70 Max is a grass roots 'collective' campaign in the UK that encourages driving under 70 mph* (112 km/h), suggesting if everyone in the UK did this it would save a ton of carbon. It's kind of a new type of membership, inclusively to those who can drive under 70 mph maximum (not as easy as it sounds if you are like most of the population and enjoy driving fast or generally always in a hurry to get somewhere). Well it's not quite, but you can see the potential of this collective statement and member behavior change. The campaign is based on the research that 70 mph uses on average 15% less fuel per mile than 80 mph and 60 mph uses 29% less. Calculations also suggest that a top speed of 60 mph would half the number of motorway deaths. It's hard to dispute the value of these claims and this campaign with that knowledge in mind — if you're up for it of course. But the interesting bit about this initiative is not only the clever name or fact that it is a very simple single-issue campaign, but that it has the potential to create a whole new 'community' (I know that word is overused!) or 'membership' of slow driving. It has the potential to do what the "Slow Food Movement" is doing for food.
What I like about it is that it is making visible a community of driving behaviors (driving slower) to the world and to each to other using an in-car sticker. So, you opt into driving slower, you get a sticker, and you get exclusive access to doing something together. Nice if we could actually see the speed of a car on the outside (why can't we?); even nicer if one day we could see the fuel efficiency gage on the outside of the car — so when we are optimizing our driving to achieve high efficiency (which is what becomes addictive when driving around in a hybrid vehicle) our peer drivers could see it.
Only the other day I was having a meeting with a large financial services organization, the President of the division acknowledged the shift in what 'membership' means these days and the new status of being a member. His company had been founded on exclusive membership to tiered services that once upon a time were more powerful the more difficult they were to be part of. You knew you'd made it when you got the most exclusive/impossibly expensive card membership. Today, membership is about being part of something together that has an active role/doing activity or meaning (though not necessarily an altruistic activity). Membership requires content and contact with each other. And it's the participation, with others like you, which delivers value. It is almost the opposite of the 'exclusive' membership that was so much a statement in the 80s/90s. It was amazing to hear him talk about the power of this shift. Not because he's ahead of the game with his insight on member organizations, but because a financial services organization is actually now starting to think about the potential of leveraging membership in meaningful ways beyond financial status. Ways that might enable people to opt for certain choices together or to vote with their status on issues Who knows? I like the sound of it though.
*70Max is an idea from Ben Reason at live|work London with support of his great friend Paul Simms.
[Written by Tamara Giltsoff ]