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Frank Piller thinks and teaches about how firms can co-create value with their customers.


Frank Piller is a chair professor of management at the Technology & Innovation Management Group of RWTH Aachen University, Germany, one of Europe’s leading institutes of technology. He is also a founding faculty member of the MIT Smart Customization Group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA. Before entering his recent position in Aachen in March 2007, he worked at the MIT Sloan School of Management (BPS, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Group, 2004-2007) and has been an associate professor of management at TUM Business School, Technische Universitaet Muenchen (1999-2004).

His research focuses on value co-creation between businesses and customers/users and the interface between innovation management, operations management, and marketing. Frequently quoted in The NYT, Financial Times, The Economist, and Business Week, amongst others, he is regarded as one of the leading experts in the fields of mass customization and customer centric value creation. Frank Piller's 1997 article in the German edition of the Harvard Business Review and his first book on mass customization (1997) brought this topic onto the management agenda in Germany and other European countries. He is the author of numerous other papers and has written / edited six books. His present major book publication, "Mass Customization" (published by Gabler Verlag in German), was awarded five prizes (4th edition published in 2006). His recent analysis of “Threadless (co-authored with Susumu Ogawa), an innovative crowdsourcing business model in the fashion industry, has been elected as one of the Top-20 articles in MIT Sloan Management Review.

Frank Piller graduated summa cum laude with a Ph.D. in Operations Management from the University of Wuerzburg, Germany in 1999. He is a fellow of the German Scholarship Foundation and a founding member of the European Academy of Management. His research is supported by grants from industry and the German Federal Ministry of Research (BMBF), the European Community, and other institutions. Together with Mitchell Tseng, Frank Piller initiated and co-chaired the MCPC conference series, the largest professional event on mass customization & personalization.

As a founding partner of Think Consult, a management consultancy, he helps his clients to serve their customers better by using truly customer-centric strategies. Frank Piller has consulted and delivered executive workshops for more than fifty companies. In addition, he is a frequent corporate speaker and keynote presenter at various conferences. As a member of the board of directors of several innovative companies, he strives to transfer his research insights into practice and to provide creative input and feedback to these companies on how to build a profitable business by serving their customers individually.


RWTH Aachen Technology & Innovation Management Group, Lehrstuhl TIM, Kackertstrasse 15-17, 52072 Aachen, Germany
piller [at]
+49 241 809 3577

MIT Smart Customization Group, MIT Design Lab, attn: Betty Lou McClanahan, MIT Media Laboratory, 20 Ames Street, Room E15-228, Cambridge, MA 02142-1308
piller [at]
Tel +1 617 326 3748

Personal Homepage:

Mass Customization & Open Innovation Web Site & Knowledge Base:


Creating value by integrating customers in mass customization and open innovation settings is a fascinating topic for events and workshops on corporate strategy, innovation, marketing, customer care and relationship management.

Have a look on my list of recent speeches to get an idea about possible topics and themes. All presentations are highly interactive and engage the participants in a joint learning process.

Inquiries: piller [at]