26 02, 2013

Open Letter to MCPC Community: No MCPC 2013 at MIT, but many new opportunities

By | 2018-06-14T06:48:14+00:00 Februar 26th, 2013|Events, General, MCPC 2007, MCPC 2009, MCPC2011, MIT SCG|


In case you participated at the last MCPC conference in San Francisco (Nov 2011), I
believe you had, like me, a great conference experience. In fact, many of you already asked
me about the next event.

I am really sorry to inform you that for personal and capacity reasons, we will
be not able to organize and host the MCPC in 2013
at MIT.

the great experience of MCPC 2011 in San Francisco would have been difficult
and a lot of work, demanding capacity (time) that we as the original hosts and
organizers do not have available any longer.

I am
doing many exciting things in Europe and the U.S., but also have many commitments and responsibilities which do not give me the chance
any longer to invest in the MCPC as I did in the past. The same holds true also
for the core team of people at MIT and HKUST that were instrumental in doing

But I
believe that this is not the end of the MCPC but just the beginning of more:

customization now is at a transition point where we do not have to discuss it
any longer, but just should practice it.
This demands a different format of
exchange in-between practitioners.

this reason, we have established an exciting associate
membership format
for companies in the MIT Smart Customization Group at MIT
Media Lab.  We believe that such a
consortium of trusted members, meeting 2-3 times a year at MIT or in a company,
can provide a better way of exchanging experiences and learning from each

case you are interested to join our MIT group, head here
: http://scg.mit.edu/people/corporate-members

will continue to have smaller events or seminars at MIT, and there are the
established mini-conferences of the MCPC family and several upcoming special
tracks in established conferences.

But I also strongly believe that a large MCPC-alike conference still makes sense!

Mitch Tseng and I are open for any research group that feels empowered and
strong enough to do an academic-practice event similar to MCPC
. I am happy to
support this as far as I can (mainly with publicity), but be warned that this
demands at least Euro 100K investment and about 1 person year full time capacity
for preparations, the CfP, paper reviews and management, and event organizations
(and we never made any profit with the MCPC as we wanted to keep this an
affordable community event).

case you have a realistic plan to host (and fully organize) this conference in
the future, let us know – or just do it: We do not claim any ownership or
exclusivity of mass customization events. In fact, it really should become more
a community organized thing!

So even with a MCPC conference organized by my colleagues and me, I am looking forward to may exciting interactions and meetings.

12 10, 2011

Full program of #MCPC2011 published: More than 150 Presentations on Mass Customization, Customer Co-Creation & Open Innovation

By | 2018-06-14T07:16:29+00:00 Oktober 12th, 2011|Cases-Consumer, Cases-Industrial, Co-creation, Crowdsourcing, Customization Trends, Events, General, MCPC 2007, MCPC 2009, MCPC2011, Open/User Innovation, Personalization, Research Studies, Service Customization|


 Finally, the full conference program of the MCPC has been released. There still are a few things to update and exchange, but 95% of the program are fixed!

In addition to hundreds of CEOs, Founders, Directors, and Practice Leaders of the companies that apply and support mass customization, customer co-creation and open innovation successfully, many of the world's leading researchers in these areas will present latest findings in an accessible way.

The interactive conference format of the MCPC 2011, supported by the proximity to the Silicon Valley / Bay Area entrepreneurship and investment community, allows for deep interaction and networking between the participants. There are more than 150 presentations, panels, or workgroups on the program!

Join us in a lively exchange on best practices, case studies, success factors and open business models that focus on the top management and leadership issues and / or provide deep insights into specific design parameters of the tools and technologies behind open co-creation and mass customization.

Some selected topics of presentations and panels at the MCPC include:

MCPC2011_4– Setting up a mass customization business model;
– The market for mass customization;
– Defining a customer co-creation initiative that works;
– Managing customer-centric supply chains and fulfillment:
– Design elements of successful configuration toolkits;
– Metrics for open innovation;
– Implementing open innovation in an R&D organization;
– Learning from failures of the early pioneers;
– Getting VC investments for business models for MCP;
– Optimal incentives for internal and external participants;
– Getting corporate buy-in for customer co-design and OI;
– And much more!!

Before the main conference (Nov 18-19), a special business seminar provides executable frameworks for the management of mass customization and open innovation and a focused view on future topics.

Please register as soon as possible, as seats are limited and many are already taken! The conference hotel is conveniently located between San Francisco Airport (SFO) and Silicon Valley and allows for very efficient travel.

We hope to meet you in San Francisco in late Nov !

Frank Piller and Henry Chesbrough

MCPC 2011 Co-Chairs 

http://www.mcpc2011.com | MCPC2011 Full Program


14 10, 2009

MCPC 2009: My Personal Conclusions and Learning from this Year’s Conference

By | 2018-06-14T11:08:30+00:00 Oktober 14th, 2009|Customization Trends, Events, General, MCPC 2009, Personalization|

MCPC 2009 Conference Graphics - Picture by Kate Herd at flickr (updated on Oct. 17) After almost one week of discussions, lectures, keynotes and many personal interactions — and four long postings about the conference –, what were my key insights from the MCPC 2009 (2009 Conference on Mass Customization & Personalization)?

(1) Don't mention the crisis:
While still talking about the economic crises dominates the conversations of many business people, it was no topic at all during the conference. So is mass customization crisis resistant? Well, many of our participants told me that they saw it as unaffected or even an answer.

Take consumer goods. The more conventional retailers are coming under cost pressure, the more they are streamlining their assortments. The less likely it is that customers find exactly what they want — the larger the appeal of customized offerings. This was a pattern reported frequently from participants from the apparel and clothing sectors. At the same time, mass customization is "affordable" luxury. When I am not sure about the future, I am postponing the purchase of my new car. But I still reward myself by paying a tad more for a pair of customized ski boots. This was a good sign – and a positive mood (To be honest, however, there also may have been a self selection effect: Branches of industry interested in mass customization but affected by the crisis did not show up – and so there was no one to complain).

