4 04, 2013

Mass Customization at HannoverMesse – Project KUMAC Featured in #HM13 Science Hall

By | 2018-06-14T06:47:53+00:00 April 4th, 2013|Co-Design Process, Customization Trends, Events, Featured Research, Offline Customization, Research Studies, Service Customization, Technologies & Enablers|

BannerFrom 8th to 12th of April 2013, famous trade show  HannoverMesse will take place in Hannover, Germany. Are you going to be there? Great! So will I.

The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) will have a large exhibition stand in a prominent spot (hall 2, stand C24) and has invited my research group at RWTH Aachen University to join them. We will present the latest findings from our research project KUMAC which is being funded by the BMBF.

I will be there on Monday, 8th, during the afternoon. Of course, members of our project team will be present throughout the week. So if you are going to visit any the largest industry tradeshow of the world, make sure to stop by! 

The objective of the KUMAC project is to develop new
methods for mass customization providers in the German retail market
These methods support an increase in productivity and value creation
potential of these retailers.

At HannoverMesse we will simulate the prototype of an interactive value-creation process in mass customization, using KUMAC technology to demonstrate its potential to increase both effectiveness and efficiency. In detail we will show and expain:

  • The Live-Help-System connecting online-offline configuration,
  • The Tablet Configuation Software,
  • 3D-Scanner and Softwaretools as well as
  • RFID-Technology for mass customization.


19 12, 2012

[Book Review] Custom Nation: Why Customization Is the Future of Business and How to Profit From It

By | 2018-06-14T06:49:06+00:00 Dezember 19th, 2012|Books, Customization Trends, Personalization, Service Customization|

Banner"Customization of products is one of the most important business trends of this decade!" We hear this a lot when asking business folks about their opinon on the mass customization market. And we wholeheartedly agree.

"Offering customized goods is mainly a technical question, your product is either suited or not, and if it is suited, there is not too much more to it than having the right production processes!" We hear that a lot, too. And, probably not much to your surprise, we have a really hard time agreeing here.

Starting a successful customization business or expanding an existing business onto the customization market is nothing to take lightly (unless you want to join the 20+% of mass customization businesses that vanished from the market relatively fast, as we found in our MC500 study). Having the right product is only one of several important aspects, amongst which some are really suited to ruin your business plan if you do not consider them beforehand. 

Thank god there are some good books about customization to help you get up to speed and avoid all the little (or big) obstacles on the path between your ideas and a successful MC venture. And another pretty good one has just joined their ranks!

BookcoverCustom Nation: Why Customization Is the Future of Business and How to Profit From It

Anthony Flynn, Emily Flynn Vencat

Availible via Amazon Paperback or Amazon Kindle

 Coming from Youbars founder Anthony Flynn and business journalist Emily Flynn Vencat, "Custom Nation: Why Customization Is the Future of Business and How to Profit From It" brings some high quality information and expert insights in the form of a well-written, convenient to read book. 

Split into two parts the authors go in depth on the history and quirks of the customization market, their prediction for its future development and a lot of practical advise about how to start a successful customization venture, or roll out an expansion onto the customization market with your existing company. 

In my opinion this book is really worth reading if you are (planning to go) in the customization market. It is full of interesting insight with actual relevance and is easy and fun to read even for non-experts. My conclusion: Finally a kind of field-book and "how to do" approach that perfectly supplements the existing conceptual and academic texts.

Anthony Flynn and Emily Flynn Vencat also kindly agreed to participate in our series of MC&OI entrepreneurs! Please find the whole interview here!

A lot more information about the authors, their book and research can be found on their official website.

28 09, 2012

Interview: Glubal: A configurator for university-level education to solve the complexity of choice of study programs

By | 2018-06-14T06:50:46+00:00 September 28th, 2012|Customization Trends, Interview, MC/OI on the Web, Personalization, Service Customization|

Glubal logoWhether that be as a regular student, starting to dive into a chosen field of knowledge, or as a professional, taking the next career step by gaining additional skills, creating a matching a student`s very own situation of life  is very important.

However, there always have been a dis-connect: too many offers, and too much confusion. Since more than ten years, I am talking about the idea of an "education configurator".

Now this configurator finally came true.

Glubal wants to make flexible, individual university-level learning happen . The venture is just about to go live with their online configuration system and represents an educational network, connected to an online configurator.

Very simply put, learning interests (to-be students, professionals seeking promotion etc) will be enabled to configure a list of academic programs by the means of the configurator frontend. The programs offered are provided by the universities and other education facilities connected to the glubal network. The opportunity to filter avilible offers to match one`s own life situation best sounds like a compelling idea in theory.


Global configurator

Glubal Configurator: Beta version. Click to enlarge

Glubal results


Marc DrünerProfessor Marc Drüner, glubal CEO and partner at trommsdorff & drüner consultants, kindly agreed to engage in an online interview and explain the concept in more detail.

FTP: Professor Drüner, first. Congratulations to this great idea and realization! You have created glubal as an
intermediary to support a new kind of individual studying. Can you tell our
readers a bit more about the concept behind glubal and what makes it unique?

MD: Our brand glubal stands for global university network. We provide an online
platform (www.glubal.com )
making accredited study and training opportunities available online to students
and business in collaboration with international universities.

The idea of
derives from the background of the Bologna Reform ten years ago. The
establishment of the common credit point system (ECTS) and the
three-cycle-degree (Bachelor, Master & Doctor) in Europe makes a more
flexible and more international study possible.

As professor at the Steinbeis Hochschule Berlin for ten
years and director of an international management consultancy, I have gained
insights into economic as well as academic life. There is a problem on both
sides: Even though the employment market demands increasing flexibility from
employees and employers in terms of education and training, the current
mainstream educational system is just too rigid for many people and does not
support life-long learning. With glubal, we want to tailor study programs to
people’s individual, unique lifestyles. This is the way to ensure a smooth
entry into the jobs market and to guarantee chances of promotion by combining
working with studying for a qualification.

glubal’s USPs are individuality, flexibility and
. The unique feature of our concept is the glubal study
configurator (https://www.glubal.com/en/glubal-configurator ) . Dependent on a student’s personal requirements,
fields of interest, personal budget and chosen method of study, every course
component of our global university network can be combined flexibly and
individually with other components from elsewhere to create a study program
lasting as long as personal circumstances dictate. We ensure that the module
combination selected by a student will lead to a recognized degree.

FTP: Do you consider glubal’s target group to be more the
regular student, trying to go a more flexible way of studying or the “lifelong
learner”, the professional aiming to get additional qualifications?

MD: There is no conflict between students and
professionals for glubal in terms of the target group. Our service is aimed,
above all, at graduates and employees interested in promotion. We also offer an
attractive alternative for current students who need more flexibility and
individuality in their study.

Besides potential students, companies and colleges can
also benefit from our service. For companies, glubal offers not only a whole
new way to access the talents of tomorrow, but also the connection to the
university sector. For colleges and universities, we make it possible to take
on a growing number of students, to fill more places on existing modules, to increase
international brand recognition and improve access to business.

