Product as a Service
How might we create a preferable future narrative for services having custodianship of products that benefits the businesses, people & planet?
Geared towards creating a speculative narrative for Product as a Service (PaaS) as a preferable business model for a circular economy, I took the speculative design direction.
Extrapolating the strategy of Product as a Service on the scale of TIME might lend us a future roadmap of a circular reality. Under the lens of preferable future for PaaS, we can filter what we want to see happening and what we don’t want. Speculative design is an incredibly useful design tool for social dreaming while addressing bigger issues in the world.
I planned an online Participatory Design Workshop considering speculative design tools as engagement exercises and chose to include the voices of industry experts in – Technology, Design & Business. This workshop was designed for speculating the future scenarios where businesses will have the custodianship of products. The aim was to co-speculate the transition of the economy from a linear-product based model to more circular-service-based. In particular we looked at how a Product as a Service (PaaS) business model will look 30 years from now, discovering together while rethinking the ownership model for a more circular economy.
In order to compose imaginable future scenarios, envisioning the ‘Product’ as ‘Services to be used/performance’ is the first step. Considering Hygiene products will be transitioned as a service in the next few years, the participants delved further into enquiring its production, consumption and impact in the next 30 years. This exercise revealed some thoughtful insights such as an aspiration of a preferable future with zero waste production, strong directives & regulations, and scope for innovation in bio-design. This timeline also indicated the not-so preferred directions which needs to be considered as the challenges for example water crisis impacting hygiene, another pandemic related to hygiene, impact on animals leading to their extinction, as well as the uncontrolled filling up of landfills.
A complex scenario comes with multifold consequences. Future Wheel is a great tool for widening the perspective and extending the ability to map and recognize these repercussions. The participants were asked to study this future wheel for PaaS which I had extrapolated and further pin point the unintended consequences which they could speculate in the future.
By this time the participants had a heightened sense of understanding about speculating ‘Hygiene products as a Service’ and the repercussions of it for people, businesses and environment. The next engagement tools enabled the participants to speculate a future narrative with an ‘I’ statement.
Desire for a better, kinder and greener future motivated the participants to define the roadmap for ‘Product as a Service’, engraving some key expectations into its framework, elaborating these aspirations for a preferable future for ‘hygiene’ as a service.