Sell the Service, Not the Product

The second big idea of the sixth is the shift towards service. The distinction between the things we consume and the things we use is a fundamental one for the sixth wave. We use a car but don’t consume it. We consume food rather than simply using it. The world of consumables and the world of technology and tools have become known as the biosphere and the technosphere respectively, and both have a very different future ahead of them.

Dividing our world into the biosphere and technosphere gives us greater insight into why we are consuming resources unsustainably. In the biosphere humanity has a reasonably small footprint (the biomass of humans is one-tenth of that of ants, for instance) and our waste products are, in theory, entirely recyclable. However, we have allowed a whole range of things in the technosphere to drift into the biosphere, things that consume resources and produce waste products.

To consume the smallest amount of resources possible and produce the minimum amount of waste, everything in the biosphere – the things we consume – will trend towards being fully recyclable, or closed-loop. On the other hand, everything in the technosphere – the things we employ but which do not necessarily involve irreversible consumption of a tangible resource – will trend towards becoming a service.

Archive for Sell the Service

Bike sharing

| April 29, 2010 | 0 Comments

Grist: The city of Denver has launched the US’s largest bike-sharing program, setting up 500 bicycles at 50 locations around the city for its citizens to use for transport instead of cars. The program is simple: you can sign up online for 24-hour, seven-day, 30-day or annual membership which entitles you to access any of [...]

Filed Under: Sell the Service

Outfits for rent

| March 11, 2010 | 0 Comments

The clothes might maketh the man, but they also make an enormous amount of waste. We buy an expensive outfit, and usually it only gets worn a few times a year and hangs in the closet the rest of the time, representing a substantial waste of money and resources. But pop songstress Lily Allen is [...]

GoGet car sharing

| March 8, 2010 | 0 Comments

Cars are incredibly expensive to own and operate, but it’s a fair bet that you have only used your car for a short time today, if you used it at all. This incredibly costly resource spends most of its life sitting idle, all the while drawing a constant stream of money from your wallet. A [...]

Filed Under: Sell the Service