FTP: Establishing a network that allows to (more or less)
freely combine courses from different universities and nations with each other
sounds like a really challenging task, especially given the fact that the
awarding of academic degrees is regulated by national law. How do you ensure compatibility
between all these different modules?

MD: The given background
of Bologna Reform I mentioned before is the corner stone of mutual recognition
of credit points and academic degrees between colleges and universities in
different countries. People have been working on a more transparent and
compatible education system in the international context since more than ten

I think we have reasons to believe that this trend will carry on and
evolve further in the future and that glubal will be able to promote this
process. However, glubal will not interfere with the given administrative and
approval processes for academic modules at our glubal partner universities. The
degree-granting universities stay in the driver-seat and stay completely free
to define, which modules of other universities they do accept under their given
examination regulation.

FTP: The Bologna Process intended to do what could become a
reality with glubal: Allow to study internationally, not just in your country,
and in a way that works best for your interests. Yet, many politicians,
academics and students say that the ideas of Bologna have not been implemented
well enough to really work. What makes the glubal approach more promissing to
achieve better results in comparison?

MD: Of course there are still
dozens of problems to solve even after ten years reform, especially in terms of
the compatibility between the qualities of modules in different universities.
But you cannot deny that the mobility of students inside Europe has greatly
increased at the Erasmus program for instance. We believe in the vision of a
more tolerant education system in the future in the scope of Bologna Reform.
With glubal as an educational initiative we would like to contribute to the
process of harmonization between universities and help shaping a more flexible
education system in the future.

FTP: The idea of highly customized academic learning is not
new. Until today one of the great bottlenecks has been the lack of a
well-designed configurator, allowing (future) students to select the right
modules for their individual life situation and learning goal. Can you tell a
bit about the process in which your clients will select their individual
courses? Are they being guided or just presented with a configurator?

MD: We have been working the whole time on the more simplified and clearer
configuration process. Basically, a student only needs
to visit our online platform, choose his preferred subjects and other options
in our configurator and he will get the suggested study combination from the
system. Of course we also offer personal study consultancy through free hotline
with our professional study advisor, who will accompany the applicants along
the whole way of application.

Our first course begins this
autumn and the application has already started. Our glubal team will do the
best to cover the individual needs of our applicants. With the further
expansion of our global university network, we will be able to offer even more
flexible configurations in the future.

FTP: Developing a system that, if it works, could do a lot
to make flexible life long learning a reality is certainly no easy process. Can
you tell a bit about how you worked on designing the system? Did you work
closely with students and lecturers to get an idea of what they really desire
in a sort of customer co-creation?

MD: I am director of an international
management consultancy and professor at the Steinbeis Hochschule Berlin for ten
years. This kind of career combination enables the possibility to exchange
opinions with students, lecturers and companies for me. I have realized that
there are huge demands from both economy and academy in increasing flexibility
of the education system. The idea of glubal derives exactly from these demands.

FTP: Studying for a master's degree takes about five years,
often more. glubal is a private profit venture and as such is subject to the
laws of the market. How can you guarantee that students will be able to
complete their studies as planned in case of, say, glubal (or HighEd Solutions)
becoming insolvent?

MD: glubal is an aggregator of
studies and does not grand degrees. glubal students will enroll in and enter
study contracts with the chosen universities, and earning real credit points as
every other normal student. In this sense, they don’t carry any market risks in
terms of the possible fluctuation of glubal’s profitability.

FTP: Can you tell about your network of educational
institutions (universities, online course academies,…)? Which and how many
partners does glubal have so far and where are they from, geographically?

MD: glubal stands for global
university network. We have been in contact with universities from the USA, Great
Britain, Australia, Turkey, France, Iceland, Spain, Italy, Chile and of course
the so-called DACH countries (Germany, Austria and Switzerland). Many of them
are already official members and many other have given very positive feedback. We
are optimistic that our network will successfully expand to these regions. We
have also planned the market entry in BRIC countries in the future, starting
with Asia in 2013.

FTP: glubal offers scholarships as well. Can you tell a bit
more about these?

MD: We have already announced
the first three scholarship students for a bachelor’s, a master’s and a
doctoral degree at one of our first partner universities, the Steinbeis School
of Management in Berlin. With the growing membership of our university network,
applicants can expect more attractive scholarships at glubal in the future.

FTP: What are your plans for the future? Where do you see glubal
heading in the next 10 years and what do you think can (and should) still be
improved about the system/process as it is right now? Can we expect more
integrated services in glubal in the future?

MD: Like I mentioned before, we
are now already active in many countries. The intention of internationalization
will increase in the future. We have already planned the market entry in the
BRIC countries (Brasil, Russia, India and China) in 2013. Of course there are
still a lot to improve in every aspect, for example a bigger university
network, more personalized configuration, more optimized platform usability and
so on. The driving force in our team is to provide high quality education with
unprecedented flexibility to all students of the world.

FTP: Professor Drüner, thank you very much for the insights into the concept on glubal. Much success!!

14 08, 2012

Interview: Edward Witlox of RHIEM Services: Logistics for Mass Customization … for Build-A-Bear Europe and others

By | 2018-06-14T06:54:29+00:00 August 14th, 2012|Cases-Industrial, Interview, Personalization, Service Customization, Technologies & Enablers|

Courtesy of RHIEM Services, www.rhiem.com. all rights reserved!Mass customization companies are different from "normal" ones in a number of ways, like their need for a very well working webshop/ configurator that lets the consumer configure his dream-product in an easy yet powerful way. Or the special logistics setup required to produce/ assemble a customized product right after the customer submitted his order and to ensure timely delivery to his doorstep.

From my experiences with MC companies, especially small and medium sized ones, these logistical matters can be a serious barrier when ventures reach a critical number of sales and need to scale up their fulfillment and/ or webshop system.

Witlox, EdAt the MC2012 conference in June I had the pleasure of meeting Edward Witlox, Director of Business Development & Sales at RHIEM Services, a German company originally founded as a printing service provider which has since then successfully evolved into an alround e-logistics expert. As part of their efforts to positon themselves as a partner for MC companies they are, amongst others, responsible for a lot of steps in the logistics chain of Build-A-Bear, famous seller of individualized plush bears.

Edward was so kind to agree on giving us an interview about his views on the logistics aspect of MC, barriers faced and ways to overcome them, and why it can be mission critical for expanding companies to get a strong (e-)logistics partner in time.

FTP: Edward, you told me that RHIEM Services sees itself as a B2B service provider for all logistical needs of mass customization companies. This is an interesting value proposition. So what is it in more detail?

EW: RHIEM is a so called 3PL+ or Value Added Logistics Service Provider, offering, directly and indirectly, a complete of set of logistic services, e.g. (bonded) central warehousing incl. B2B & B2C fulfilment (pick, pack & ship), handling of returns, and of course all shipping. But we also developed into offering customized assembly and production of products for each individual consumer of our clients. And we can manage the complete e-commerce platform or a shopping cart plugin for existing web shops.

FTP: This sounds impressive, but how scalable are your customization services?

