Tag Archives: product of service

Do you have evidence of regenerative thinking being put into practice?

To me, the Regenerative Business revolution began back in the 1990s.  Where I see examples, I post them into the LinkedIn Regenerative Business discussion group.

To me, the more we observe and applaud the emerging shift to truly win/win/win sustainable business models, the more we can accelerate their spread.  Whether it’s a suburban accountant installing a master power-off switch in a building refurbishment or a plastics manufacturer turning post-consumer waste into quality packaging, there’s a lot going on.

So now it’s your turn – what shifts are you observing towards business models where:

  • there are no products  – only valuable services
  • there are no wastes – only valuable by-products
  • products are designed for total safety
  • products are designed for re-manufacture as products-of-service
  • products are designed to copy nature’s smart thinking – renewable materials, renewable energy, room-temperature processes
  • resource usage is radically reduced
  • small, smart local solutions are replacing big infrastructure/big waste solutions

Share them as a comment here, in the LinkedIn Regenerative Business group, or through the Balance3 Contact page.



Who specifically? What specifically? What’s beyond ‘someone should do something’…

OK, so you want a change in your world – what’s that change going to look like?  Do you know ?  Can you describe what you want instead?

A web post I was referred to recently said that: “Those in charge of our world currently are clearly not doing the job that needs to be done“.  The response to that post was:  ‘What are “our current leaders” failing to do? What are you hoping we … [the alternative leaders]…  do?

Who specifically….

Who specifically do you want to influence?  Who has the power now, today, to make a decision that will lead to direct action in the domain that you want action? Who is the person who has the power to make that change happen?  Do you know?  Can you get beyond “the government should” or “business shouldn’t” to describe what change you want and who truly has the power to get it initiated?

What specifically…

What specifically do you want them to do?  What process do you want them to follow?  What results will it generate and for whom?   What specific evidence will tell you that the change you want has been achieved? Continue reading

Always meant to read Natural Capitalism but not gotten a “round TUIT”?

If you’re interested in seriously cool sustainability then there’s a book you should read.   It’s about more than being good – it’s about reinventing the basic mindsets and models behind the systems that deliver our products and services.

Natural Capitalism” is a big read – and it discusses some exciting strategies for creating the next Industrial Revolution.  If you’re still working up to it, here’s a kick-start for you from our article archives: Continue reading

My ideal (regenerative) iPhone

My ideal iPhone wouldn’t be mine…

My ideal iPhone would be a product of service. It’s body would belong to Apple and I’d lease its services – as an entertainment and communication platform.

My data (music, notes, apps, movies, etc.) would be on a removable memory card in the same way the SIM card is removable.

It would be upgrade-able at local Apple stores…

Instead of buying a whole new device, if there was a better camera, screen, or internal processor I’d join a virtual “queue” for an upgrade ( with a premium for a top spot, of course).

I’d take my iPhone into an Apple Store and they’d upgrade while I waited. It would be specially marked so everyone could see that I had “the latest”. This sort of service thinking would be easy for the inventors of iTunes and AppStore.

Apple would get an increase in revenue from the upgrade, but they wouldn’t have to get a whole new device manufactured , packaged, stored or shipped to generate that revenue. I’d get better device functionality and more fun – and without adding to the collection of e-waste in my hall cupboard.  (And if Apple aren’t generating any e-waste for external parties to dispose of, they could well increase the protection of their intellectual property.)

It would be designed for re-manufacture…

My ideal iPhone would be designed to be as easy to pull apart as possible (with the right, exclusive tools – of course). Where components couldn’t be disassembled, they would all be made of the same material so they could be crushed and recycled without contamination reducing the material quality.

Apple’s manufacturers wouldn’t be buying virgin materials at premium prices  – they’d be re-using components and materials again and again and again.

It would be designed for total safety…

My ideal iPhone would be safe to manufacture as well as safe to use.  Everything material and process would be absolutely safe for its makers, its community and our finite ecosystem.

No costs for handling safety materials, no outsourcing supply across continents to less-regulated environments, no reputation risks.

Tell her she’s dreaming!!!

Maybe I am – I’m not an Apple insider.   Or maybe they’re a whole lot further down the regenerative road than we know, and just not telling us.  Or maybe I’ve missed a shift in the wealth of incoming information I receive.

