By William Seidman You can think of mass customization as the art of designing a product  — be it a good or a service – to meet the precise needs of a particular customer, who has specified those needs – and at a price near or at that for mass production. Futurologist Alvin Toffler, in the 1970s,  looked ahead  to imagine a customer as a “prosumer” – someone who is both producing and consuming the product. In the 1990s the idea began to become reality. He later worked for IBM developing these and other ideas. Toffler also famously said, “Change is not merely necessary to life — it is life.” An article we’ve titled “The Delicate Balance: Mass Customization for Large-scale Organizational Change,” which Mike and I wrote for the International Journal of Mass Customization   has been accepted for publication sometime soon. In it we talk about the conflicting needs in any change initiative: central leadership wants to design and drive change, but change must feel homegrown to really be effective. The idea is to get the best of mass production: economies of scale, standards, consistency, and the best of local adaptation – responsiveness to customers, cultures and local needs . Applying mass customization to performance improvement uses these ideas. The positive deviant social good and the key defining principles become the basis of the mass part; adapting the applied learning tasks to local conditions is the custom part. Organizations that are willing to try this get the best of both worlds. Want to learn more about mass customization?  “Made for One” is informative and carries no advertising.  It seems to exist to educate visitors to the site. Wow.]]>

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