EW: Based on a very robust logistic process design (in terms of structure, systems, skills, staff, strategy, style and shared values) RHIEM offers services, scalable to the changing needs of its customers, allowing organizations with no warehouse capacity or without a large enough staff or expertise to manage inventory and orders, saving them costs, while offering a degree of flexibility. As a result, companies of all types are serviced with unlimited scalability.

Several of our current customers which started working with RHIEM while they were a start-up considerably grew during the years, also due to a very good cooperation between parties.

FTP: Pretend I was an entrepreneur on the MC market. How do I profit from contracting with a large company like yours?

EW: Entrepreneurs acting on the MC market will face a momentum to consider whether they remain doing the logistics themselves or decide to outsource. In the later case they will need a partner with a robust logistic process being capable of seamlessly aligning to the processes of the customer company. Being scalable in every facet, without any minimum restrictions to organizational size, turnover or storing volumes to start the cooperation, RHIEM guarantees entrepreneurs an enduring long term logistic solution. RHIEM is such a Service Provider.

As an ecommerce company, MC companies are still acting as a niche player, because their customer base will be mainly exist out of early adaptors of their products. These companies might extend their market, by going cross border. In those cases there are very few LSP’s, offering a scalable ecommerce platform with payment methods for every European country with features like multi-languages, multicurrency and VAT handling; completely integrated with a warehouse management system.

FTP: In your company you are especially responsible for MC clients. From your professional experience in the last years, what separates a mass customization company from a "traditional" one in terms of logistics needs?

EW: From out of a logistic perspective MC companies have a more demanding, intensive and complex logistic process, which also changes over time more rapidly. In general, offering a broad variety of product attributes or combinations to realize a customized product, results in a more complex manufacturing and assembling process, demanding more resources, with a bigger risk on mistakes, resulting in higher costs.

By provisioning flexible, but robust logistic processes, RHIEM is capable of matching complex customization demands, eliminating the risks, against slightly higher logistic costs.

FTP: One of your larger clients is Build-A-Bear Germany. What exactly do you do for them?

Buildabear workshopEW: RHIEM operates the complete B2C e-logistics for BAB, hosting and managing the web shop in terms of e-fulfillment. Actually we host the complete product catalogue and shopping cart. In practice this means that we handle the orders and take care of the financial receipt. After the payment is received, we do the picking of the chosen bear and its attributes, followed by the assemblage. Before packing the product in an eye-catching shipping carton, a fully personalized birth certificate of the bear is printed and added to the bear. Finally, we take care of the distribution of the parcels in Germany, Austria, Switzerland as well as in the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg.

Besides this, we also take care of the B2B fulfilment, by replenishing the BAB stores.

Both logistic flows are being preceded by the main logistic product flow from the manufacturer towards our central warehousing, with RHIEM taking care of these flow as well as the customs clearance for entering Europe.

FTP: Can you give any other interesting examples of MC clients you are working for and what was/is special about your cooperation?

EW: RHIEM services several clients with our Full Color Digital Print-On-Demand techniques, producing high quality individualized marketing materials.

FTP: Do you see logistics as a barrier for growing MC companies which did or are about to make the jump from a few dozen to several thousand sold articles each month? What can be done to overcome this barrier?

EW: All companies jumping from a few to numerous sold articles per month will face a momentum that logistics will become a big hurdle. Especially for MC companies, offering a large variety of product attributes, this hurdle is becoming an even larger barrier. To overcome such a barrier, MC companies do have to make a strategic decision, to ‘make or buy’. Because for many MC companies logistics are not their core competence, seriously hampering their organizational growth, it is wise to consider outsourcing in an early stage or invest heavily in resources and gaining logistic knowledge to do themselves.

FTP: MC is definitively a trend. What does it mean for logistics companies like RHIEM?

EW: With its ambition to become a Mass Customization Logistics Expert, RHIEM will have to extend their e-manufacturing and e-assembly capabilities, like embroidering and engraving to align with several kinds of modularity methods.

FTP: Which changes are you awaiting in the coming years and how do you adapt to best position yourself?

EW: While Europe is still experiencing a delay in cross border ecommerce (on avg. 4-6% of total sales) this situation is changing due to the reduction or even elimination of cross border barriers. RHIEM already has a major competitive advantage in handling cross border fulfilment. Now also optimizing its reverse logistics capabilities it will cover the complete forward & reverse logistics internationally.

Specifically on the MC trend we will face more and more companies adapting any type of mass customization, emerging from segmented standardization into tailored or even pure customization. RHIEM will align with these developments by anticipating and proactively investing in the resources, essential for deploying its manufacturing and assembling activities efficiently and effectively, resulting in the fact that RHIEM continuously will be able to stay tuned with changing customer demands.

FTP: Did you (have to) adapt a lot to satisfy the needs and wishes of your MC clients?

EW: Adapting to satisfy the needs and wishes of our clients is one of our core competences. Historically RHIEM transformed from originally a printing company into a Value Added LSP by adapting to changing customer demands. Nowadays this is one of RHIEM’s values, actively investing based on customer demand or trends to ‘Stay One Step Ahead’.

FTP: From your observations and experiences with MC companies so far, which tips and advises would you like to give in regards to the logistic challenges they are/ will be facing?

EW: The success of MC is in the execution

[not only in the concept]. The logistic process is essential in this stage and crucial for satisfying the customer. Due to the fact that technologies follow each other even faster and customer demands are changing more rapidly in the future, it will be mandatory for a MC company to adapt to these developments. Logistics will thereby become more and more one of the key differentiators between success and failure of a MC initiative.

By focusing on marketing, sales and customer service, MC companies will have a daytime job to deploy these activities well. In those cases, they need to rely on a proactive flexible, but robust logistic partner. RHIEM is ready for it, to fill in this role successfully on behalf of the customer!

FTP: Edward, thank you very much for these interesting insights and outlooks! Im definitively looking forward to follow your work in the coming years and see which ways you come up with to improve e-logistics for MC companies.

More information about RHIEM Services at their company website and also on twitter.

15 07, 2012

Personal Mobility by Daimler: New moovel platform wants to make travel more efficient

By | 2018-06-14T06:55:07+00:00 Juli 15th, 2012|Customization Trends, Long Tail, Personalization, Service Customization, Technologies & Enablers|

Copyright Daimler, www.daimler.de, all rights reserved!During his presentation at the MC2012 conference, Wolfgang Gruel from NBD at Daimler already indicated a major new offering that shall move Daimler into the nexat area of automotive transportation. Last week, this service was finally announced: MOOVEL 

It shal provide a more comnpelling answer on teh question: Why is it necessary that privately owned cars are often used in a really inefficient way, by either standing around most of the time or being driven by only one person where four or more passengers could be transported. 

One solution to this could be more car pooling. The idea is not new at all and i being offered in most (if not all) major cities over here in Germany. However, it is kind of revolutionary that a major car company like Daimler starts a project aiming at getting people to do what is, by traditional means, not in a car manufacturer's interest in the slightest: Buy less "useless" automobiles by using an improved, automated car pooling model. 

