14T07:13:34+00:00 März 22nd, 2012|Cases-Consumer, Customization Trends, Design, General, MCPC2011, Open/User Innovation, Personalization, T-Shirts, Technologies & Enablers|

Zazzle_bannerToday, the winner of the "One Million-Dollar Zazzle Innovation Challenge" has been announced. The contest was launched during the MCPC 2011 conference and saw an enormous participation with about 1,000 entrants submitting their proposal.

Zazzle_awardDuring the last days, a panel of judges picked the winner, which was presented during a nice ceremony at the Haas School of Business of the UC Berkeley today. At the left, a few impressions of the day:

  • Henry Chesbrough opened the event with a very nice talk about the promise of mass customization;
  • Jeff Beaver from Zazzle addressed the audience and introduced the finalists,
  • Elizabeth Miller, Head of Creative at HASBRO, presented a great talk on the power of personalization and how a large company like Hasbro can benefit from a customization platform like Zazzle.
  • And then the five finalists gave short presentations on their companies and idea — really cool! Just check the videos below to get some ideas.
  • Finally, Dean Richard Lyons of Haas announced the winner!

Five companies have been nominated. Here are their pitches why they should get the 1Mio Zazzle award:

Republic Bike

Everybody loves to ride a bike in the summer. But not everybody loves to ride the same bike. Why not design the bike of your dreams from the convenience of your couch and have it custom-built an shipped to your doorstep? Their pitch: Make bikes as the customers' canvas — and allow then to really create a custom bike.  –> WATCH THE VIDEO


Why do women own so many shoes? Maybe because every one has something special that they like about it. For everybody with limited storing space, Selve offers the opportunity to pack all these special details into one shoe, your shoe.  Their pitch: We did ten years of homework and now have a great product space and manufactuing — and ready for a huge audience.  –> WATCH THE VIDEO


Everybody is different. And every body is different. And if you are a sports enthusiast who wants to give his body exactly the nutrition it needs, YouBar now might have you covered. Their pitch: With YouBars, Zazzle could enter the large growth field of custom food.  –> WATCH THE VIDEO


Do you sometimes wish your fancy iPad, useful as it is, would be a bit more…individual? DODO certainly does and gives you the tools to design your very own, handmade iPad case, that can (but does not have to) look like your favorite book. Their pitch: DODOcase would bring traditional craft to the Zazzle world of mass customization.  –> WATCH THE VIDEO


Few things can personalize a home better than individually designed and crafted pieces of art and assessories. With Designescape's concept including production with modern lasercutters, individually produced home decoration could become an affordable reality soon. Their pitch: Bring laser cutting technologies to the Zazzle platform to do many more amazing things.  –> WATCH THE VIDEO

And the winner is …

SelveIt was really difficult to select a winner, but in the end SELVE was selected as the recipient of the Zazzle Innovation Challenge 2012! Congratulations, and I am sure we soon will learn about the outcomes of this cooperation!  (on the left, Selve founder and CEO Claudia Kieserling who joined by video from Germany)


 Extra:  Amongst the entries that did not make it into the finals, many presented really interesting, funny, creative and/or useful ideas. Honorable mention can especially be given to …

  • Unitedstyles. A plattform for consumer-designers to design fashion, buy their individual pieces and open virtual stores. (Video)
  • Modify Industries, Inc. High-design co-creation of goods with a high grade of interchangable elements.
  • Spek, personal eyewear. Eyeware, personalized in design, fit and shape, using modern 3D printing technologies (Video)
  • Happy Toy Machine. Enables kids and the young at heart to create their own cool, cute, and crazy custom plush toys online. (Video)
  • Easy DIY Nail (Yuan Lu) Individual fingernail design made easy (Video)
  • Fabric on Demand. Affordable custom fabric printing – bring your pictures and designs on fabric (Video)
  • Waggers Pet Products Inc. Give your pet the best you can with individualized pet food.
7 11, 2011

#MCPC2011 Business Seminar: The Future of Mass Customization: The New Open Manufacturing System at #Materialise, #Ponoko and #ILT

By | 2018-06-14T07:15:26+00:00 November 7th, 2011|Cases-Consumer, Cases-Industrial, Co-creation, Co-Design Process, Crowdsourcing, Customization Trends, Design, Events, MC/OI on the Web, MCPC2011, Offline Customization, Open/User Innovation, Personalization, Research Studies, Service Customization, Technologies & Enablers|

MCPC 2011
On November 16th, the MCPC 2011 conference kicks off at the Marriot SFO Airport, San Francisco. In this series of postings, we introduce our speakers at the business seminars of the conference.

