Thoughts on ownership and access

Posted on Posted in Access model, Business Model Archetypes, Product Attachment and Trust

Ken Webster

Yesterday, Ken Webster from the Ellen MacArthur foundation gave an interesting talk about Circular Economy. He presented the bigger picture, the macroscopic view, of why we need to change the current economic system. According to him, a new circular economy is not just a way out of environmental disaster, but also a way for a more sustainable and just social development. I found his thoughts very interesting and it clearly showed that we are still far from reaching the goal.

In the end he commented on how to convince people to rent or lease instead of buying stuff. He said:

People want to own their own toys, but tools is something completely different. I don’t care if I own my own mobilephone or dishwasher…

The last couples of weeks I have been thinking a lot about in which situation users would want to buy access to speakers instead of buying them. And the problem I have been facing is exactly that a wireless speaker can be regarded as toy. This shows how the Attachment and Trust strategy is only suited for the classic long-life model and can act against an Access model. If people are to attached to a product they want to own it.

So to make an access model attractive I should look at a situation where a speaker act more like a tool and the “job to get done” is more important than the product itself. Some could argue that the music will always be the reason to buy a speaker. But I would argue that market differentiation have turned wireless speakers into lifestyle products. Product designers and marketeers do everything they can to create product attachment. It is interesting to ask if music is an utilitarian need or not? I think it clearly depend of the person you ask.

I think that Websters distinction between toys and tools is true for normal use. But the service element of an access model should not be forgotten. A great service can make it attractive to rent even toys…

 

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