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Frank Piller Speaker Biography

World-Renowned Expert in Innovation and Technology

Frank Piller a professor of technology and innovation management at RWTH Aachen University, Germany, one of Europe’s leading institutes of technology. At RWTH Aachen, he currently serves as a Vice Dean for Strategy of the School of Business and Economics. Before entering his recent position in Aachen, he worked at the MIT Sloan School of Management (2004-2007) and has been an associate professor of management at TUM School of Management, Technische Universitaet Muenchen.

Customer-Centric Value

Prof. Piller is regarded as one of the leading experts on strategies for customer-centric value creation, like mass customization, personalization, and innovation co-creation. His current research focuses on the need of established corporations to deal with disruptive business model innovations and supporting organizational structures and cultures. At RWTH Aachen, he is a principle investigator of the Cluster of Excellence on Flexible Production Technologies, focusing on business models for additive manufacturing. He is the Chairman of a cross-industry group hosted by VDI (Verein Deutsche Ingenieure) to develop standards in the field of platform-based digital business models („Fachausschuss Geschäftsmodelle für Industrie 4.0„).

Innovation Research

Under Frank Piller’s leadership, his group at RWTH became one of the globally leading research centers for open and distributed innovation, supported by competitive research grants of about US$1million annually.  As indicated by a h-Score of  44, >10,000 citations of his publications (Google Scholar), a Klout score of >60, and more than 250 general press articles about his studies (and listed as the only German professor on LDRLB’s „Top50 Profs on Twitter“ list), his work has attracted broad attention and reception in academia and the management community.

Keynote Speaker

Frank Piller is an acclaimed speaker at management conferences and in executive education programs around the world. He has consulted and delivered executive workshops for most Dax30 and many Fortune 500 companies and contributed teaching modules as a guest professor at a number of leading business schools, including HKUST, IE Business School, Vlerick, St Gallen, TUM, or MIT. At RWTH, he is a recipient of the RWTH Teaching Award of 2010 and 2015. Frank also received an award for teaching innovation within the German Exzellenzinitiative for introducing the first European MOOC with ECTS points, a potentially disruptive innovation to the business model of established universities.


In addition to his academic endeavors, Frank is engaged as an investor, partner, or advisor in several companies. In the moment, his largest hobby is Doob Group, a pioneer in 3D printing & modelling, where he serves as a non-executive board member and active investor.

Frank Piller Speaking Topics

Business Models for Industrie 4.0 (Industrial Internet of Things)

The Industrial Internet of Things is perhaps the major recent business & technology trend: Connected goods, self-ordering fridges, and optimized industrial production. But which applications are actually economically promising? This talk will explore why without the right business model, the Industrial Internet of Things will just remain a nice idea.

A Culture for Open Innovation & Customer Co-Creation

How to create readiness for open innovation to benefit from input and knowledge from your firm’s periphery. One of our most established talks building on a strong stream of research on open innovation and customer co-creation since 2001.

Business Model Innovation (BMI): Creating a systematic process for growth

Successful business model generation in established companies is not luck or trial-and-error, but can be planned and executed. This talk discusses how a systematic approach for BMI can be constructed and implemented — as we today know that business model innovation is much more than drawing a nice canvas picture.

Additive Manufacturing & 3D Printing: The Economic Perspective

Additive Manufacturing or 3D-Printing is one of the hot topics in both industrial production planning and consumer goods. A myriad of potential applications appears to emerge, but which are actually worth looking into? And how can this technology change the way we think about complexity and individual products? This talks explores 3D printing from the perspective of economics and consumer research.

Mastering Disruptive Innovation: Why is it so difficult

How culture and “best practices” hinder organizations to implement radical innovation and what can we do about it.

Cracking the Code to Mass Customization

How to turn heterogeneity of customer demand into an extraordinary profit opportunity by creating a set of dedicated strategic capabilities.

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