(2) Configuration Technology: A new generation of customization logic is coming up: While Joe Pine, Lars Hvam, and myself still preach that modularization and product family structures are the key to efficient customization, Dr. Yusel from Certusoft Inc. and Konstantin Krahtov from the Open Experience GmbH both provided presentations that turned the common argumentation upside down:

I normally tell my students that for manufacturing companies mass customization means to move from ETO to MTO or ATO (engineer- => make- or assemble-to-order). But in these presentations, the idea was presented that instead of combining pre-defined modules, the configuration toolkit will engineer the components on the fly in real time. As Dr. Yusel said: "Conventional configurators replace what engineers do. Our system replaces how engineers think." He has implemented his configuration system within large US truck makers with amazing results — and really opened my eyes to a new way of thinking of configuration. Similar Open Experience from Karlsruhe in Germany. Their vision is that in the end you just doodle what you like, and the system turns this into a component.

Perhaps the future of configuration is indeed beyond arranging pre-defined modules to a product, but developing components and production patterns in real time (you need, however, a very flexible manufacturing system for this).

(3) Customization & Personalization are becoming "the new imperative of business". In our MCPC community, we have to make the connection to industries like financial services, health, computer gaming, media, etc … All these industries are very much driven by personalization but have not really been part of the mass customization debate (and community) yet.  This is one of my goals for the next 2011 conference: Broaden the conversation of mass customization from the domains where we are today into these new fields of applications.

(4) Customization is the true luxury – no matter the price
. There is a long debate about the future of luxury goods. But a repeating theme during the conference was the notion that for many consumers, being able to customize a product is the true luxury, whether it is a chocolate bar for $4 or a custom trunk by Louis Vuitton for $25K.

Positioning mass customization in the "mass market" and regarding it as a "democratization" of manufacturing perhaps has misplaced the concept – and also has communicated it wrongly towards consumers. Even if mass customized goods still should be affordable and should not lift the offering into different market segments, its appeal for consumers still is the luxury and personal service connected with it (see the report about the MCPC 2009 Fashion Lab for more).

Mass customization means to "take away the need of products which are full of stuff and replace it with products full of meaning", as one of the participants of the discussion during the business seminar said. We have plenty of research on this meaning for consumers in mass customization offerings, but still have to find better ways to communicate and transport it to consumers.

Concluding, the MCPC 2009 again was a great experience. It really became a gathering of friends and colleagues, many of them joining the conferences since 2001 and becoming a great community of practice. Our community has started several companies, made important business connections, created many PhDs and master students, and really advanced the thinking in an important field!

What is next?

The next MCPC World Conference will be in October 2011, probably at a convenient East Coast location in the U.S. We will extend the name MCPC to "Mass Customization, Personalization & Co-Creation" to acknowledge the larger scope of the conference.

In 2010, a number of focused, smaller events will take place:

  • We are planning again a German language MC event. My idea is to focus on the new wave of entrepreneurs that we find in Germany in the moment.
  • I envision a similar event for the US, perhaps in connection with the next MIT Smart Customization Seminar, planned for late Spring 2010.
  • Stefan from "Milk & Sugar" is planning a MC event in the Netherlands.
  • Finland will continue to host an important MC meeting with the FIMCP 2010 in Tampere.

Context Information: More reports about the MCPC 2009 conference:

==> Twitter reports about the MCPC.

==> Great reports by Mass Sinclair in his blog no-retro.

==> Personal impressions of our keynote speaker Bruce Kasanoff.

==> Ran Machtinger, CEO of Optitex, about his presentation on Virtual Fashion.

==> Raul Lansik has a great new blog on customer co-creation in general, and a nice posting about the MCPC.

==> Teemu Arina, a speaker at the business seminar about real-time business, shares the ideas of his presentation.
==> Uche, Author of Luxury Online and panelist in the business seminar, will report about the conference at her new blog.
==> Mikkel Thomassen wrote a blog (in Danish) about the MCPC. And Robert Freund in German. And Chris Chatzopoulos has a report for everyone understanding Greek. Satu Miettinen wrote a nice report about the conference and service customization, in case you can read Finish.
==> Kate Herd has some pictures on Flickr.

(please let me know if you also have a blog post about the conference)

My previous reports about the MCPC 2009:

– Part 1: Day 1 of the Research Conference
– Part 2: Day 2 of the Research Conference
– Part 3: Business Seminar
– Part 4: MC Fashion Lab

13 10, 2009

MCPC 2009 Conference Report Day 4: Fashion Lab: Anna Ruohonen, Selve, Servive, Rivolta on why customization is the true luxury in fashion

By | 2018-06-14T11:08:34+00:00 Oktober 13th, 2009|Clothing, Customization Trends, Design, Footwear, MCPC 2009|

MCPC_2009_Fashion_Lab The last day of the conference was dedicated to three labs, which provided an interactive platform for discussion around specialized fields. I joined the Fashion Lab.

We were a very nice group of people, ranging from luxury companies LV, Selve, or Paris-designer Anna Ruohonen to streetwear labels like Converse and Spreadshirt, from great students and professors from the Helsinki design and fashion scene, from specialist consultants like Sergio Dulio (footwear) to my academic colleagues from RWTH-TIM in Aachen.

The day started with a presentation by Sirkku Liukkonen, responsible for customization at the  Helsinki concept store of Anna Ruohonen. "From atelier work to mass customization", so the title of the journey Sirkku described.  Anna Ruohonen is a Paris-based fashion designer with two clothing labels carrying her name, both for men and women. Her style follows the tradition of Finnish design: the forms are architectural, the cuts are considered, and simplicity and sustainability are key concepts.

