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Prosumers deliver the real future shock for CIOs

When the futurist Alvin Toffler introduced the notion of the ‘Prosumer’ in the early 1980s he said it was the “progressive blurring of the line that separates producer from consumer”.

Toffler described a new age of prosumption as the arrival of a new form of economic and political democracy, with self-determined work, labour autonomy and autonomous self-production. Of course his concept of prosumption was centred on consumers taking a more active role in the production of “mass customized” products, hence the name prosumer as a mix of producer and consumer.

While Toffler was thinking about new approaches to industry production he may not have realised just how disruptive the prosumers that he began to describe would eventually become during the digital age.

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