Daimler, though, aware of their social and ecological responsibility, has just launched a platform that does exactly that: moovel

Copyright Daimler, www.daimler.de, all rights reserved!The concept is really simple. Moovel is availible either as a (free) iPhone app or via their website. Users can easily offer unused seat capacity availible during a car ride they are going to take, at a certain time and from one destination to another.

Likewise, travelers in need of transportation can enter the time and places they want to go to and are instantly shown information about not only availible seats in privately offered car pool vehicles but also details on commercial rides by buy or tram offered by local companies. 

The best about it (especailly if you are used to the often tiresome information-websites of railway companies) is its ease of use. You literally do not have to invest more effort than it takes to alter one short sentense to your needs, by specifying when and where you want to go. The software does the rest, and beutifully so.

Since this is a pilot project by Daimler, the service is in German language and limited to the city of Stuttgart, Germany, for now. If it proves to be successful, though, it might be adopted and coming to a place near you sooner than you think.

So if you understand any German at all, I really recommend taking a quick look, its a concept that will be really interesting to watch evolve. More about moovel on their website.

10 07, 2012

Conference Report MC2012: The German Mass Customization Community Meeting

By | 2018-06-14T06:55:16+00:00 Juli 10th, 2012|Cases-Consumer, Cases-Industrial, Co-creation, Co-Design Process, Crowdsourcing, Customization Trends, Events, MC/OI on the Web, Offline Customization, Open/User Innovation, Personalization, Research Studies, Service Customization, Technologies & Enablers|

Copyright FH Salzburg, http://www.google.de/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=fh%20salzburg&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CFoQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.fh-salzburg.ac.at%2F&ei=EoPxT5vBMqqg4gTRqfncDQ&usg=AFQjCNFVR6AyMuGxHyBpGzKbuuuWdY_6jQ&cad=rja, all rights reserved!Unless you started following my blog just now, there is no way you could potentially have missed the announcements, special editions and features about the MC2012. This year's edition of the largest MC conference in German language, hosted by Dominik Walcher, Paul Blazek and myself, took place on 29th of June.

Despite the early time of day, the air already started to flicker from the upcoming heat of what promissed to be a really nice summer day at the marvellously desgined building of the University of Applied Sciences near edge of the Alp mountains in Salzburg, Austria.

About 150 professionals, researchers, entrepreneurs and enthusiasts from all parts of the mass customization landscape in the German experienced a tightly packed day dedicated to the opportunities of customer co-design.

Copyright TIM Lehrstuhl, www.tim.rwth-aachen.de, all rights reserved!

Panoramic audience shot. Click to enlarge!

And what a day it was! A buzzing audience followed the presentations of no less than 24 speakers, ranging from young entrepreneurs, telling the tale of their entrance into the MC market, global players and market leaders, giving insight into proven ways and tactics to profit from customer participation, to leading scholars, showing how latest research proves the concept of the integrated customer to be more than a trend.

To not only preach customer integration but actually live up to our words and integrate our conference participants beyond questions and one-on-one networking, we had a special feature in place. Werner Haring, founder and CEO of wallero.us, had contributed to the event's multi media experience by "installing" a social media wall right next to the stage.

Copyright Profilfoto von CoworkingSalzburg Romy Sigl CoworkingSalzburg Romy Sigl, all rights reserved!

Social Media Wall, Courtesy of wallero.us. Click to enlarge!

This application was a real eye-catcher and various running gags were born during the course of the event – and you still can follow the #MCSalzburg hashtag for a report of the conference.

 The day headed off with the introductory panel. After a hearty welcome by co-host Dominik Walcher, my research group's members Dr. Christoph Ihl and Thorsten Harzer outlined results from our research projects and demonstrated some of the numerical "magic" behind Mass Customization and Open Innovation and how it can be utilized to take the right decisions about mission-critical aspects that many companies do not even realize to be of great importance.

As an example: asked about the ideal number of customization options to offer in your configurator (solution space), would your answer have been: "As many as possible, since more choice equals happier customers!"? If your answer to this is "yes" then our latest resarch findings might offer some ways to improve your customer satisfaction.

Following Dominik Walcher's insight into the development and outcome of the MC500, our great study of the most important MC companies from around the world, I had the chance to present on the importance of customer integration and how companies of all sizes can profit from proper employment of the concept, as well as some new MC trends of the future.

Next on the agenda was the market panel in which Franz Blach (IDEO), Franz Hölzl (Kaindl) and Wolfgang Gruel (Daimler) gave really interesting and well-received insight how Open Innovation, individualization and co-creation have changed the way they are conducting their business and the ways they found to profit from it:

  • An interesting attempt at improvement of working culture were IDEO's working ethics, as Franz Blach outlined them. They are meant to be pretty much contrary to what we are used to in most larger companies these days. Instead of perfectionism and pressure, IDEO deems a culture in which close teamwork, prototypical work (things do not have to be perfect in their first iteration, can evolve and develop), error tolerancy and more fun are the key principles. While there is certainly more to a successful innovation company, this is certainly an approach favorable by many employees.
  • Franz Hölzl demonstrated how Kaindl was able to offer a totally new way to produce wooden flooring, printed with individual patterns and colors, in great looking quality. Because of their production technology and business model, they can deliver a much more customized product at a significantly lower price.
  • Wolfgang Gruel finally brought up the question if/why it is necessary that privately owned cars are often used in a really inefficient way, standing in the driveway most of the time and usually being too large for most of the time they are used. Daimler has been working on models to counter this development by employing car sharing, car pooling and affordable renting models. Nothing revolutionary new, you will say, but this time it is being done large-scale, by an international company, and not your small start-up next door. It will be interesting to observe whether Daimler can actually change something about the status quo or if the highly valued status symbol "car" will remain untouched by the means of sheer efficiency.


Original images copyright CoworkingSalzburg Romy Sigl , collage copyright TIM Group, all rights reserved!

Some captures of our speakers. Click to enlarge!

Next: the social media panel, moderated by Paul Blazek: For all those planning to integrate social media into their PR strategy as well, talks by Martina Partl and Clarissa Streichsbier of cyLEDGE were as insightful as Catharina van Delden's summary of her company innosabi's (unserAller, anybody?) work. Renate Gruber gave the finishing presentation about how her venture CupCakes made its way from a traditional food company onto the MC market:

  • Partl and Streichsbier pointed out that, while social media in regards to mass customization was nothing new anymore, the combination of social media and open innovation are a perfect match. This is certainly true in so far as open innovation per definition relies on participation and hence any media that is suited to increase awareness is potentially supportive for any OI initiative.

    Interestingly they chose Facebook as an example for a customizable information source. The important role of facebook as a customer relationship tool was stressed by all speakers in this panel. Certainly will be interesting to see if/how companies think of now ways to even better employ the platform for their needs. 

During the lunch break, there was time to check the 20+ exhibitors. Some had even set up live demonstrations of their product offers, like Pasterie, supporting us with freshly made pasta or CowCrowd, demoing their lovely wooden pendants, individualized on-location with your own image and/or custom text.