Additive Manufacturing and the opportunity for every consumer to turn any idea into a tangible product will change not just mass customization, but our dominant perspective of design and manufacturing. Learn the key facts from visionaries and business leaders in this field.

Wim Michiels, Executive Vice President, Materialise
The Industrial Revolution 2.0: Personalization through Additive Manufacturing

MichielsEvery year, consumers’ interest in customization increases and market demand for personalization is creating new opportunities for entrepreneurs as well as entrepreneurs who have an existing offering that they now wish to tailor. With the technological advancements in Additive Manufacturing (AM), commonly known as 3D Printing, individuals have the ability to add a personal touch to the things they use and love most from cell phone cases, to shoes, to accessories for their cars and more.

David ten Have, CEO, Ponoko
Building the World's Easiest Making System

Ten_haveThe future of products – using software to connect consumers, designers and making devices. Ponoko Inc is the creator of Personal Factory — the world’s most advanced platform for the mass creation of custom goods. Creative consumers can turn their design ideas into custom goods on demand using Ponoko's global network of making devices. This local production reduces the environmental impact of manufacturing. So far, more than 100,000 customer designed products have been made in 15 locations throughout the USA, Europe and Australasia – everything from 3D printed jewelry to laser-cut clocks to CNC routed furniture. Just as the Internet revolutionized the exchange of digital photos, music and movies, Ponoko pioneered the exchange of digital designs, reinventing the way consumer goods are designed, made and distributed. In a future when there is a making device in every home, school and business, Personal Factory is the software that makes it easy for everyone to create custom goods.

 Reinhard Poprawe, Director of Fraunhofer ILT, RWTH Aachen University
Laser Additive Manufacturing – The Key to the Next Generation of Economic Custom Production






Please find the complete program at the official MCPC 2011 website.

5 11, 2011

#MCPC2011 Business Seminar: Setting Up a Mass Customization System at #Skyou, #Bene AG and #Selve

By | 2018-06-14T07:15:32+00:00 November 5th, 2011|Cases-Consumer, Cases-Industrial, Clothing, Co-creation, Co-Design Process, Crowdsourcing, Customization Trends, Design, Events, Footwear, MCPC2011, Open/User Innovation, Personalization, Service Customization, Technologies & Enablers|

MCPC 2011 On November 16th, the MCPC 2011 conference kicks off at the Marriot SFO Airport, San Francisco. In this series of postings, we introduce our speakers at the business seminars of the conference.

This session will focus on the different business models that are behind the mass customization trend.

Brennan Mulligan, Founder & CEO, Skyou
What I Learned from Setting Up Five Successful MC Companies

MulliganWhile mass customization can be seen as an established business model we still see often little scale in its execution. At the same time, many new ventures and established businesses alike face the challenge to establish a supply chain fitted for mass customization – and everyone seems to go through the same learning cycle again. In his talk, Brennan Mulligan will propose a solution, reflecting on his experiences in leading many successful mass customization businesses since 1993.

Karl Berger, Vice President Engineering, Bene AG
Developing Solution Spaces for Mass Customization

BergerSolution Space Development is one of the core activities of a successful mass customizer, clearly defining what it is going to offer and what it is not. The presentation will explain how Bene, a leading European office furniture provider, has developed a special approach to understand and serve the idiosyncratic needs of its customers, to develop the solution space. Karl Berger will show how different constraints work with each other, and how a of organizational layers helps to execute different solution spaces in the organization.

Claudia Kisserling, CEO, Selve
Illissa Howard, Founder, Milk and Honey Shoes

Establishing a Mass Customization Factory in China

Kieserling_howardThis joint presentation is delivered by two experienced entrepreneurs in mass customization footwear, representing selve, the Germany-based category leader in the field, and Milk&Honey, a recent Hong Kong based startup. Claudia and Ilissa will first share insights into the market for customization in this field, discussing the Women’s fashion footwear market size and growth areas, global reach via online configurator, and the challenges and opportunities associated with that. Then, Claudia will share here experiences in setting up an own manufacturing plant in china, after seven years of manufacturing of high quality custom women's shoes in Italy. She will discuss the pros and cons, the do's and don'ts and her experiences of setting up and running a custom shoe factory in China.

Please find the complete program at the official MCPC 2011 website.

26 10, 2011

#MCPC2011 Opening Presentations: Advanced Mass Customization Thinking at #Deloitte and #Gemvara

By | 2018-06-14T07:16:06+00:00 Oktober 26th, 2011|Cases-Consumer, Customization Trends, Design, Events, MCPC2011, Personalization, Service Customization, Technologies & Enablers|

MCPC 2011 On November 16th, the MCPC 2011 conference kicks off at the Marriot SFO Airport, San Francisco. In this series of postings, we introduce our speakers at the business seminars of the conference.

