Customer-led economy ‘leading’ to cool towns? Part 1 of 2

You’re hearing more and more how customers are participating in the decision-making behind what they’re buying. Here’s a summary of terms used to describe this customer-led economy, with real-world examples and how it will help shape our communities for the better:

Customer-Led – The most generic description encompassing the entire field, also referred to as customer-driven or customer made. This website has an entire collection of entries on this topic here.

Mass Customization – The business definition – the industry term for the ‘how to’ behind the customer-led economy, such as Dell’s and Mini Cooper’s computer-aided manufacturing systems to produce custom output.

Co-Design – Well-documented in the newly published book Outside Innovation: How Your Customers Will Co-Design Your Company’s Future and accompanying “>blog by industry expert Patricia Seybold. This generally involves customizing a product just the way you want it. Examples include Nike ID, Levi’s and Scion.

Crowdsourcing – Mass volunteer participation and self-organization to create new products and services, like Wikipedia, YouTube, Flickr and now CrowdSpirit. More details in a previous entry.

Open Source Development – Originating as a response to proprietary software, the open source code is freely available to the public for use and/or modification, typically created as a collaborative effort in which programmers improve upon the code and share the changes within the community.

Beta Community – How all this applies to building better places to live, work and play. A beta community is a ‘cooltown-oriented’ community of future tenants that have a formal partnership with a development entity to build out their collective vision. Check out how to establish one here, and an example here.