Towards smarter consumption
Guess which common household product is used 20 minutes over its lifecycle at homes in the US. The answer? Power drill.
Why do we buy stuff that we use just for a few minutes and let it “sit idle” most of the time in the closet. Most people would reason with arguments such as convenience and shopping habits. Yet, there is an alternative approach to consumption: the “collaborative consumption” movement (see e.g. Rachel Botsman’s book “What is mine, is yours”.) Collaborative consumption refers to the bartering, sharing, trading, swapping of products, services, expertise, space and tasks.
In brief, let’s review some of the successful pioneers who are occupying the collaborative consumption space. For consumers, Swap.com enables an online platform for swapping books, movies and music. For B2B, Liquidspace.com operates as the "eBay for unused office space” in big cities. For consumers or businesses, Taskrabbit.com offers a platform to gain easy access to skills, tasks and services.
In London, Whipcar pioneered the “neighbor to neighbor car club”, allowing anyone to borrow or lend a car risk free. And how about copycatting the following smart idea to Finland? Berkeley’s public library offers specialty tools for borrowing to anyone with a library card.
To conclude, the clean tech space needs to be occupied with novel and smarter swapping, trading and sharing based business concepts. What will you share tomorrow?
Picture: Wikimedia Commons