The MCPC 2011 Business Seminar kicks-off with an introduction by the conference chairs and two corporate leaders that have pushed mass customization to a new level.

Frank T. Piller (RWTH Aachen) & Henry Chesbrough (UC Berkeley)
Bridging Mass Customization & Open Innovation: A Framework

Piller_Chesbrough_3The MCPC 2011 event is an experiment: Can we advance our knowledge of innovation effectively by linking mass customization and personalization with open innovation? While developed separately and build on different theoretical and conceptual backgrounds, we believe that mass customization and open innovation are closely linked and can benefit from a broader exchange between both schools of thought. In this brief opening comment, the two conference co-chairs will provide an overview and introduction into the themes of the conference.

Cathy Benko, Vice Chairman, Deloitte U.S. Firms
Mass Career Customization: From Corporate Ladder to Corporate Lattice

BenkoCentered on the insight that today's career is no longer a straight climb up the corporate ladder, but rather a combination journey of climbs, lateral moves, and planned descents, Mass Career Customization (MCC) provides a new model for how careers are built and talent is developed. Borrowing from consumer products trend away from one-size-fits-all to mass product customization, this new approach builds employee loyalty and provides for dynamic alignment between individual and corporate needs. The MCC framework has four dimensions: (1) Pace; (2) Workload; (3) Location/Schedule; and (4) Role. Employees and their managers collaborate to find the right fit across those dimensions at any point in time and over time, as long as the choices work for both the individual and the business.

Matt Lauzon, Founder & CEO, Gemvara
Establishing Mass Customization in a High-End Luxury Market

LauzonRealizing a niche in the jewelry industry at the intersection of e-commerce and mass customization, Matt Lauzon, co-founder of online custom jewelry site Gemvara.com, and one of the youngest execs under age 30 to raise multi-millions in funding (over $25M), will discuss his “me-Commerce” vision for the future of online shopping and share insight as to why over 40% of his customers have never bought a piece of jewelry online before buying on Gemvara.com. Taking notes from how Dell transformed PC customization, Zappos revolutionized online customer service and Netflix used targeted data to meet customer needs, Matt will explain the key findings when it comes to launching an online shopping experience, discuss how virtual inventory could benefit all e-tailers and share his thoughts on achieving success within the “emotional web.”

Please find the complete program at the official MCPC 2011 website.

25 10, 2011

#MCPC2011 Program Highlights: MC Manufacturing and Supply Chain Management

By | 2018-06-14T07:16:09+00:00 Oktober 25th, 2011|Cases-Consumer, Cases-Industrial, Co-creation, Co-Design Process, Customization Trends, Design, Events, MCPC2011, Open/User Innovation, Research Studies, Service Customization, Technologies & Enablers, User Manufacturing, Virtual Models|

MCPC 2011In a series of postings, we present some of the program highligths of the MCPC 2011 conference. The following is just one of more than 50 sessions we will host on Nov 16-19 in San Francisco, CA.

Successful Mass Customization not only depends on the design and proper employment of the consumer backend (configurator). Of equal importance is the organizational structure "behind the scenes" that allows a company to actually keep the promiss of individual production while still remaining profitable. In this session we will hear expert advices about the key aspects of successful MC Manufacturing and Supply Chain Management.


Sessions 7.4 (Nov 19): MC Manufacturing and Supply Chain Management

Modeling & Simulation of MP-MC Apparel Manufacturing

Apparel companies that initiate Mass-Customization (MC) must identify a suitable manufacturing (assembly) strategy, which is vital for their success. Most companies that produce apparel using Mass Production (MP) systems, are interested in investigating if the existing systems can be used to implement a MC strategy.

In this part Muditha Senanayake (Cal Poly Pomona) and Trevor Little (North Carolina State University) will explore the opportunity to mix MP and MC using computer modeling and simulation. Based on varying sizes of bundles and varying frequencies of products tested on simulated production lines they will present their observations of the production system performance. As a result they will present possible implementations of mix manufacturing strategy and its limitations.

Using a Simulation-Based Framework to Design Supply Chain Offering Mass Customization in the UAE

Mass Customization has emerged as a successful business model that can address the contemporary challenges of global markets. Although companies have adopted various levels of MC, a major challenge for firms is to efficiently design their supply chain in function of their MC offers, which also needs to support the involvement of customers in the innovation process. Marc Poulin will present a work in progress of a simulation framework that enables UAE firms to design supply chains that offer MC products and services. Using the leading edge simulation software SIMIO he will model and simulate supply chain models in the UAE.

