Modularity, The Next Big Thing for your Business & Environment August 15 2014
In a time where resources are limited, people are increasingly concerned with the environmental impact of each and every consumption decision!
To understand how we reached this point we first must revisit history.
Back in the 1940/50’s when mass manufacturing was first conceived the platform it was built around was based on planned obsolescence i.e. product failure.
Why has failure been so successful? We think the answer’s straightforward: when it breaks, wears out, fails, you’ve gotta buy a new one! Read, spend more money again!
Thankfully in the 21st century our thinking has evolved, in part due to disruption caused by innovation such as “the sharing economy” where services are shared/hired/leased... think of SAAS, Uber (taxis), Airbnb, Task Rabbit etc.
Whilst the examples just mentioned solve ownership issues, what’s not being addressed is the bigger issue attributed to legacy design... i.e. product failure/obsolescence.
At Über™ we have always believed in innovation... this process starts off by us asking one question: WHY?
Why, does a product need to be thrown away at the end of its life... is that really necessary? If the decision is not really necessary, then how then can this be re-imagined:
The answer we believe is MODULARITY!
Practically, modularity allows for the replacement of an individual part rather than being forced to buy an entire new unit. The cost of the individual part representing a fraction of the price of replacing the whole thing.
Ironically the hospitality business is one about driving costs down, to do so, products must be made cheaper, to meet a buyers price expectation. Imagine on the other hand if we turned this thinking on its head and designed things to solve a user’s or businesses problem, short, long term and sustainably. What type of products would we see? Better ones, we suspect!
We believe the true consequences of product failure are in the main hidden, in the white space no-one wants to see... this by default becomes a form of blind acceptance: ultimately turning failure into it’s own unique trajectory towards more failure.
Failure is therefore a consequence representing a form of business disruption namely, increased costs: continual product replacement, lost productivity, service/delivery inconsistency, added admin/infrastructure costs to manage and overcome the arising failures created by making the initial decision... ultimately creating a savings/cost/consequences paradigm.
Businesses in the not too distant future will look for simpler, more practical solutions to solve on-going problems. Modularity will not be practical in some instances, however on a broader level it will become the practical, cost effective and environmental friendly solution to sustain our businesses!