The Circular Economy

The 20th century saw the rise of mass production. The idea is simple. Standardize the production process with fixed inputs and you can dramatically reduce the costs of producti0n and distribution. The world’s economy achieve prosperity unlike any other time in human history. The consumer society emerged.

This is pretty great, but it is not perfect. What is wrong? For one, standardizing production means a “one size fits all” focus. If you can scale a single product that everyone busy, you make a tone of money. If you cannot, you are falling off a cliff with your investors with you.

But one size fits all is not what consumers want. To the contrary, we want new things, better things, more imaginative things, more exciting things. And we want to be part of the process — to partner with producers to get what we want. And we want better ideas about what we might want.

Another problem with 2oth century mass production is waste. We waste an enormous amount by make use and throw away systems. The world is groaning with the amount of waste we have produced in a single century. We need to re-think how well we manage our resources going into product manufacture, products, and post produce materials salvage and reuse.

Enter circular econom8ies of scale. The link takes you to a BI article that profiles five circular economy business models. But the idea underlying them is the same — capturing more value in usage.

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2 thoughts on “The Circular Economy

  1. totally agree that thinking about business in circular models means re-shaping the relationships involved. This means thinking of the “stakeholders” as part of an “ecology” rather than just numbers. That is one reason that I like the new “B Corp” business model. It formalizes more ecology thinking. The so called “sharing economy” builds new relationships a certain extent in a new business model. So too the products as services. I think we will go a lot further as time moves on and our platforms get more nuanced. But one step at a time!

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