They started with customization for some retail clients and slowly moved into the consumer business after opening a mass customization concept store in Helsinki in April 2009. Products are produced together with the general items; all are produced on-demand in Paris. The popularity of the customization offering largely exceeded expectations. "Better fitting is the key word", Sirkku said. No wonder, as they offer the customization service at no additional fee. It is a "premium service for free".

An interesting debate started at this point: Conventionally, "sustainable fashion" is an oxymoron: Fashion is all about change and getting the latest stuff … But as Sirkku explained, sustainability is more than just using eco textiles: "If an item fits well and people really like it, people really will use it for a long time". And Sergio Dulio added: "Mass customization equals sustainability: the amount of products which are not sold corresponds to such a huge batch of energy without no use at all." An interesting debate that we will continue during the next conferences.

The presentation about Anna Ruohonen started a second stream of discussion (along the solution space dimension of our framework): How to balance between the design aesthetics of the brand and the vision of a star designer like Anna Ruohonen: Shall Anna allow the modifications of her dresses that they are suited for customers with body dimensions not seen in her patterns before? Where does the "dream" of a customer ends? What will this mean for a brand?

This is a question that also drives Claudia Kieserling, one of the longest members of our community. Claudia is founder and president of Selve, the first and leading customizer for ladies shoes in the world. "Luxury is a key characteristic of mass customization", she said. "No matter what price you ask, consumers see it as pure luxury." This is an interesting turning point in the discussion, as previously, we saw as one objective – or even as part of the definition – of mass customization that it should reach a large "mass".Claudia reported that her customers are coming for both fashion and fit (often starting for fit, and returning for fashion). Some of her best (and wealthy) customers have ordered more than 100 shoes — making the shopping of a creation process of her own. For her, "time and experience are the new luxury" – an impression shared by Kamel from Louis Vuitton.  

A final example of experience was provided by Sergio Dulio. He has consulted in the past months extensively to an Italian entrepreneur who wants to revolutionize the way how custom-made shoes in the upper segment are sold and produced. A concept / testing store has just been open at the famous Via della Spiga (#17) in Milan.

Under the name of "Rivolta", customers there can experience one of the most advanced configurators in the world. You not just can design your shoes like on your iPhone on huge screens, but also fully try your custom shoes virtually on your own body in a virtual mirror. There also will be an iPhone Application to customize your shoes on the run! Shoes are expensive (Euro 1400 an up), but targeted to business people who have expensive custom shoes anyway, but want to purchase them with a new twist and different level of service and experience. Here, the act of purchasing the shoe becomes a luxury experience.

The Fashion Lab further had a number of interesting live demos. Thorsten Harzer and Moritz Wellige from my group at RWTH Aachen demonstrated a financial model to calculate the impact of mass customization in the clothing industry, developed as part of our Servive project. We could see a demo of a 3D knitting machine — the complement to rapid manufacturing and laser sintering in the fashion industry ("data in, pullover out"). We got a demonstration of the Corpus.e Foot Scanner and its application at Pakerson, another upscale customizer of men's shoes with a successful store in St. Petersburg.

All in all, a great finale of a great conference!

10 10, 2009

MCPC 2009 Report Day 3: Business Seminar: Co-Creation, Louis Vuitton, Spreadshirt, and why self expression is the true luxury of our time

By | 2018-06-14T11:08:39+00:00 Oktober 10th, 2009|Customization Trends, Events, MCPC 2009, Personalization|

Mcpc-2009-day3-impressions MCPC 2009, Helsinki, Day 3: Business Seminar.  Many people called this the most interesting day of the conference. I wouldn't make the judgment, as the MCPC Business Seminar is different in nature to the main conference, and serves a different purpose, but without any doubt: it was a remarkable day and perfect line-up of speakers.

One good thing was that I personally could relax a bit, as Kristian Möller, a marketing professor at the Helsinki School of Economics, was our host and chaired the seminar. The day started again with Joe Pine who this time focused on customer centricity, defined by him as "the one who pays you money … placed at the center of everything you do." The talk was a good wrap-up of his previous thinking … and humorous and insightful as always (reminder: check out the personalization/customization strategy of Progressive).

The following panel on Creativity and Customer Value Co-creation started with Teemu Arina, a Finish thinker on Web 2.0. What I liked, was his presentation's title, "Interactive Value Creation" (the title of our 2006 book on customer co-creation). The presentation itself remained a bit philosophical, building on Stafford Beer's 1970 utopian vision of establishing a "real time economy" in Chile.

Afterwards, Prof. Harri Oinas-Kukkonen from University of Oulu commented on the connection between social media and personalization. He was followed by Raul Lansink, from the Dutch open innovation consultancy Favela Fabric. His most memorable claim "Customer co-creation starts inside". When moving into customer co-creation, start within your own company first before reaching out. Do an idea contest with your employees or sales partners to get a better understanding and internal commitment.

After lunch, the perhaps most interesting session of the conference started, titled "Customer-Centricity, Luxury, and Personalization". The keynote was provided by Louise Guay from MVM.com, who rocked the hall as usual. Her statement: Real personalization is the reduction of choice complexity while keeping the experience of browsing. She introduced the new 3D creation kit that allows the generation of "try-able virtual garments" for free by an user (a service for which MVM has charged $2000 in the beginning and §300 later).

Afterwards, Kamel Ouadi, Director for everything online and interactive at Louis Vuitton, provided a great insight into personalization at LV. At LV, they see "mass customization and personalization as a great opportunity to expand the interaction with consumers." Interestingly, today this starts not with the products (here, monogramming and customizing the interior of 25K trunks still is the only option), but with the brand experience. For their recent space campaign, Kamel created a great site where users can become a film director and cut a LV movie according to their own desires. Their objective: Using personalization to emotionally engage consumers with the LV experience.

