Monday, May 24, 2010

Collaborative Consumption

I just came across a link to the following video on Colin Beavan's (aka No Impact Man's) Twitter. Made by the folks at Collaborative Consumption, it depicts the growing support for sharing programs like Zipcar and CouchSurfing, founded on the principle that use of a product does not have to be dependent on ownership of it. I think the essence of the movement can be summed up by this quote from the clip: "To reinvent not just what we consume, but how we consume."


This video reminds me pretty distinctly of the book Cradle to Cradle in which designer William McDonough and chemist Michael Braungart advocate for a "transformation of human industry through ecologically intelligent design," or a shift away from our current cycle of cradle-to-grave disposable culture. They devote an entire section to examples of manufacturers who lease the use of their products to their customers instead of selling it to them, thereby assuming full responsibility for the product and it's eventual disposal or recommissioning. We don't need a chair or a car, they argue, we simply need the services they provide: a place to sit and a way to travel from point A to point B. If the movement documented and promoted by Collaborative Consumption is any indication, the seeds planted in McDonough and Braungart's 2002 book may finally be taking root.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Adam. You are spot on with what Collaborative Consumption is about. I believe we are entering an age where usage will trump possessions. With social networks and real time technologies we have infinite marketplace to immediately match Person A's have's with Person C's whatever they may be. This is what enables CC to deliver choice and convenience (key benefits the old system of hyper-consumption touted) to the user.
    Cheers, Rachel Botsman