Miele goes open source! - A disruptive paradigm shift for new customers
Miele develops an open source washing machine focusing on modularity for new customer segments.

Solution

Currently, all manufacturers apply the same strategy and base their business model on proprietary technology and knowledge on one hand and price / quality segments on the other hand.

Miele is the first manufacturer to build an additional segment that pursues an open source approach for washing machines: all specifications of the hardware and software are published and released to the open domain, interaction with the public is encouraged (development & new ideas). Miele continues to sell parts for these "open source" machines.

It seems like suicide and cannibalism of the existing business model, but by carefully crafting the strategy, the following advantages could follow: * Benefits from active development of the crowd * New customer segments that cannot afford a Miele currently, but have skills to assemble a washing machine gradually and who wish to be self-determined in their way of life * Improving Miele core brand as Miele is seen as modern, socially engaged and caring about the environment. (Last but not least, Miele as family owned business can "afford" this long term vision approach.)

Obviously, there are some factual and psychological obstacles to overcome as it would embark in a new type of culture.

A scaled down version of a radical open source strategy (hardware and software) would be to open up the firmware on machines to encourage the community to "hack" the machines and create digital ideas (at least tolerate this approach like Canon does with chdk [if you don't know it, please google "chdk"]).

After all: Who in the world of washing machines do you want to be in 10 years time? a Nokia phone powered by Symbian or a Google phone powered by Android?

(Obviously, this is a very brief and rough sketch of a potential strategy and needs much more thought and detailed work [which I used to do with a former employer...]).

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