Next, Philip Rooke, new VP at Spreadshirt, provided his perspective on luxury: self expression. The main claim and vision of Spreadshirt, to support self impression, can be seen perhaps as the ultimate form of self expression (a theme that also came up during the Fashion Lab on Thu, more on this later). While the products and presentations of Spreadshirt could not be different to LV, they shared a joint vision: True luxury is when you are able to express yourself as you like.

The next panelists reinforced the trend to customization and personalization in the luxury industry. Uché Okonkwo, Executive Director & Founder of LUXE COR, and Sandy Carter, Social Media Evangelist at IBM, provided a number of further case studies how luxury houses today enable consumers over the internet to create custom items of their choice.

The last panel started with perhaps the most entertaining presentation by Rory Sutherland, Vice Chairman and Executive Creative Director of OgilvyOne Worldwide Ltd. He applied behavioral economics on personalization and customization (a bit) and marketing in general (a lot). The panelists, Bo Harald from Tieto, Johan Wallin, CEO of Synocusm and Jarmo Suominen brought Bruce Kasanoff's vision from the first conference day into practice. Their talks focused on personalization in the service industries and true mass matching, and provide a good outlook and summary of the conference.

Overall, another great day! And while being already a bit tired, we closed the day with a reception by the mayor of Helsinki in City Hall and then drinks and dance in a Helsinki night club.

6 10, 2009

MCPC 2009 Report Day 2: Benedict Dellaert, Zazzle, and Joe Pine

By | 2018-06-14T11:08:44+00:00 Oktober 6th, 2009|Customization Trends, Events, General, MCPC 2009|

Mcpc-2009-day2-impressions The first day of the MCPC ended with a great dinner in the center of Helsinki and one drink too much in the bar later. Still, everyone was back in time for the second day.

For more impressions and summaries, also check out the many Twitter feeds on the MCPC 2009 that report live!

MCPC 2009 Day 2: Prof. Benedict Dellaert from Erasumus University in Rotterdam started the second day with a great keynote on "Designing the gateway — gateways to product spaces". He provided a very good overview of the state of research in marketing on the space where customers and suppliers interact today.

He started his differentiation of personalization and customization: Personalization is often a strategy of retailers to passively support customers to find the right selection, e.g. by using profile data or collaborative filtering. At the same time, mass customization is seen as a strategy by manufacturers to actively integrate customers in a co-design process. Along this line (a continuum, not two alternatives), Benedict then addressed the crucial question how to match solution options available in general with the capabilities of customers to make the choice: "It is nice to have the flexibility

[to mass customize], but consumers also have to have the capabilities to make the right choice."

James Johnson from Avery Dennison and Jeff Beaver & David Gross from Zazzle followed with the second plenary presentation. The project that they presented was actually initiated during the Business Seminar of the Smart Customization Group at MIT last November: There at our meeting, the multi-billion incumbent  Avery Dennison met the much smaller Zazzle.com and started a cooperation that was launched last Thursday.

Custom binders are the first product that shoppers can customize under the new business alliance. Shoppers will be able to generate custom binders for contests, promotions and sales, or business binders for the office. They can select from thousands of templates, or start from scratch with a blank canvas. Like with every Zazzle designs, people can create stores and make money by selling designs in the Zazzle marketplace.

The interesting thing is that Zazzle is not offering its manufacturing system. "At Avery, we've been looking at Mass Customization for several years. Our focus on Enterprise Lean Sigma has allowed us to develop the expertise in manufacturing to be able to provide custom-made one-off products while still enjoying the benefits of mass production," said James Johnson who is the Director of Business Development at Avery Dennison Office Products. "Zazzle's software capabilities plus their partnerships with leading branded content owners complement our manufacturing core competencies." So it takes more than flexible manufacturing to do mass customization successfully.

Consider what the cooperation with a MC platform provided for Avery. The company was offering custom binders already since about one year over their own website. In just three days on Zazzle, there already were 60 times more designs created than in 365 days on their own website.

After these exciting keynotes, the conference participants again spread out into parallel sessions on all issues being custom and personal. Again, it is impossible to cover the breadth of discussion here.

After lunch, Fabrizio Salvador and I provided a plenary presentation based on our recent Sloan Management Review paper. I am sure some blogging participants will cover it soon, and will refer to them for a review.

After many exciting more parallel sessions, the day ended with Joe Pine, who provided some outlook.

His last slide probably was the most memorable:

  • In 1987, when Stan Davis coined the term, mass customization = oxymoron.
  • In 1993, when Joe wrote his first book, mass customization = "the new frontier".
  • In 2009, when we all came together to the MCPC 2009 in Helsinki, mass customization = imperative!

I believe that the first 2.5 days of the provided great evidence that now mass customization and personalization are really becoming an imperative for businesses of all kinds — and also for other organizations like education, public management, or non-profits.

The conference continues tomorrow with the business seminar at the Helsinki School of Economics.

5 10, 2009

MCPC 2009 Report Day 1: Joe Pine on the Future of MC and Bruce Kasanoff on Personalization

By | 2018-06-14T11:08:47+00:00 Oktober 5th, 2009|Customization Trends, Events, General, MCPC 2009, Personalization|

MCPC_2009_forst_impressions Just coming back from a long conference dinner and drinks (so excuse the typos), but here a first report from the MCPC 2009:

The main MCPC conference today took off with an opening presentation by the CEO of KONE. Matti Alahutha very neatly showed that for a multi-billion company like KONE, mass customization in an  essential driver of value and competition.

