purposeful and individualized blending of cultures occurring. For better or worse we now have the ability to mix and match cultural influences from around the world to create a unique combination of our own. The companies that drive the global economy are feeling pressure to provide tailored solutions, not only to individual markets but also speci ic individuals. Our idea of a product is still physical, discrete, and mass produced but now also includes the intangible, constantly changing, and highly personalized.
Another change to the way we think of products is their increasing fusion with the services that surround and support them. Sometimes products and services stand-alone but often they rely on each other. When someone wants to accomplish a particular activity or complete a particular goal they might use numerous products and services in the process. The lines between the two are blurred in use and people may not readily distinguish between them. When something goes wrong (or right) it may be hard to attribute it only to the service or the product, which in turn affects the ways that people think about and define what a product is. Consider the case of a digital camera, which allows photos to be taken and viewed on a built-in screen. Generally people want to do more with a photo than view it on the camera and store it on their hard drive. So they turn to an ecology of other products and services that are, in the eyes of the user, integral to the usefulness of the camera. There are a myriad of activities associated with photos. People want to print and view them at home, take them to in-store printing kiosks, upload for Internet based printing, send them to friends, and share them on websites, they manipulate, edit, view, and archive them. They make photos into videos, convert them into calendars and display them nearly everywhere at home, work, and in public. After a photo is taken all sorts of products and services are needed to allow for these ancillary actions,