Dr. rer. pol., Universitätsprofessor

Frank Thomas Piller

Professor and Head of Group

Professor Dr. Frank T. Piller
Institute for Technology and Innovation Management (TIM)


Building: 3011

Room: B 360

Kackertstraße 7, 3. Etage

52072 Aachen


Phone: +49 241 80 93577
Fax: +49 241 80 92367

Office Hours

Mi. 13-14 Uhr, nach telef. Anmeldung im Sekretariat

Personal Data

Frank Piller is 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.

A major stream of Frank Piller's research focuses on innovation interfaces: How can organizations increase innovation success by designing and managing better interfaces within their organization and with external actors. This stream of research includes topics like value co-creation with customers/users, responsible innovation by stakeholder involvement, strategies to increase the productivity of technical problem solving by tournament-based crowdsourcing, and new models for knowledge transfer between universities and industry.

In addition, Frank Piller has a long established research tradition in the field of mass customization and personalization, with a focus on investigating strategic capabilities and business model generation for these strategies. This also includes an upcoming larger research stream on the economic effects of additive manufacturing technologies ("3D Printing"). At RWTH Aachen, he is a principle investigator in the National Cluster of Excellence on Integrated Production Technologies, focusing on business models for Additive Manufacturing.

His current research focuses on the need of established corporations to cope with the challenge of digital transformation and similar disruptive technological innovations. This includes a growing stream of research on digital business models and the systematic design of platform-based business ecosystems, but also research on Leadership for Industrie 4.0 and the establishment of organizational structures and cultures that allow for change. 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").

As indicated by a H-Score of >44, >10000 citations of his publications, a Klout score of >60, and more than 250 general press reports about his studies, Frank Piller's research has attracted broad attention and reception in academia and the management community. Harvard Business Review and McKinsey nominated him as a finalist in their "Innovating Innovation MIX Challenge" for his work on internal firm structures for successful open innovation. Together with Mitchell Tseng, Frank Piller initiated and co-chaired the MCPC conference series, the largest professional event on mass customization & personalization.

Frank Piller is a frequent speaker at management conferences and in executive education programs around the world. He has consulted and delivered executive workshops for most Dax30 and many Fortune500 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.

Frank Piller graduated with a Ph.D. in Operations Management from the University of Wuerzburg, Germany in 1999. His habilitation (tenure in the German university system) is from TUM Business School. He is a fellow of the German Scholarship Foundation and a founding member of the European Academy of Management.

Selected Publications (a full list can be found here)

Additional Links

Curriculum Vitate
Publication List
Google Scholar Citation Impact
ResearchGate Page
Frank Pillers professional Homepage