Design for a Shareable World
TreeHugger gives a lot of pixels to Product Service Systems , a dreadful name for what is basically sharing things. As Alex Steffen asked in the Worldchanging book, why buy a drill when what you really want is a hole? Why own things that you use rarely when you can borrow? Why buy a book when you can go to a library?
Neal Gorenflo and Jeremy Adam Smith don't use the PSS words; they call it a shareable world, and are promoting it with a new website called Shareable. They write:
In a shareable world, things like clothing swaps, childcare coops, potlucks, carsharing, community gardening, and cohousing bring us together, make life more fun, and free up time and money for the important things in life. When we share, not only is a better life possible, but so is a better world.
The remarkable successes of Zipcar, Wikipedia, Kiva, open source software, Burning Man, Freecycle, and Creative Commons prove this. They tell a hopeful story about human nature and our future, one we don't hear enough in the mainstream media.
They are on to something. Let's drop those boring old Product Service Systems and Design for a Shareable World.