Open Customization

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= a form of mass customization, in which customers do not have a fixed choice, but an open choice in designing their own products


Description

Companies build around the idea of letting customer design their own products:

"Over the past few years a number of businesses have given consumers the ability to design their own products. This goes beyond deciding on which options you want installed on your new car, or whether you want an extra gigabyte of memory installed in your new laptop. Companies have been built around user-designed products.

For example, moo.com allows users to use existing images, upload their own images, or import images from their accounts on sites such as flickr and facebook, and print these images on stickers, business cards, or notecards. The user designs everything but the sticker, business card, or notecard their design is printed on.

Threadless.com, an ongoing t-shirt competition, lets users submit t-shirt designs which the Threadless community can vote on for a period of seven days. The Threadless team picks t-shirts to be printed among the top scoring designs and sells these in their online shop. Not every user may get to wear his or her own design, but all the t-shirts are user-designed.

For sports apparel, Nike’s NIKEiD let’s users customize the colors and text of different models of shoes, clothes, bags, and wristwatches for themselves or their entire team. Prints and clothes aren’t the only things consumers can customize.

Mymuesli lets users mix their own breakfast cereal. After selecting a base mix, users can add their favorite dried fruits, nuts, and extras.

These sites offer different levels of customization, from full design to altering the colors of existing products. No matter what the level of customization, the most important thing is getting users involved. None of these approaches would work without user involvement. And this is where simplicity pays off. The prospect of complex products largely designed by users is exciting, but it may be simple customized products such as business cards and breakfast cereals that cater to a larger number of users’ interests and needs, thereby attracting more users." (http://www.openbusiness.cc/2007/10/08/open-customization/)


More Information

Could also be considered as a format of Co-Design, part of the trend towards Co-Creation.

See also Crowdsourcing