Last year, as I was researching UGC (user generated content) I starting to observe that some physical goods manufacturers are adopting a form of user-generated content. They allow consumers to create (at least to some extent) the goods they purchase. Instead of having factories produce mass articles determined by a few producers, could factories become on-demand production houses based on the individual designs of their customers?
Trendwatching.com calls this trend MIY “make it yourself”, where users can design their own furniture, jewelry, and other goods, while the business serves as the production center, converting the digital information to actual products. An interesting example of this is Ponoko.com , an online factory in New Zealand, where you can design your own furniture among other goods. This one goes beyond the standard t-shirt and mug design shops like cafepress.com