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Comparative exploration of key challenges in customer co-design using theories of social presence

  • In mass customization, customer co-design is the process in which customers and business providers collaboratively map the personal requirements of customers into design specifications for individualized products. Whether this process is realized in-store or entirely via the internet, efficient systems for customer co-design are the linchpin to leveraging mass customization. The increasing proliferation of digital media at this customer interface calls for a better understanding of media impact on the co-design process. Hence, the goal of this study is to explore the impact of digital media on customers’ perceived value in processes of co-design. We employ social presence theory for an in-depth analysis of six mass customization providers’ co-design processes. Data was collected through web-based documentary research, participant observation, semi-structured expert interviews and two focus groups with customers. Three key challenges are identified and explored: (1) Encouraging discovery addresses the issue that digital media tend to limit discovery yield. (2) Fostering creativity addresses the issue that digital media are better in supporting creative achievement. (3) Facilitating reinforcement addresses the issue that digital media tend to under-serve the need for direct human feedback and enjoyment. Mass customizers need to thoughtfully manage the level of social presence in the co-design process, i.e., by providing spaces of low social presence to foster creativity in-store, and by providing high social presence offers to foster positive

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Document Type:Part of a Book
Author:Stefan Thallmaier, Hagen Habicht
Center:Center for Leading Innovation and Cooperation (CLIC)
Year of Completion:2015
In: Albach, Horst; Meffert, Heribert; Pinkwart, Andreas; Reichwald, Ralf (Eds.). Management of permanent change. Wiesbaden: Springer Gabler, 2015, 121-142