thenextwave

From products to services

Posted in business, consumers, design, economics, emerging issues, sustainability, transport by thenextwavefutures on 10 July, 2007

Something is going on when, as happened last on my work last week, I was given leaflets in separate places by people promoting the new “pay as you go” car services, Streetcar and Zipcar.

The model is a simple one but transformational. Instead of owning your own car, the company owns then and makes sure that they are distributed throughout the city. Bookings are made online or by phone. You access the vehicle with your membership card, and pay the hourly or daily rate. But you don’t pay anything else – no tax, insurance, congestion charge, or depreciation.

It’s transformational because it changes the business model from ownership to access (as Jeremy Rifkin predicted in his book The Age of Access several years ago) and effectively reduces consumption as it does so.

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  1. Trends versus futures « thenextwave said, on 28 December, 2007 at 10:53 pm

    […] The last trend is potentially the most interesting, and may also represent a long term economic or social shift. This is about “fractional ownership” or “reframing products as services”, and was identified by Jeremy Rifkin in a book, The Age of Access, in 2001 (article by Rifkin here). Richard Normann described the same thing in different terms in Reframing Business in the same year. This year in the UK we’ve seen a big step towards this, with the launch of ‘pay as you go’ car services such as Zipcar and Streetcar in London. (I blogged about this in July). […]


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