Next: The start-up panel, hosted by MC-blogging colleague Heiko Vogelgesang (egoo.de). Here, Sabine Beck gave an amazing presentation about how her jewlery business Amoonic manages to mix pre-configured and individually customized rings and more in a great portfolio that every manager dreams about: produced entirely on demand, without any significant need for storage space or the risk of wasting materials.

Interestingly, their configurator is not even visible if you enter their website. At first (and actually second) glance you will not notice anything hinting at the possibility to customize a ring. The configuration options do become visible, however, once you have decided upon one of the preconfigured designs. These can then be individualized using a wide variety of options. Possible combinations of gold, silver and gems of all kinds range from 150 to 2.5 million Euro. Certainly something in this for everybody.

However, from my own testing I found it hard to even find out that you can individualize the rings. You have to actually select one before a respective button appears and that could be a serious usability drawback in my opinion as many potential customers might not even recognize the potential of the store. It does, however, explain why about 40% of their sales are actually preconfigured, non-customized rings. Anyways though, with the average customer leaving between 400-500 Euro in their shop, the concept will certainly be profitable – especially since there are very low fix costs.

Next up was Stickvogel, a promissing start-up which specialized in embroiding and etching all kinds of motives into all kinds of goods. Lately they teamed up with major retailer Butlers, offering custom stitching to customers in Butlers' shops. This B2B customization service concept will certainly be exciting to follow over the (hopefully) next years.

Closing presentation of this panel was helt by Carina Schichl and Tanja Sieder, representing their business for unique custom travel guides, Nectar&Pulse, based on insider tips by what they call "soulmates" rather than generalized all-round information. Locals give their best tips for tourists which are then, upon checking, transformed into nicely layouted guides. While this is certainly an interesting idea per se, the issue I see with it is that the product might not be easy to market. As Schichl and Sieder pointed out, their target group originally were younger people. Instead, most of their customers are 30+. While their choice of age clustering is certainly debatable (and lead to one of the mentioned running gags of this conference), this raises the question: do they actually have the right product for the right market? If their average customer's age is above what they expected, they would likely be well advised to adapt to a different kind of information and layout which fits the needs of this target group better.

Next up was the retail panel. Moderator Jochen Krisch (excitingcommerce) did an outstanding job leading through an exciting lineup of big names: Former Bundesliga-athlete Sven Renz showed how his product line of completely customized ski/sports shoes has blessed his company with a yearly growth of 20-50%. However, I expect there to be an even larger potential in this market, seeing how ErtlRenz still "only" sold 2400 pairs of shoe at their peak last year.

Original images copyright CoworkingSalzburg Romy Sigl, collage copyright TIM Group, all rights reserved!

Some captures of the exhibition. Click to enlarge!

Claudia Kieserling, winner of this year's much-noticed Million-Dollar-Challenge by Zazzle, gave a short overview of individual shoe manufacturer selve, showing off some of the models availible to women around the world and giving some interesting insight upon questions from the audience. She especially stressed the importance of the customer's shopping experience, which should be more than just pushing a button and receiving a cardboard box.

A great final presenation in this block came from Max Kickinger. His soundbranding company is known for its work with some major companies like Porsche, Swarovski and many more. Commenting on a truly excellent video he explained how companies use clever sound branding to gain the consumers attention – often without him realizing to be guided towards the "right" shelve – and the checkout counter!

Following another networking break, the final panel of the day: The configurator panel, presented and moderated by Alexander Felfering of Graz University, had the technical side of customer integration covered.

Copyright CoworkingSalzburg Romy Sigl, all rights reserved!

Coffee-Break is over, back to the conference room, Alp-Style!

Andreas Falkner (SIEMENS) spoke about the challenges of complex product configuration, especially where multiple dependencies between customizable factors are to be respected (a good example why companies should reffer to an expert instead of just trying to headjump into the MC market).

Marc Herling of Lumo Graphics demonstrated how the use of 3D-configurators can be a blessing for the consumer who can imagine the to-buy product way better than it would be the case with just some images. With more advanced configurators, he says, the concept of WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) will more and more be replaced by YGWYW – You

[actually] Get What You Want.

On the other hand, developing a really well working, appealing 3D-configurator takes a lot more than the amount of work it costs to "just" shoot said product images. Hence, as with so many cases of exploiting new technological opportunities, its a balancing act and might often not be profitable for small companies.

HYVE's Volker Bilgram was up next. In his "Toolkits for Gamification" speech he explained how and why the aspect of playing – adding features that make the process of configuring/buying a product more fun than just an annoying act of shopping – can contribute to a retailer's sales figures. Again: If done correctly!

To complete this panel, Klaus Pilsl of IndiValue spoke about web based configurators and their part in the customer's shopping experience. His company is about to launch a major new "configurator as a (web) service" — something that has been tried for many years, but now finally may become true.

Copyright CoworkingSalzburg Romy Sigl, all rights reserved!My personal conclusions of this year's MC2012:

 (1) MC has great potential to significantly improve a company's sales figures and customer brand loyalty. However, to make it work successfully, more is needed than just to put up a fancy-looking configurator and then wait for clients.

Especially the dialog with the (potential) client is and will be even more important in the future, as more and more companies employ easily accessable social platforms like Facebook to communicate with their crowd. And a lot of both promissing start-ups and established companies could profit immensely from experienced coaching since, as Christoph Ihl had pointed out at the very beginning, even the right choice of customization options (not to be confused with as many options as possible!) can make or break your MC business. 

(2) Mass Customization needs to be less outcome-driven and to be looked upon from a higher, more meta-perspective to develop it further. I believe we know a lot about nice and perhaps even profitable BtoC consumer products. But what about MC services that tackle some of our true global challenges?

(3) Finally, the German MC community really is a nice crowd of great individuals, very eager to collaborate, to share ideas and experiences, and to network!

Looking back on a fantastic conference I truly want to thank everybody who made this possible, may it be as a speaker or a guest, an exhibitor or supportive staff member. Special thanks do go to my dear co-hosts Paul Blazek and of course Dominik Walcher, who did an outstanding job organizing this large event with his team at Salzburg University!

Copyright CoworkingSalzburg Romy Sigl, all rights reserved!

(Most of) our speakers! Click to enlarge!

14 05, 2012

Open Service Innovation: BOSCH Launches OI Community Dedicated to Auto Mechanic Services

By | 2018-06-14T06:57:11+00:00 Mai 14th, 2012|Cases-Industrial, Crowdsourcing, MC/OI on the Web, Open/User Innovation, Service Customization|

Photo courtesy of Bosch, all rights reservedBosch, one of the world's leading suppliers for (professional and personal) electronics and tools, has taken another interesting step in opening their innovation process

Bosch is not a new player in this field, already providing a general idea plattform where you can both submit solutions to specific problems and get the chance to send in and present your very own revolutionary idea for the next big product (enhancement). 