Next, Joe Pine — brilliant as usual — inspired us with some ideas on the "Future of mass customization"

He started with his famous 4*4 picture of process change / product change, placing invention (craft businesses), mass production, continuous improvement, and mass customization in it (if you haven't seen this argument, look up for Joe's speeches in YouTube).

From there, he moved into four themes where he sees mass customization is going. Here are his key thoughts in a nutshell (as I believe they are the roadmap for his next books :-):

1) From mass customization to continuous innovation: In order to build a sustainable mass customization business, you cannot stop with an existing MC solution space.  So what Joe sees next is connecting mass customization with tools of user co-creation and user innovation to continuously work on the solution space of a MC offering.

2) From markets of one to "one of markets": The traditional notion is that mass customization serves super niche markets, up to the market of one. But Joe thinks this is not the end, and we will move to "one-of markets". This very neatly addressed our conference theme of "mass matching". Consider you as a traveler. When YOU are traveling for business, your needs with regard to hotel selection, plane scheduling , or eating are very different compared to the (same) YOU when are traveling with your family for vacation. So the same YOU are representing different markets.

This is where personalization and mass customization meet. And a large future of mass customization will be to work not just on creating new products, but bundling (matching) them according to different "markets'"needs.

3) From reality to virtual reality. This is the theme of the next new book of Joe coming up. When the physical world is not offering enough variety, you move to the virtual space. Here, not only ultimate variety is possible, but also variety with regard to the self. Just as you are different person in front of your children as you are in front of your spouse, you can be a different person in a virtual world. So virtual reality is offering the opportunity of personalizing the self.

4) From MC of offerings to MC of management. This probably was the largest development Joe suggested. His idea: Why not take the tools and thinking of mass customization and transfer them to the way of managing a company. For this idea, Joe referred to Kim Korn of Business Architecture who originally came up with the idea of the Progression of Innovation Value. It reminded me also to a number of similar lines of thinking on "management innovation", as sketched for example by Gary Hamel. We today know that there is not "one best way" to manage a company. But at the same time, also "craft customizing" an organization may be not the best way. So I am curious to see what our community takes out of this and how "mass customization of management" will look alike. Johann Wallin, for example, in his presentation already was building on a similar idea, called "mass-co-configuration" of a value chain.

With so much food for thought, we entered into the parallel sessions. There was too much to listen to and to learn that I can summarize this here, so I just invite you to browse through the conference abstracts.

After lunch, Bruce Kasanoff, got everyone excited with his keynote: "Personalization will be THE driver of the economy within the next 8 years!" (yes, not "a", or "one of", but "THE"). He very much broadened the perspective of everyone but illustrating that the theme of customization and personalization is much larger than we cover today here.

His argument: the basic mechanism of personalization, "sense – reason – respond", can be applied for many markets — or are already being applied. Consinder the revolution in media.DailyMe, MeeHive, DailySnooze, or FanFeedr are all start-ups that recently started with offerings for the future of media. All these companies' core is an algorithm to match user preferences to existing content. Still no one in this industry uses the term mass customization or personalization to address this.

Bruce made a second very interesting case about the development of personalized medicine … go to hi blog for the full argument!

His second main point was: "To work on personalization means that we need much more interdisciplinary work". Well, in innovation management, the cure for all problems is seen in the interdisciplinary team. But Bruce has a point here that to understand the full consequences of personalization and customization, a firm really has to bring together people from inside and outside and different disciplines to make personalization happen. Sounds difficult? Yes, but when personalization is THE driver of competition, this effort is well invested.

I am looking forward very much to the second day of the main conference tomorrow!

Context information: ==> Great report on Day 1 also by Mass Sinclair in his blog no.retro.

4 10, 2009

MCPC 2009 Conference Has Started!

By | 2018-06-14T11:08:49+00:00 Oktober 4th, 2009|MCPC 2009|

Create your own MCPC shirt at Spreadshirt The MCPC 2009 just has started. It begun with some hick-ups in the morning, when the conference website server had some problems, but now everything is running well and working.

We are just sitting in the conference pre-workshops. After some introduction by Fabrizio Salvador and myself, we are just working in the three different workshops: (1) Martijn Pater is talking about "Co-Creation and Co-Design with Consumers", (2) Fazleena Badurdeen just is having her "MC Simulation Game", and (3) Mitch Tseng is building with Lego's to explain the advanced basics of "Building up Product Family architectures for mass customization". 

Here is the link to the conference web site with all information. And in case you cannot come but want a souvenir, you can create your customized MCPC t-shirt here!!.

More information about the MCPC 2009– whether you are participating here or just over the internet.

Download the full abstracts:

Download MCPC 2009 final program 1 oct 2009

Download the program with locations:
Download MCPC 2009 final abstracts and presentation 1 oct 2009

Map with conference locations: Google Maps

The conference will start today (Sunday) for all participants who registered for the pre-conference workshop at 13:00 (registration starts at 12:30). The pre-workshop takes place at the Design Factory, a Building on the Campus of the Helsinki University of Technology. Address: Espoo, Betonimiehenkuja 5, in Espoo (a suburb of Helsinki)

The opening reception (for anyone) starts on Sunday evening at 18:30 at the Art Museum EMMA at Espoo.

The main conference starts on Monday morning at 9:00 (check in starts at 8:15) at the TAIK – University of Art and Design, Hämeentie 135, Helsinki (in a part of the city called "Arabia").

27 09, 2009

MCPC 2009 – Latest News – Website Running Again

By | 2009-09-27T06:27:58+00:00 September 27th, 2009|MCPC 2009|

When you organize a huge conference, there are many small problems and things to fix. The organizing committee of the MCPC 2009 conference can tell you much about it …

Yesterday, a larger problem occurred: today. It seems that there is a main internet cable cut somewhere in the city of Helsinki (outside the university). This has stopped access to the conference website.

