I’ve gotten a lot out of this month’s issue, I gotta say. Besides the article on Johnathan Goodman, two other things to check out:
- Lots of cool ways that businesses are greening their operations, from LEED buildings to redesigning the elevator to helping drivers drive more efficiently…
- This choice quote from Mike Brown:
“The cutting edge, the thing that is getting more traction, is the effort to sell services rather than products,” Brown says. It’s a shift in perspective that can transform a business. It’s IBM selling you computing services–server space, processing capacity–rather than actual computers. A company selling computers wants to sell as many servers as possible, without much regard for the power they consume or cooling they require; a company that sells computer services wants the most efficient, cool-running servers it can make. Companies that are able to turn their business inside out this way find that addressing sustainability issues can change from a burden or cost to an opportunity for efficiency and profit.
Says Brown: “If you’re a chemical company, you sell the service the chemical provides rather than the chemical itself”–disinfection rather than chlorine. “Suddenly, you want to conserve the chemicals, to find ways to recover and reuse them.” Indeed, imagine what Nike might be like if it sold “shoe services” by subscription–the way Netflix rents movies–instead of shoes.
This reminds me of something I heard from the Natural Step years and years ago, about how Volvo changed its mission from building the best cars to helping people move from place to place (a paraphrase). A simple shift in words that can have a profound change in practice.