Product development choices

Energy is going to get more expensive unless you own your own renewable energy sources, like windmills or hydropower. Energy is needed for four major phases of a product’s life-cycle: extraction of materials, manufacture, operation and disposal/recyling.

This means that products developed will migrate into the two areas where energy use is less, over the life-time of the product.

This matrix divides products and services up depending on energy required to make and run them. What will happen as energy prices rise? Products that require a lot of energy to make and run will less affordable. These “make once, run expensively” types of products will migrate to the quadrants on the right. The “make once, run cheaply” or “make cheaply, use cheaply” will take over.

The same thing with products that are inexpensive to buy, but have a high running cost. Already oil lamps are being replaced in Bangladesh by solar panels, which cost more in the beginning, but pay off over a longer period. This is possible thanks to some clever financing from Grameen Bank, where users pay the solar panels in instalments equivalent to what they would pay for the oil. Instead of an empty lamp, they get a working solar panel.

Aim to migrate your purchase or product offering. Think about it today.

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