Methodology for Implementing the Right Supply Chain for Mass Customization

In this presentation Luigi Battezzati (University of Milan) will focus on the definition of preliminary implementation guidelines in order to define the proper supply chain for different products (emotional, functional), manufactured by different companies (mass or handcraft producer), in compliance with different winning criteria impacting on critical areas for Mass Customization

Listen to the full content of these talks at the MCPC 2011, Marriot SFO Airport, San Francisco, Nov 16-19, 2011:

– Conference Website and Registration

– All info here in one compact MCPC flyer

Conference hotel and travel (rooms fill quickly, book now!)

– All posts about the conference in my blog

19 09, 2011

#MCPC2011 Program Highlights – Mass Customization and Open Innovation in the Fashion Industries

By | 2018-06-14T07:16:59+00:00 September 19th, 2011|Cases-Consumer, Clothing, Co-Design Process, Design, Events, Footwear, MCPC2011, Open/User Innovation, Research Studies, Sneaker, T-Shirts, Technologies & Enablers|

MCPC 2011In a series of postings, we present some of the program highligths of the MCPC 2011 conference. The following is just one of more than 50 sessions we will host on Nov 16-19 in San Francisco, CA.

Since the beginning of the MCPC conference series, clothing and footwear products have been has discussed extensily during this event. Also, just by looking onto the numbers, these industries are leading the mass customization movement. At the same time, some of the early pioneers in Crowdsourcing, Threadless, also focused on this industry.

A dedicated track at the MCPC2011 will provide a closer look on this topic.

Sessions 5.2 and 6.2 (Nov 19): A Special Focus on the Fashion Industries

Why Customization of Footwear is Not Fit for Masses

Market facts prove that, despite a certain number of valorous entrepreneurs are there to exploit the advantages of the new business model, the benefits of personalization of products have not yet reached the shoe wearing masses. Sergio Dulio will present the example of a new Italian brand in the field of luxury bespoke men shoes and the presentation of its technical and market expansion plans, it will be discussed why customization and masses, at least in the field of footwear, don’t’ seem to go together as expected and a theory will be formulated to support the idea that, possibly, this is the right approach to a consumer centric shoe world.

Customization in Apparel Design

Advanced customization and 3D visualization are in the core of the latest planned solutions to enhance customer's shopping experience and brand loyalty, and with the help of advanced GPUs the industry is a step closer in creating a better, more precise design and shopping environment. Yoram Burg (Optitex) will present and discuss the latest projects his company is involved in that include deploying the 3D customized solutions in the worlds of movies, home sewing, apparel design, animation and art work, and give a preview on the next level of solutions currently in development by OptiTex.

ErtlRenz Sport Shoes World – Adapted to Improve the Customer's Performance

While many professional athletes are outfitted over long periods of time by their sponsoring sports brand through the same service people, the “normal” customer typically buys his standardized equipment by individual picks from different stores. Dirk Rutschmann (Corpus-e), Sven Renz and Wolfgang Richter (ErtlRenz) will report from the ErtlRenz Sport Shoes World and present how they embrace the customer over his personal sports career providing him individual sport shoes for maximum performance and comfort like a pro.

E-Co-Creation for Fashion

The Web 2.0 revolution is changing perceptions and influencing a younger generation, but can co-creation challenge traditional design methods for fashion and promote sustainability, and can designing together enable the democratization of fashion? Jen Ballie, Philip Delamore (London College of Fashion) will present a mapping of co-creation within a fashion context, using participatory practice methods. A series of case studies will be used to define co-creation communities, the role of the individual and the sustainable benefits of working together. The viewpoint of both the designer and consumer will be used to illustrate their role and relationship, and to define methods and toolkits for how they can work together.

CoReNET – Value Co-Creation of Small Series Customized Healthy, Fashionable Clothing, Footwear and Assessories

In this presentation, Dieter Stellmach (DITF Denkendorf) will give an insight into CoReNET – Customer-ORiented and Eco-friendly NETworks for healthy fashionable goods: A toolset and first practical experiences for value co-creation of small series customised healthy fashionable clothing, footwear and accessories.

The Fitting of Pants

When fitting pants, a garment can have the correct horizontal and vertical dimensions, but not fit properly. This is a particular problem at the crotch, where there is a saddle point on the abstracted 3D form of the body, where the front and back of the body are joined in the crotch area and one leg transitions through the crotch area to the other. Bonny Carmicino has determined that these fit problems are the result of patterns that do not properly fit the crotch curve and are not properly balanced and will present new methods of creating the proper crotch curve and balancing pants, both of which produce excellent results on subjects of all shapes (including “normal” and also atypically- and asymmetrically-shaped subjects).