But if we can’t describe what we want, how can we expect it to be delivered?

I wrote The Deep Green Profit Handbook because I loved the ideas of Cradle to Cradle, Natural Capitalism and Biomimicry – and I knew my executive coaching clients didn’t have time for hundreds of pages of technical detail.   I wanted to summarise the straightforward principles of regenerative business in straightforward business language – and I did it in just 100 large-type easy-read pages.

What do you want?

What fundamental shifts can you imagine that would deliver a regenerative economy designed to nurture and restore the finite eco-system we inhabit?   Can you describe them in the language of your target audience?  Can you make them relevant to the interests and concerns of the most powerful people you know?

Recent research is showing that the key skills for sustainability practitioners are the “soft stuff” –  mastery in communication, collaboration and influencing.  Because if you can’t communicate well, there are very real limits to the usefulness of what you know.

These days we know that these aren’t magical talents based on charisma – they’re learnable skills with strong foundations in linguistics, philosophy and neurobiology.  So make sure you’re developing your ability to communicate, collaborate and influence.


Leigh Baker is an Ontological Coach who teaches innovation, communication and influencing skills to sustainability practitioners.

Smart business is service thinking

(Adapted from our August 2011 newsletter)Behind the products we buy is a complex web of businesses that collaborate to make, transport, store, sell and deliver everything that goes in to the final product. This web is often (simplistically) described as “the supply chain”.
Each business in a supply chain is a group of people combining a range of skills, ideas and resources to deliver their products to their customers. Their products may be physical products like steering wheels or bottle tops, or they may be professional services like accounting or computer programmes.
The Perils of Product Myopia
In the daily process of “delivering products”, what often gets lost is an understanding of what’s really going on – what we’re trading is value. All too often, producers get caught up in product thinking – and in a constantly changing world, product myopia is a business health hazard. We can be really efficient at making vinyl records or shoelaces, and miss out on the arrival of CDs or velcro.

Winning with Service and Value Thinking
The importance of understanding what your customer values has been recognised for decades. Not only is it a fundamental marketing concept, it’s a key element in the breakthrough success cycle Jim Collins identified in the classic business book “Good to Great”.    When it’s clear throughout your organisation what game you’re playing and what the rules are, you do better business.

A focus on customer value is at the heart of quality management programs and efficiency programs like Lean Thinking, and it’s an essential understanding in new opportunity development programs like Blue Ocean Strategy. So it’s a great tool for business efficiency and business development.

Regenerative Business is All About Service
When we get attached to our current expertise, or too busy delivering products to plan, we also miss out thinking differently about the possibilities of regenerative business. The permanent question behind regenerative business is “how can we make good money by making something good?”

One application of this query is “How can we make what we make now more sustainably?” We can engage in a product development process investigating:
• Do we understand the impacts of the resources we use?
• Do we understand ALL the costs of our current process, including OHS, wastes and administration?
• Do we understand the future costs of using our products?
• Do we understand the future costs of disposing of our products?
• What would it take to switch from “doing less harm” to “being actively good”?

But there’s also a deeper question and a new possibility: “How could we deliver our product as a service?”

This is a concept that we understand when we hire a car or chose a phone carrier – but it’s being explored in fascinating new ways in a variety of industries, particularly those facing ongoing technological change.

From Airconditioning to Coolth – An Example
Carrier Airconditioning has started providing a new service – “coolth” – to buildings instead of air conditioning plants. Instead of selling equipment, they provide the ongoing service of cooling at an agreed price. They own and operate the equipment. So if they can find a smarter, cheaper way of providing coolness, they increase their profits.

They have an ongoing income, so their cash flow is smoother. They’re not waiting for customer-dictated sales, so how and when they produce their cooling equipment is much more timely and predictable. Or if they find a better solution than “air conditioning plants”, they can install that instead.

So What About Your Business?
This is a game that every business can play, knowing that the end result will be good for business.  Here are some questions to begin your exploration:

• What would happen if we retained ownership of the “product” and billed our customer for it’s use?
• How would that work? What else would be involved?
• How would that change the dynamics of our business?
• How could we shift from making batches of product that we sell intermittently to delivering an incremental ongoing service?

It’s a big change in thinking for many businesses, and at the same time it’s a great new perspective to challenge what “everybody knows” about “how things are”.  It can also be a lot of fun.