UPDATE: The conference server is running again as usual … so please check back to see the final program.

23 08, 2009

MCPC 2009 Conference Update: Why you should travel to Helsinki in 42 days! Early registration deadline ending soon!

By | 2018-06-14T11:09:11+00:00 August 23rd, 2009|Customization Trends, Events, MCPC 2009|

Mcpc 2009 website Now taking place for the 5th time, the biannual MCPC Conference is the largest and leading event in the field. After meetings in Hong Kong (twice), Munich, and Boston, the conference is coming to Helsinki. For this first time, the conference is organized not by Mitch Tseng and myself, but by a great local organizing and program committee, chaired by Prof. Jarmo Suominen from the University of Art and Design in Helsinki and the MIT Media Lab. He and his team have created a great conference with many innovative contributions to the program layout. More than 100 presentations have been selected from the submitted proposals, plus many invited speakers.

UPDATE: Full conference program has been published !! More than 100 presentations and speakers! Registration is now open. more info here

Have a detailed look at the conference web site (when you are browsing around, you will see that the site is quite "Intelligent" and adapts to your navigation behavior!! After registration, you will also be able to create your personalized conference program).

Why is the MCPC different to your usual business meeting? Read some reports about past conference: No-Retro on MCPC 2007, FashionTech on MCPC 2007. and Made For One summary of MCPC reports.

The MCPC 2009 will span over five days (Sun-Thu), with Mon-Wed being the core days of the conference.

The "Design Factory" will be the space for the MCPC 2009 Pre Workshop Sunday: Pre-Workshop (Oct 4, 2009):  Sunday afternoon the conference will kick-off with a hands-on, interactive workshop for all of you who want to get a focused introduction into mass customization and customer co-creation. We will start with an overview by Fabrizio Salvador, IE Business School, and Frank Piller on the strategic foundations of mass customization. The idea is to provide a thought framework for your conference experience. Then we will break into three groups, led by experts in their field, to talk in larger details on aspects of particular interest for you.

Sunday Evening: Opening reception (free for everyone with conference registration). Meet old and new friends in the great atmosphere of the MUSEUM

Monday and Tuesday: Research Conference (Oct 5 and 6, 2009).

Helsinki Listen to more than 100 presentations, keynotes, panels, and special sessions on all topics of customization, personalization, and customer co-creation. The core conference will take place at the Helsinki University of Art and Design, a very creative space. The days will start with an opening session by the conference organizers and the grand signore of mass customization, B. Joseph Pine. A special keynote will be provided by Bruce Kasanoff, on "The Emerging Personalization Economy" (more about Bruce). For the entire program, head here (full program coming soon).

As in the previous years, these two core days will allow you to connect with people doing, researching, being interested in, writing about, and making money from mass customization and personalization. Participants come from all over the world, so expect a very rich networking experience!

The Helsinki School of Economics is the place for the MCPC 2009 Business Seminar Wednesday: Business Seminar (Oct. 7, 2009). If you have limited time, just book this one day. It provides in form of a business seminar a focused introduction into mass customization. In keynotes and panels, the three themes of the conference, Customization, Creativity & Configuration, will be addressed. Look for engaged discussions and another great networking opportunity in a more formal setting.

Lab Thursday: MCPC Labs (Oct 8, 2009). A real innovation. These labs are included in any conference registration and allow you to finalize your MCPC experience in a smaller group in a different setting. Three or four Helsinki companies and organizations will host a one day workshop on topics like fashion customization, communication, MC and architecture, etc.

Consider as an example the "Taivas Lab & workshop: Co-creating Me":  Traditionally brands have been co-creating people, offering them means to express their identities. Today people are co-creating companies by participating in marketing or even in product development. They do this invited or uninvited. Taivas Lab looks at ways in which companies can work as Editors in Chief of themselves, letting people get involved in making a company an icon. Viewpoints during the day will include both social and other innovative media and platforms. Cases range from Habbo Hotel, virtual world for teenagers to Forum, the central Helsinki shopping mall where two young women will live 24/7, reporting their lives and shopping through videos, photos and text entries.

As you see, there is so much to experience and to share during the MCPC 2009 in Helsinki, As every year, the conference is a non-profit event with conference fees as low as possible (many volunteers are making this event possible)! Hotels are also rather cheap these days (we got a Hilton in the City for 80 Euros/night), and there are plenty of cheap flights to Helsinki.

I will travel to Helsinki this week for final preparations and program planning, and will report back! But for now, reserve the days, book your participation, and discuss with us in Helsinki in a few weeks!!

All conference facts here:

Mcpc 2009 logoMCPC 2009: The World Conference on Mass Customization & Personalization

Helsinki, October 4-8, 2009

2009 Conference theme: Match Making: Customization, Creativity & Configuration

3 05, 2009

Reminder: Call for Papers & Presentations MCPC 2009: MATCHING – CUSTOMIZATION, CONFIGURATION & CREATIVITY

By | 2018-06-14T11:09:37+00:00 Mai 3rd, 2009|Events, MCPC 2009|

Mcpc 2009 homepage The 5th World Conference on Mass Customization and Personalization
Business, Innovation & Research Conference

4-8 October 2009, Aalto University in Helsinki & Espoo, Finland

The MCPC conference series started out as a biennial conference devoted to Mass Customization & Personalization. The content has broadened in recent years, including also open innovation, user co-creation and other strategies of customer-driven value creation. But mass customization is still the main trend that drives the success of the MCPC conferences, bringing together hundreds of the world's most remarkable people in the field.

I am happy to tell you that already more than 150 persons have joined the MCPC2009 website and created their profiles there. You can still create your profile and join the conference mailing list in order to receive all the latest news about the conference.