Configurator for Apparel Manufactoring within the Mass Customization Program

Companies need to acquire and manage a knowledge base of consumers’ needs and preferences in order to meet, even surpass, customer's expectations. In the fashion & clothing industry, mass customization is not generally well understood or implemented due to difficulties related to measurements, pattern adaptation, and inflexible manufacturing processes. Jocelyn Bellemare (Université du Québec à Montréal), Serge Carrier and Pierre Baptiste (Montreal University) will present their identification of the fundamental variables and data necessary to produce custom-made clothing, the development of a configurator based on such data, and how to enable the efficient transmission of configurator generated information to computerized production systems.

— And these are just some of the talks on this industry!! check the full program for more!!

Listen to the full content of these talks at the MCPC 2011, Marriot SFO Airport, San Francisco, Nov 16-19, 2011:

– Conference Website and Registration (reducted rates until Sept 30)

– All info here in one compact MCPC flyer

Conference hotel and travel (rooms fill quickly, book now!)

– All posts about the conference in my blog

16 09, 2011

(updated) #MCPC2011 Program Highlights – Advancing Health Care by MC and OI

By | 2018-06-14T07:17:02+00:00 September 16th, 2011|Co-creation, Customization Trends, Design, Events, MCPC2011, Personalization, Research Studies, Technologies & Enablers|

MCPC 2011In a series of postings, we present some of the program highligths of the MCPC 2011 conference. The following is just one of more than 50 sessions we will host on Nov 16-19 in San Francisco, CA.

Service customization has been named since several years as a hot topic with too little research about it .Henry Chesbrough just broad Open Service Innovation into focus with his new book. In this session, we will focus on a special service application: Helath care. How can our health care systems and service delivered to their users being enhanced by mass customization thinking and methods of open innovation?

Sessions 5.1 (Nov 19): Advancing Health Care by MC and OI

The Market for Innovation in Healthcare in Europe: Can Open Innovation Help Overcome Embedded Inefficiencies?

The introduction of both innovative products and services and new organizational structures in the healthcare sector will be crucial to meet the goal of providing high quality care and optimal living conditions for elderly people at affordable cost. The costs of developing products for these markets are high for all companies. Yet innovative products are seen as means by which new forms of care may be afforded for a growing elderly population. Terence Mughan (Anglia Ruskin University) will present his findings regarding whether or not open innovation can help resolve this conundrum.

Implementing Additive Manufacturing in the Custom Orthotic Industry: Productivity and Design Implications

As Additive Manufacturing (AM) is being applied to a wide variety of fields it is recognized that the medical and particularly the orthotics and prosthetics fields require further analysis in terms of design, cost, productivity and quality. AM must be prepared to challenge currently established methods for the creation of orthotics. Javier Munguia and Kenneth Dalgarno (Newcastle University) analyze the case of the adoption of AM technologies by a SME dedicated to the customized fabrication of foot and Ankle Foot Orthotics (AFO). This includes the adoption of digital scanning technologies coupled with additive manufacture for the creation of a new generation of orthotics.

Variety Management of Personalized Braided Stents

Prefabricated, standardized implants do not correspond exactly to the shape and nature of the structure to be substituted in the human body. Tailor-made medical devices can offer a much more effective therapy than off the shelf products. To make long-term individualized implants accessible to a large number of patients, the development of a mass customization solution is essential. Silke Tomoscheit, Nina Laar, Fabian Schreiber and Annahit Arshi (RWTH Aachen University) will present how the technology of braided stents offers new opportunities in manufacturing for patient-specific implants for the treatment of arterial occlusive disease.

Individual Nutrition – Development and Application of a Classification System

The pursuit of health and happiness can be seen as strong trends influencing today’s economy. With the help of nutrition both aims can be achieved. Requirements regarding functional as well as hedonic solutions differ from person to person. Consequently more and more providers of customizable food / individual nutrition can be found. Dominik Walcher (University of Applied Sciences Salzburg) and Benedikt Goellner will provide an insight into the state of the art of this emerging field.


Listen to the full content of these talks at the MCPC 2011, Marriot SFO Airport, San Francisco, Nov 16-19, 2011:

– Conference Website and Registration (reducted rates until Sept 30)

– All info here in one compact MCPC flyer

Conference hotel and travel (rooms fill quickly, book now!)

– All posts about the conference in my blog