Photo: ©Lisa Gansky, Art Direction: The Magazine of Yoga. [technorati 8WP3D5JHC856 ]
Why the Future of Business is Sharing
The Mesh: author Lisa Gansky talks about why her hope for the future is business
BY MAGAZINE EDITOR SUSAN MAIER-MOUL
Book Review: The Mesh
Web site meshing.it
What Lisa is passionate about, now
Susan Maier-Moul Now that the book is out and you’re out there talking about The Mesh is there anything you want to emphasize or clarify – any aspect of what you are trying to say that isn’t receiving the attention it deserves?
Lisa Gansky Yes, at the moment, I am personally very interested in two things: how learning to ‘be meshy’ can help us increase the utility of the things we already own and reduce the stress on ourselves and the planet.
For example, our cars are used on average 8% of the day (92% of the time, at least in the U.S., they sit idle); yet, they are costly to us individually as well for our communities. There are a growing number of peer-to-peer car sharing services (RelayRides, Spride and WhipCar), which essentially use the car sharing technologies to allow you to access your neighbor’s car or for them to use yours.
This type of platform might be used for many things that we already own or perhaps even for things that some people or companies may purchase together and then manage the logistics of sharing through these services.
I am very curious to see how these evolve.
The design of sharing
Lisa Another related thought is about the design of cities in general and how we might begin to rethink that design as sharing becomes increasingly convenient.
Susan How would that play out, practically speaking?
Lisa Many cities are designed around cars. (Parking garages, meters, street size, traffic management, etc.) As the number of cars in a city per day is reduced, how can we efficiently reconfigure the systems to support and encourage new kinds of interactions, practices and services? What will our cities and towns look like as we shift into models where access is sought and prized over ownership? How long will that transition take us?
Susan What aspect of the book are you most enjoying spending time presenting?
Lisa Curiously, I really enjoy talking about waste!
Essentially, that we have so much stuff and use little of what we have. We have been declaring waste far too soon and that what we have been calling waste had a lot of value still present.
Susan Can you give an example?
Lisa We have been throwing things away saying it’s cheaper to buy a new one; but, in most cases we only considered the cost at the time of the transaction. When we bought the blender at the store it was the best priced one, but it cannot be repaired and so when it breaks – we toss it.
The problem is that we have not been calculating the cost of the consecutive new ones nor the real cost to dispose of ‘waste’.
The powerful pull of the big mo: recycle/upcycle
Susan Do you think as a culture we’re finally disenchanted with consumerism? Is the spell really broken?
Lisa I think that the whole idea that we can repair, recover, recycle/upcycle things is newly sexy to people and is gaining momentum.
Another kind of waste that can easily be converted to value is getting more utility of what we have like our cars, homes, bikes, tools, etc. (as noted above) I also have been approached by people in my talks and those who have read the book who want to talk more about big ideas that they have for making a business from restoration or recovery of old products.
Then, in a related topic, there is the re-thinking of the design of new products. What goes in to a product crafted to be shared is different from the way that most designers thought previously. Highly valued products will embrace: durability, flexibility, reparability and the ability to upcycle and recycle its core components.
These are exciting times; and, we are at the very beginning of something new that will shape how we live and work.
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© 2011, The Magazine of Yoga, LLC.