Wednesday, 16 May 2007


Thanks to Andrew for the link to the sneak peek this new game, inviting people to rethink everyday objects to be more environmentally friendly. I'd been thinking about something along similar lines tonight coincidentally

The classic green formula is reduce, reuse, recycle

The product service systems idea is to substitute a product with a service that meets the same need: ie re(organise)

I was wondering how many other re-(verbs) there are and it seemed like an interesting re(source) to build up.

Here's a starting thought. Re(age)

People crave novelty and new experiences. Currently this is served by a mass production industry who produce fashions; items which are new each season. Traditionally it is served by initiations, keeping things hidden from people until they reach a certain stage and are ready for new experiences. I know initiations rituals have other important functions. But go with me a little on this... What if products in markets where people crave novelty had strict age ranges. You'd lease them of course, because you'd not be keeping them that long. You see this in clothes that kids grow out of and toys and books, to the extent they are passed on through generations, donated to charity shops etc. You'd also move broadcast media to strict age-range bands. You'd look forward to your 8th birthday (or 80th) in a new way. In many ways I am saying why not go with natural age/stage preferences. Restricting supply is a great way to add longevity and retain value (witness disney strategy for key animated films). Things date because they are too broadly exposed, niches never age (eg fashion vs goth fashion). It only seems conformist because we are not used to it; fashion is ironically the most conformist cultural driver of all. I think the name for this concept is the AGE RANGE. It's about substituting lifeyears for fashion years.

At the moment that's an inkling, but I think it could lead to some interesting applications.

One is a christmas present pool. If you have a kid of 5, give away their 3 year old toys in exchange for ones for 5 year olds.

There could be a similar thing for adult lifestages; eg on moving in together swap your bachelor/ette pad goods (shot glass chess) for coupling stuff (fondue sets). I think there could be some really nice community stuff around this; a group meetup session for people becoming live-in couples, or leaving home & so on; a proper initaition with the physical goods being just an external marking of bigger changes.

And in straightforward terms the back catalogue of the whole entertainment industry will spring back to life. If you cant watch a film until you are 11, or 23, or 61... boy would you want to see it. Why make films & programmes as commodities?

It's probably more parable than application yet, but it's a marker.

So: reduce, reuse, recycle, reorganise and reage... and what else...?


John Grant said...

Overnight thought on the re(age) scheme. Another element of what is being discussed here is the power of restricted access. Gmail was basically hotmail with storage; except that you could only get it by invitation. And the idea of concealed, veiled and secret goods is intriguing too; things which are not only not advertised but hidden from view.

Leland said...

have you seen this?

John Grant said...

very interesting

+ point is making informed decisions

? points are about the details
1. if it differentiates between footprint of individual carriers & their fleet/rolling stock etc.
2. if it is a 'dont worry just offset' thing

I'm going to ask a CSR mate to check it out for me, but I agree with Dino on infographics

A similar potential thing that is being bandied around is phone based product checking services for when you are shopping (not only ethjics but best price in town etc)

Ethical consumerism is all about better information