Now Bosch has taken things one step further. Seeing how automotive componentes and electronics are a major branch of their business they decided to go where problem-knowledge and improvement-ideas are most likely to be found: with the professional employer of Bosch's tool, the mechanic. 

In light of this realization, Bosch has recently launched the Bosch Open Innovation Plattform, specifically dedicated to professional garages and their employees. 

The concept of this community (which is so far in German language only) is twofold: The core-piece is a forum where professionals can discuss problems they may encounter during their work with Bosch's tools as well as exchange tips and tricks with colleagues from all over the nation (and the world, provided they understand German). Dedicated Bosch staff is also present on these forums so a direct interaction with company representatives is possible.

Next to this the plattform features an "Idea" section in which users (upon free registration) can submit their ideas about product enhancements and new solutions that they deem helpful/ necessary to better employ the company's products in "real life". Browsing through already submitted ideas is possible without registration. And of course you can submit ideas on how to improve the plattform itself (there even is an own section for this topic). 

A complementary "News" section is used by the company to transmit additional information deemed valuable for their target group. 

So far Bosch's concept seems to be rather successful with 400+ registered users and already 72 submitted ideas as of today, ranging from improved knowledge databases to concrete improvements of software provided by Bosch. It will be very interesting to observe where this communty of experts will go and which concrete outcomes it will produce. In any case a very good example of open innovation employment beyond "just" putting another idea website out there and wait. 

6 03, 2012

The Market for Mass Customization Today: Results from the Customization500. Part I: Company & Industry Structure

By | 2018-06-14T07:13:47+00:00 März 6th, 2012|Cases-Consumer, Co-Design Process, Customization Trends, General, Personalization, Research Studies, Service Customization, Technologies & Enablers|

MC 500 cover finalIn his recent report about mass customization, Forrester's J.P. Gownder concluded that "mass customization is finally the future of products".  But how does the future of products look today?

In a joint project, Dominik Walcher and I looked together with our colleagues Thorsten Harzer, Christoph Ihl and Fabrizio Salvador into the practice of mass customization. Our multi-stage study, "The Customization 500", is the first global benchmarking study on mass customization and personalization in consumer e-commerce.

In a series of postings, I want to introduce some of the results from this research. You find all about the Customization 500 (short: MC500) study in a special section in my blog, www.mc-500.com

Sample construction for the Customization500 benchmark study


Given the scope of the mass customization market, we focused our analysis in the Customization500 on companies that sell directly to end consumers (B2C), using an online toolkit for user co-design that is applied to change the physical characteristics of the product in a dedicated manufacturing step (hence excluding products where customization is embedded in the product like a smartphone). In addition, we pragmatically focused on companies which we were able to analyze as they had a website in either English or German language.

In total, we found almost 1000 firms meeting these criteria (refer to www.configurator-database.com, a continuously updated list of mass customization companies). Following an extensive evaluation activity, we identified 500 companies that lead this field from a customer perspective (see here the full list). For each company, we gathered more than 100 data points. Data was collected by a group of trained expert evaluators who spent hours on each website.

  MC 500 Sample construction

 Figure 1: Selecting the data for the Customization 500

Also, each website was at least evaluated independently by three evaluators, and we took care to investigate all cases where the inter-rater reliability was not sufficient. The result of this exercise was a ranking of all companies, and allowed us to identify some of the leading offerings in the field. Figure 2 shows a summary picture of one of the companies included in the study.


Figure 2: A typical illustration of the overall score sheet of a company included in the Customization 500 (to get access to  all 500 profiles included in the Customization500, you have to purchase the full market study).


Which are the dominating industries with mass customization offerings


Table 1 provides an overview of the categories where mass customization in BtoC online today is employed. We find some very crowded categories that dominate the market. As expected, the option to personalize items by applying a user design on a basic product by different forms of digital printing is leading the field (categories 1, 2 and 4). There also always seems to be room for another custom shirt business or personalized sticker / foil to decorate your smart phone. Interestingly, however, there also is a very large (and still growing) field of applications in the food and nutrition industry where mass customization is applied to customize taste and nutrition of food.

  MC 500 Categories Table 1

Table 1: Categories of mass customization application in the Customization500

Using customized products for the gift market is a growing, but still not over-crowded opportunity. Most vendors still see mass customization as a one-to-one business, providing a custom product for the buyer (hence, also the dominance of me, my, mein etc. brand names).

However, some of the most successful mass customizers have realized that mass customization offers a perfect cure of a common problem: „Oh my good,

[Name here]‘s birthday is coming up in a few days — I need to rush to get an „original“ present now – but what?“ Take customized chocolate. Chocri and MyM&Ms, for example, are competing with gift cards and gift books, not with other candy items. They are not to be eaten – even if they taste very good – but to express that I have thought of you and really have spent some effort in getting this present done. For this, I am willing to pay a premium of 1,000 percent or more. As a provider, however, this means that a delivery time of 24 hours is a must, plus advice for easy gifting, wrapping, additional greeting cards etc. Here, we still see many untapped opportunities.

When looking further in the domains of mass customization application, we interestingly only found very few good configuration toolkits (for functional customization) in the field of consumer electronics and computers. Here, apparently the improvements of hardware apparently make it less useful to customize a product via toolkits before purchase, but allow users to customize the product during the usage stage with an embedded toolkit. It may be a sign of the shift in mass customization that the early pioneer, Dell, today almost offers no customization at all at its website. Well, there still is a configurator, but the choice options are very limited.


A closer look into company structures


For 120 of the 500 companies, we also could obtain extensive data by means of a company survey. Figure 3 shows our two-step data gathering approach.

MC 500 Expert and company survey

Figure 3: The expert evaluation of the Customization 500 was followed by an extensive company survey of 120 companies

Descriptive statistics for the responding firms are given in Table 2, providing an enhanced insight into the company structures of the players in the mass customization market today.

  • About 83% of the firms were founded exclusively with the purpose of mass customization, while 17% run their mass customization business in addition to their standard business. In general, most firms are rather young.
  • Only 16% of the mass customization offerings are older than five years, indicating the long time lag from the description of the idea to the broader application of toolkits for co-design.
  • 54% of the firms have less than five employees.
  • Annual sales of the responding firms range from less than $100,000 to over $5 million in the last fiscal year, with the majority having sales of less than $1 million (83.5%).

These observations are consistent with our observation that the current dynamism in mass customization is driven primarily by innovative startups that have built their business models from the ground up and focus entirely on the promises of mass customization.

Table 2 Descriptive Data of Company Survey

Table 2: Descriptive data from the company survey of responding firms

Clones dominate mass customization entrepreneurship

If you have a good idea for a custom product, it will be copied fast. This is one of the major conclusions we can draw from our observations of the market. The barrier to entry for many products is rather low, and once an interesting idea comes on the market, copycats follow quickly. This in general has not to be a bad thing, as also clones help to build the market, generate attention, and signal to press that this is a new category.

However, for the pioneers this means that they have to focus as much attention on branding and differentiating their business as upon building the processes and systems. Patents or other forms of IP do not provide much help here, thus, we conclude: As a pioneer, be fast, smart, and differentiate your business beyond the brand name and your core products.

