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

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

About the Author:

Frank T. Piller is a Co-Director of the MIT Smart Customization Group at the MIT Media Lab, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA, and a chair professor of management at the Technology & Innovation Management Group of RWTH Aachen University, Germany, one of Europe’s leading institutes of technology. Before entering his recent position in Aachen, he worked at the MIT Sloan School of Management (2004-2007) and has been an associate professor of management at TUM Business School, Technische Universitaet Muenchen. Frequently quoted in The New York Times, The Economist, and Business Week, amongst others, Frank is regarded as one of the leading experts on strategies for customer-centric value creation, like mass customization, personalization, and innovation co-creation. His recent analysis of the crowdsourcing business model “Threadless” (co-authored with Susumu Ogawa), an innovative crowdsourcing business model in the fashion industry, has been elected as one of the Top-20 articles in MIT Sloan Management Review.