Meet Christian Guelpen, Editor in Chief of Mass Customization & Open Innovation News

Version2_web_2Everyone who knows me better may have wondered about the strong increase in blog postings since the last year. The reason is not that I discovered this extra 25th hour of the day, but that Christian Guelpen became a strong partner in form of an editor in chief and producer of this blog. Christian is in not just turning my blog ideas into great postings, but has also developed a great talent to know before me what I might be interested in. 

So, while I am very open to get your mails and comments in person, I also encourage you to contact Christian directly for any ideas for a story, any news, or tips.

Instead of a long introduction, here are three questions I asked to Christian:

FTP: What makes mass customization or open innovation such an interesting
topic for you?

CG: Mass customization is what I consider to be the future of retail, both for the B2C and B2B market. Historically, goods of all kinds were rather individual. On small local markets the demands of customers were well known to the sales- and craftsmen who were well-advised to make their products and services match these needs. 

With the industrialization came a loss of individualism in regards to every-day products. For a long time vendors had to produce stadardized goods to be competitive on a more and more globalized market. 

What we experience now is that mass customization takes the most globalizing of all technologies, the internet, and turns it into an enabler to make products and services more individual again, at a reasonable price. And MC is still developing. Once it has reached its full potential in a few years or so we will most definitively see applications of individual mass production that we can not even imagine as of today. 

And with regard to open innovation, I find it fascinating that it is not just about product innovation, but that it can serve a greater social goal by making knowledge and, equally important, emotions availible to others. The internet is the hardware, the great enabler of global connectivity. Open innovation is the software, the concept needed to channel all these connected minds to help them contribute in their area of interest. 

FTP: What would be a story you would like to cover for this blog?

CG: Ideally one in which a company manages to significantly raise its sales numbers by deciding to offer either mass customization for their existing products or employ open innovation techniques to find out what their consumer base really wants – and how it can be made reality. And while such stories of course do exist, I would love to cover the entire process of a large(er) company successfully implementing one (or both!) of the concepts, to give others an example of why and how it does work in practical details. So if anybody is just about to start doing this, please give me a call! 

FTP: What is the mass customization offering you are still waiting for?

CG: Truly individual books. By that I do not mean these already existing offers which customize stories by exchanging a characters name by yours but really individualized novels which are individually written based on what you think and dream about. Books that make your very personal fiction a readable reality. However, until somebody comes along and invents a mind reading device to serve as a capable "configurator" in this venture, fully customizable appartments (not just what you put into them) would be a great thing to have as well. 

By | 2018-06-14T06:54:36+00:00 August 1st, 2012|General, Interview|

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.