Despite the many "me-too" offerings, surprisingly often the late followers are doing very well in their segments. We see three reasons here:

(1) Strong growth opportunities in every market: The late comers even in the most crowded categories (like custom men's shirts) enter into a market that still is not matured at all. Overall, there is not one category in consumer B2C where custom products have more than a few percent of the overall category (in most cases, they have a few tenth of a percent!). So there is still enough space for everyone.

(2) Market education: Pioneers in a category often have to spend a lot of attention to educate the market and just let consumers (and journalists) know that this kind of custom product is available. Latecomers can build on this generated market education.

(3) "Best of Breed" solutions: Latecomers often perform as best of class of established players, combining the design elements of pioneers, but also of mass customization sites in other categories.  A recent good example if getwear.com, which came late with another custom jeans offering, but has the best online configurator in its industry.

Mass customization platforms make the third wave of mass customization

But despite many clones, we also found a lot of innovative business models. Some of the best performing companies in the Customization500 are not stand-alone businesses that deal directly with consumers, but are mass customization platforms. These platforms can be regarded as the third stage of mass customization development.

The first wave of mass customization was driven by the early pioneers in the field in the early 1990s, motivated by the opportunities of new flexible manufacturing technology. Levi Strauss is a typical example from this time. Most of these offerings worked offline in a traditional retail environment. Also, first internet offerings coming of in 1995 and 1996, like CyberChocy or Creo Interactive, came up at this time. But in most markets, consumers were not ready yet.

The second wave came with the internet economy, around 1998-2002. Often, startups at that time just opened, as everybody could do it, not as customers needed it. But some great examples of mass customization survived, like NikeID (opening only because former Nike CEO Phil Knight wanted to have „something in the internet“, and so they selected mass customization as this promised to cause little channel conflicts with established retailers). In the following years, the internet-based mass customization offerings matured, and many more followed. It was the broader development of online configurators that made mass customization happening in a larger scale.

But a third wave of mass customization is happening now: It is driven by companies like Ponoko, Zazzle, Spreadshirt, Cafepress, Lulu, Gemvara, and many others, which offer design, manufacturing, and retail capacity to everyone. These platforms allow entrepreneurs to open a dedicated mass customization business at very low investment cost. On these platforms, people are not just customizing to fulfill their own needs, but to create (micro) niche markets for their peers. The platform providers have successfully combined the eBay idea of very easily selling things over the internet with the customization model of robust fulfillment processes. Here, we are just at the beginning and will see many more applications soon.

In an upcoming posting, we look more closer into the state of the practice of choice navigation (configuration) toolkits.

Context information


MC 500 cover finalwww.mc-500.com: More information on the Customization500 study and a list of the 500 companies included in the evaluation. 


Mcpc2011_proceeding_long_coverhttp://bit.ly/mcpc-proceedingsThe Proceedings of the last MCPC conference cover many dozens of case studies, latest research, 2500+ slides, and 15+ hours of video of the plenary presentations. As part of the proceedings, you also find three detailed PPT presentations using the Customization500 data in larger detail.

MC 2012 banner blockwww.mc2012.org: Speaking German? Then participate at the next meeting of the German-speaking mass customization community (Salzburg, 29 June 2012) – and learn from some of the German champions of the Customization500 

13 02, 2012

Public Proceedings of the last MCPC Conference Published — Access all Conference Presentations, Papers, Videos

By | 2018-06-14T07:14:06+00:00 Februar 13th, 2012|Crowdsourcing, Customization Trends, Events, General, MC/OI on the Web, MCPC2011, Open/User Innovation, Personalization, Research Studies, Service Customization, Technologies & Enablers|

Mcpc2011_proceeding_ISBN_coverDid you miss the MCPC 2011 conference? It was a terrific event, and we really got great feedback and comments on the conference.  Check here for some conference pictures!

Richard Henderson at UC Berkeley has been very helpful in creating the best conference documentation we ever had! On a special conference website, the full conference program  is  now available with links to the slides of the presentations, full papers (when available), and many full videos of the plenary and keynote presentations (for Day 1 and 2).

To access this rich source of information (I estimate that this are 2500+ slides, 1000+ pages of papers, and 15+ hours of video), either use the access code you got as a conference participant, or purchase* the full text proceedings:

Bridging Mass Customization & Open Innovation. Proceedings of the MCPC 2011 Conference — including an access code to all presentations, papers, and videos. Edited by Henry Chesbrough and Frank Piller. Published by Lulu, Inc. (Raleigh, NC), 2012.

=>  Paperback version: ISBN: 978-1-4716-3023-1 (ca. 5 day delivery time)

=>  eBook version: ISBN: 978-1-4716-3086-6 (instant download)

For detailed information about presentations and speakers please also refer to the conference proceedings flyer!

*Note: Why do we sell these proceedings and do not provide open access? First, this would have been unfair to all people participating at the conference and paying the full fee there. Second, organizing such a conference is a big effort and investment, and we still need the proceeds from this publication to cover our cost. Third, many authors and presenters do not want to have their papers and presentations openly on the web, but agreed to a controlled publication only.

18 12, 2011

The $1 Million Zazzle Innovation Challenge: What is your great idea for the next in mass customization?

By | 2018-06-14T07:14:54+00:00 Dezember 18th, 2011|Cases-Consumer, Crowdsourcing, Customization Trends, Events, Long Tail, MC & Art, MCPC2011, MIT SCG, Open/User Innovation, Personalization, Service Customization, Technologies & Enablers|

Here is your perfect thing to do over the Christmas holidays:


Zazzle, a leading platform for quality custom products, is hosting their first "One Million-Dollar Innovation Challenge" to launch the development of the next, most innovative customization product or company.

This can be an idea for a new consumer product, but also one for an innovative service, health, business to business or whatever offering … Feel free to bring mass customization to a new level!

The contest had been announced during the MCPC 2011 conference dinner. It is hosted in association with MIT's Smart Customization Group and UC Berkeley's Center for Corporate Innovation,

The Million-Dollar Innovation Challenge and prize is open to any person or company with an idea for a customizable product. Applicants must create a one-minute video, describing their product and explaining why their innovative concept is special and will contribute to the growing movement of mass customization. Applicants will be judged on innovation and economic viability.

Jeff Beaver from Zazzle announces the Challenge. Photo by Bruce CookThe winner will gain access to Zazzle's world-class engineering team, which will support the winning project with software development, exclusive proprietary design tools and 3-D product visualization technologies. Additionally, Zazzle will fund the project with resources to develop a global product-marketing plan and launch the product to a worldwide audience of tens of millions of potential consumers. The winner will also receive mentorship from a veteran panel of potential investors and industry leaders, in addition to introductions to Zazzle's many brands and partners.

Zazzle will announce five semi-finalists on February 24, 2012. Academic experts, industry executives and active investors will help refine the concepts and plans for final evaluation and judge the presentations.

For more information, including objectives, application, rules and prize details, visit www.Zazzle.com/challenge.

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.