I warmly welcome you to participate to the Call for Papers of the MCPC2009 conference. Please submit your paper or presentation proposal by May 31 (NEW).

To log directly in to the submission system, please go to:

While we prefer full papers, there also is room for proposals in form of PPTs or short abstracts .. your creativity and ideas related to customization & personalization is important, not your format!

We are looking forward to your contributions!

Professor Jarmo I. Suominen
Conference General Chair
University of Art and Design Helsinki TaiK Hämeentie 135 C FI-00560 Helsinki FINLAND



Deadline May 31, 2009

A growing heterogeneity of demand, exploding product complexities, and the rise of the creative consumer are challenging companies in all industries to find new strategies to address – and profit from – these trends. Mass Customization and Personalization (MCP) is widely appreciated as a viable and promising strategy which aims to provide goods and services that best serve individual customers' personal needs with near mass production efficiency. The biennial World Conference on Mass Customization & Personalization (MCP) is one of the premier events for the business, innovation and research community in this field.

Bridging academic research and management practice, the conference provides an interactive and interdisciplinary platform to share ideas about mass customization strategies and to discuss the latest technologies and enablers.

The special objective of the MCPC2009 conference is to extend the dialogue beyond today’s boundaries and to explore the future avenues for mass customization and personalization. The theme "Mass Matching" asks for leading-edge examples of customer interaction, as well as insights on the emerging new concepts of personalization and interaction, and on the newest customer centric innovations. We invite submissions and speaking proposals under the sub-themes Customization, Creativity and Configuration. The conference is designed to engage academics, business leaders and consultants in fundamental debates through a set of plenary presentations, discussion panels and paper presentations.


You will find the selected track and topic examples on the Call for Paper and template documents that you can upload on the conference website. We also look forward to proposals for presentations from the practitioners of mass customization and personalization.


For submission instructions and more information please see:

If you have any queries regarding abstract submission, please contact:



  • 31 May 2009: Deadline for Abstracts and Short / Full papers 30 June 2009: Notification of accepted contributions
  • 31 August 2009: Approved Papers due
  • 4 October: Pre-conference
  • 5-6 October: Innovation & Research Conference
  • 7 October: Business Strategy Conference
  • 8 October: Business Labs


The MCPC 2009 (http://www.mcpc2009.com) is co-organized by the Aalto University (Helsinki School of Economics, Helsinki University of Technology, University of Art and Design Helsinki) in co-operation with the Tampere University of Technology and the University of Tampere.

MCPC2009 Conference General Chair:
Jarmo Suominen, Professor of Mass Customization, University of Art and Design Helsinki / Aalto University, Visiting Scientist MIT

MCPC2009 Conference Program Committee:
Frank Piller, Professor, RWTH Aachen University
Mitchell Tseng, Professor, Hong Kong University of Science & Technology

Kalevi Ekman, Professor, Helsinki University of Technology,
Director of the Design Factory at the Aalto University
Kristian Möller, Professor, Helsinki School of Economics,
Director of the Service Factory at the Aalto University
Maija Töyry, Professor, University of Art and Design Helsinki,
Director of the Media Factory at the Aalto University

Matti Hämäläinen, Professor, Helsinki University of Technology / Aalto
Turkka Keinonen, Professor, University of Art and Design Helsinki /
Aalto University
Marko Mäkipää, Senior Researcher, University of Tampere
Esko Penttinen, Assistant Professor, Helsinki School of Economics /
Aalto University
Matti Sievänen, Senior Researcher, Tampere University of Technology
Jarmo Suominen, Professor, University of Art and Design Helsinki /
Aalto University
Mikko Ruohonen, Professor, University of Tampere
Reijo Tuokko, Professor, Tampere University of Technology
Maija Töyry, Professor, University of Art and Design Helsinki / Aalto

17 04, 2009

Cracking the Code of Mass Customization: New MIT SMR Paper

By | 2018-06-14T11:09:44+00:00 April 17th, 2009|Co-Design Process, Customization Trends, Failures and Flaws, General, MCPC 2009, Research Studies, Technologies & Enablers|

Most companies can benefit from mass customization. The key is to think of it as a process for aligning an organization with its customers’ needs.

Mit sloan spring 2009 issues In the current issue of the MIT Sloan Management Review (Spring 2009 Issue), Fabrizio Salvador, Pablo Martin de Holan and I discuss how mass customization should be not any longer seen as a specialized business strategy but as a bundle of capabilities that could make sense for most businesses.

In the paper, we suggest that mass customization is not some exotic approach with limited application. Instead, it is a strategic mechanism that is applicable to most businesses, provided that it is appropriately understood and deployed. This kind of thinking also is the underlying logic of our upcoming Mass Customization Executive Education Class at IE Business School.

In the paper, we suggest three common capabilities that will determine the fundamental ability of a company to benefit from mass customization thinking:

(1) Solution Space Development.  A mass customizer must first identify the idiosyncratic needs of its customers, specifically, the product attributes along which customer needs diverge the most. (This is in stark contrast to a mass producer, which must focus on identifying central tendencies so that it can target those needs with a limited number of standard products.) Once that information is known and understood, a business can define its “solution space,” clearly delineating what it will offer — and what it will not.

