Customerism

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Description

"In 2006, the Irish business writer, Donal Reddington, constructed a map of the social and technological developments that have been leading toward mass-customization as a viable business model and for which he used the term ‘Customerism,’ to better describe the attributes it contained.

Reddington summarized the threads in this map as

- “Mass Customization + Custom Marketplaces + Online Factories + Co-creation + User Innovation + Outside Innovation + Creative Commons = Customerism.” (http://scholar.lib.vt.edu/theses/available/etd-12152009-131820/unrestricted/Pfeiffer_DV_T_2009.pdf)


Discussion

Dianna Pfeiffer:

"In the essay and map, One Word for Many Trends, Donal Reddington describes the confluence of events he sees as affecting the rise of customer control in business. For this discussion, it is probably sufficient to highlight the time frame and some of the connections he made for their relevance to distributed making.

Reddington points to influential books regarding these kinds of business strategies, the ideas of which were largely theory at the time of their publication. For example, with Alvin Toffler’s 1970 Future Shock and Toffler’s concept of a ‘pro-sumer,’ - someone actively working in concert with a producer for more appropriate goods and services. And the 1993 publication of Joseph Pine’s Mass-Customization - the New Frontier in Business Competition, a book that sets out strategy for the implementation of mass-customization in a business enterprise.

Reddington principally covers important technology-related developments. Where for example, after the first web browser in 1991, and the first built-to-order products via the web in 1996, other changes quickly build upon these advancements. These include the introduction of Creative Commons licensing for online content in 2001, and the development of the social internet in the early 2000s, which combine to encourage peer review of product designs, and online custom marketplaces. Add the growth of digital manufacturing to these prior examples, and they give rise to the creation of online factories. In Reddington’s assessment, these are all steps leading to the maturation, and soon the mainstreaming of user involvement in the design and production of goods and services.

These trends show the growing potential for individuals outside the conventional system of production to physically create objects of their own design. They also describe how access to digital fabrication tools provides for individual creativity and problem solving on a much greater scale than has been available to most at any time previous. These activities appear to be on the cusp of redefining the roles of large producers while they actively generate new types of activities and businesses that will lead to further, and likely greater change in the future." (http://scholar.lib.vt.edu/theses/available/etd-12152009-131820/unrestricted/Pfeiffer_DV_T_2009.pdf)