6 11, 2011

#MCPC2011 Business Seminar: How to Implement an MC Business at #Fluid, #JELD-WEN and #cyLEDGE

By | 2018-06-14T07:15:30+00:00 November 6th, 2011|Cases-Consumer, Cases-Industrial, Co-creation, Co-Design Process, Crowdsourcing, Customization Trends, Events, 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.

Three rapid panel presentations will provide a lot of inspiration and food for thought for small group discussions with your peers.

Andrew Guldman, VP of Engineering, Fluid
Rob Jellesed, Director of Internet Sales, JELD-WEN Windows

Implementing Mass Customization in an Established Company

Guldman_jellesedFluid Inc. and JELD-WEN Doors & Windows have collaborated to create a compelling and richly interactive window and door customization experience online utilizing the latest in mass customization technology. During this presentation, you’ll hear how JELD-WEN leverages technologies to inform consumer purchase decisions and provide pass through lead generation to the sales funnel. With the use of immersive customization capabilities, potential customers can now interact with photo-realistic products, zoom, multiple views, and color changes. Further, you will learn how mass customization has gone social, with JELD-WEN’s unique implementation of social shopping tools that allow consumers to customize complex products with friends online and share their designs with others. And, last you’ll understand how mass customization has proven to augment JELD-WEN’s in-store door and window displays and offered the company a non-traditional return on investment.

Paul Blazek, CEO, cyLEDGE
Crucial Design Elements for Successful MC Configuration and Interaction

BlazekSuccessful mass customization of products and services requires interaction interfaces and tools that are shaped according to the customers' heterogeneous needs. The interface design of these configuration systems becomes a decisive criterion for customer satisfaction. Besides offering a good approach to the specific customization possibilities it should help to reduce customer doubts encountered during the design process, support emotional mechanisms and persuade to make a purchase. But how are relevant customer requirements identified? What are crucial design elements that trigger an efficient interaction between the customer and the manufacturer. Paul will answer these questions in form of some guidelines resulting from his analysis of customer structures and configurator approaches in various industries.

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.

3 11, 2011

#MCPC2011 Business Seminar: Building & Growing a Mass Customization Business at #Rickshaw Bagworks and #You Bar

By | 2018-06-14T07:15:36+00:00 November 3rd, 2011|Cases-Consumer, Cases-Industrial, Clothing, Co-creation, Co-Design Process, Crowdsourcing, Customization Trends, Events, 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.

In this panel, three experienced entrepreneurs in mass customization will share their best practices on what did work and what not.

Mark Dwight, Founder & CEO, Rickshaw Bagworks
Design for Mass Customization: Real World Approaches for Design and Manufacturing

DwightMass customization comes in many shapes and sizes. Mark Dwight employs mass customization techniques in his small messenger bag manufacturing company, Rickshaw Bagworks, based in San Francisco. Dwight founded Rickshaw specifically to pursue a strict build-to-order operational model, as opposed to the traditional build-to-stock practice common in the fashion industry. At Rickshaw, mass customization is the foundation of the product design and development process. All product platforms are based upon four key design principles: (1) Decouple function and fashion; (2) Isolate complex core functional elements in a common, mass-producible "chassis"; (3) Save product "personality" for the final assembly step; (4) Add optional functional upgrades and fashion elements from a collection of "bolt-on" accessories. Based upon this design methodology, Rickshaw produces a family of full-featured, customizable computer carrying briefcases and backpacks at very competitive prices in its San Francisco headquarters. The benefits of this strategy include: zero finished goods inventory, zero inventory risk, minimum SKU count, vastly reduced forecasting complexity, ability to outsource most of the labor intensive work while insourcing all of the customization, price/performance flexibility, and fast turnaround of highly custom orders.

Anthony Flynn, Founder & CEO, You Bar
You Bars: Profiting from the Mega-Trend of Food Customization

FlynnDetailing You Bar's journey from my mother's kitchen to an 8,200 square foot commercial warehouse, this presentation focuses on how the customer and company have become less polarized. Customization obliges the customer to become co-creator and innovator, necessitating a dialogue between customer and company which allows each to better satisfy the evolving needs of the other.

Speaker T.B.A., Please Check Conference Website for Details

Investing in the Customization Trend

Mass customization start-ups have become subject to some major interest of Venture Capital firms. In this presentation, a member of the VC communities share some insights on the market for mass customization from this perspective and why mass customization and co-creation are important drivers of successful future business models.

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

3 11, 2011

#MCPC2011 Keynote Session: Setting an Agenda for Research & Innovation

By | 2018-06-14T07:15:39+00:00 November 3rd, 2011|Cases-Industrial, Co-creation, Co-Design Process, Crowdsourcing, Customization Trends, Events, MCPC2011, 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.

Discuss with your fellow participants your insights from the MCPC 2011 and close the conference with three forward-looking keynotes and a review by the conference chairs that will set the agenda until the next MCPC.

Vishal Gupta, Director Developer Network, Elsevier
Wither Scientific Publishing? Collaborative Innovation, Open Platforms and Personalized Workflow Solutions Has an Answer

GuptaWith an exponential growth of scientific information and wider distribution of services and data sources; integrated and intelligent search and discovery become crucial to the success of researchers. This is not possible without partnering on a platform that provides the ability to integrate workflow solutions in a seamless way, allowing a more meaningful use of the content. At Elsevier we are trying to bring a paradigm shift in partnering with researcher and developer communities on open platforms to jointly develop innovative workflow tools that are embedded deeply in user’s workflow, personalized to suit the individual needs, and geared towards driving research outcomes.

Kent Larson, MIT Media Lab
Urbanization from a Perspective of Mass Customization and Open Innovation

LarsonThis talk will provide a thought-provoking outlook by looking on urbanization from a mass customization perspective. It will propose a systems approach to creating new cities at four scales:

  1. New Urban Strategies – parametric tools to create urban blocks with the optimal mix of housing, commercial, retail, and services and their related infrastructure.
  2. Mobility-on-Demand – modular approach to assembling an ecosystem of mobility modes and new vehicles (like the CityCar)
  3. Personalized Places of Living and Work – mass-customization strategies for high-performance urban housing
  4. Proactive Technology – sensors, algorithms, and interfaces to proactively encourage energy conservation, healthy behaviors, and mobility choices.

Mitchell Tseng, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
Embodying Innovation for Customer Value – Building Bridges Between Mass Customization and Open Innovation

TsengIn our knowledge economy, value comes from generating creative ideas and then embodying them in products for transactions. Mass Customization starts from finding out the customer value and then try to create the best combination of components that shape the physical products for customers to buy. On the hand, Open innovation invites creative idea from everyone, from partners, suppliers, customers and others to contribute for a defined purpose that is valuable. Either approach involves a critical step of transforming abstract idea to tangible products, connecting concept to physical world in order to achieve customer value. Although there are products that can be valuable in abstract forms or software, majority of products still relies physical embodiment. This presentation will like to address the interface between electronically moveable and immoveable. Some of the techniques that can be adapted to amplify the synergy between these two essential components will also be reviewed and discussed.

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