(2) Robust Process Design.  Next, a mass customizer needs to ensure that an increased variability in customers’ requirements will not significantly impair the firm’s operations and supply chain.  This can be achieved through robust process design — the capability to reuse or recombine existing organizational and value-chain resources — to deliver customized solutions with near mass-production efficiency and reliability

(3) Choice Navigation. Lastly, a mass customizer must support customers in identifying their own problems and solutions while minimizing complexity and the burden of choice.  It is important to remember that, when a customer is exposed to myriad choices, the cost of evaluating those options can easily outweigh the additional benefit from having so many alternatives. The resulting syndrome has been called the “paradox of choice,” in which too many options can actually reduce customer value instead of increasing it.  In such situations, customers might postpone their buying decisions and, worse, classify the vendor as difficult and undesirable. To avoid that, a company can provide choice navigation to simplify the ways in which people explore its offerings

But a company does not have to apply all three capabilities in full scope together. For many companies, it already is a great step forward to just work on one of these capabilities to get more customer-centric without, however, having to master the full complexity of a mass customization system.

Read the full article and learn more how these capabilities can be implemented in practice. MIT offers the full paper for free after registration on the SMR website. You also can purchase it there  ($6.50) for further distribution.


1 12, 2008

MCPC 2009 Call for Papers: Mass Matching – Customization, Configuration & Creativity

By | 2018-06-14T11:11:14+00:00 Dezember 1st, 2008|Events, MCPC 2009|

2009 World Conference on Mass Customization & Personalization (MCPC 2009)

Mass Matching – Customization, Configuration & Creativity: Business, Innovation & Research Conference

Aalto University, Helsinki, Finland
October 4-8, 2009.

Download the Call for Papers here.

Our biannual World Conference on Mass Customization & Personalization (MCP) is the premier event in this field. Bridging academic research and management practice, the conference provides an interactive and interdisciplinary platform to share ideas about mass customization strategies and to discuss the latest technologies and enablers.

In October 2009, the conference will move to the first time to Finland, home of a very strong and active community of mass customization researchers and practitioners.

This also is the first time that not Mitchell Tseng and I will organize the conference, but will pass the job to two friends and colleagues, Jarmo Suominen and Mikko J Ruohonen.

The MCPC 2009 will include four parts:

  • Part 1: Oct 4, Pre-conference workshops
  • Part 2: Oct 5-6, Innovation & Research conference
  • Part 3: Oct 7 Business seminar
  • Part 4: Oct 8 Business Labs (extended company tours and workshops)

Mass Matching: The Conference Theme

Mass Matching is the main theme of the 2009 conference. It implies a transition towards identifying and exceeding each of your customer interactions from a mass of product supply, marketing acts and customer experiences.

Our manifesto is to shift the mass customization debate from a mere physical product level to a perspective of total value system and life cycle experience and to go deeper on customer-centric communications. Mass customization should be more than just configuring a piece of hardware, but should be seen as the co-design of an entire system, including services and experiences at the individual, organizational as well as at the inter-organizational level.

The Main Conference

The MCP Business, Innovation & Research Conference is designed to engage academics, business leaders and consultants in enriching debates and interaction through a set of plenary presentations, discussion panels, paper presentations and business labs. In addition to the traditional functional conference streams of the MCPC conferences, we especially welcome submissions from managers and consultants reflecting upon the conference theme. In the MCPC2009 we have also company-initiated business labs, a co-creation challenge, and several focused workshops which will elevate knowledge creation and sharing during the conference.

Community building for the MCPC 2009

As a novelty in 2009 conference we will also invite you to build match-making in your area of interests and continue with wrapping up the results and discussions after the conference (matching will be opened 1 January 2009). We will launch blogs in our website for community building in all three sub-theme areas, customization, configuration and creativity. We encourage participants and authors to engage in these questions and to bring forth their experiences from an interdisciplinary and cross-functional perspective. The keywords of profiles and abstracts are needed for conference match making.

Profile creation & matching your personal interest areas via idea outlines, paper abstracts, and presentation descriptions will start at 1 January 2009.

Submission process

We invite you to start working today. The submission site will open in January 2009.

Contribute to the co-creation process of the MCPC 2009 by submitting your best work on mass customization, personalization and related areas.

All papers have to be written in English. We prefer papers which go beyond pure conceptual contributions and are empirically grounded. We are open to a diverse set of quantitative and qualitative methods of empirical research. We seek papers following the idea of "engaged scholarship" being relevant to both practice and research.

Short/Full papers or Presentations: Either 4-8 pages or max. 25 pages  (12pt font, double line spacing) or 15-20 slides for 20 minute presentation.

Only full papers will be considered for the conference's Best Paper Award and selection procedure of papers for the final conference book publication.   

Conference proceedings
: The conference proceedings will contain short abstracts of all accepted papers. Authors of accepted papers can decide if they submit a (revised) version of their full paper for publication in the full-text proceedings of the conference, or just a summary version which does not compromise publication of the paper in top journals.

We will connect a number of highly respected academic journals for featuring special issues with selected conference papers after the conference.

To submit a paper (for practitioners: presentation proposal), please use ONLY the online submission system for this conference on the conference web site (the submission system will be opened in Jan. 2009). Do not submit papers per e-mail directly to the conference chairs.

All papers will be double-blind reviewed.

Important dates

  • March 31, 2009  Deadline for abstracts/outlines/presentations (may be extended)
  • April 30, 2009 Full paper submissions due
  • June 30, 2009: Notification of accepted contributions
  • Aug 31, 2009: Final submissions & Author registration deadline
  • Oct 4, 2009: Pre-Conference
  • Oct 5-6, 2009:  Innovation & Research Conference at Aalto University
  • Oct 7, 2009:  Business Conference
  • Oct 8, 2009: Business Labs (company case workshops)

I am very excited to work with Jarmo and Mikko on this conference, and hope to see all of you there as well !

More information:

For more information, please contact the conference chairs …

Prof. Jarmo I. Suominen
University of Art and Design

Prof. Mikko J Ruohonen
University of Tampere
mikko.j.ruohonen at uta.fi

… or the Chief Conference Organizer:

Renita Niemi
University of Art and Design Helsinki