Without a customer there is no business. Sounds straightforward, but reality shows it’s quite a challenge. From clothing made of nettles to award winning biodegradable boxes for organic waste, not all great sustainable ideas find their way to customers.‘Customers are just not waiting for sustainable alternatives’. But is it fair to say this or was the company unclear about the benefits their product or service had to offer?
Who is your customer and what do they really want?
The Fresh-R is a demand driven decentral ventilation system with heat recovery that guarantees a healthy indoor climate while saving energy. It’s modular design - including connected technology to see if components are working – makes it the perfect product for the circular economy. Inspired by the ‘Tegenlicht’ episode ‘Einde van bezit’, Jerom van Beuzekom asked himself how he could start selling fresh air and remain owner of the product, instead of selling ownership. Together with Vaventis, we asked ourselves why customers would want fresh air.
In anticipation of our inspiring breakfast event on 19 January 2017, Innoboost publishes a serie of blogs to share our circular learnings.This week: a fresh breeze on creating value propositions for a circular economy.
Potential customers for fresh air
People could want fresh air for several reasons such as creating a healthy indoor environment, improving concentration or to feel more comfortable. We started with looking which target groups want this the most, estimated market sizes and ended up with offices, nursing homes and schools. A different target group than their current customers, that are interested in zero-energy homes.
What do they really want to accomplish?
In the example of offices, employers may want to increase productivity or reduce the sickness rate by providing a healthy environment. After brainstorming on different propositions, we interviewed a manager of a business center to discuss some of these concepts.
We learned that clients of business centers mainly focus on costs and representation. Fresh air is less of a priority. But for companies that are shifting towards ‘the new way of working’, a decentral ventilation system that reacts on the CO2 level is an answer to the irregular presence of employees. And unlike business centers who are responsible to manage buildings, companies can benefit from facility management so they are not distracted from their core business. In short, although the business center was not interested, this interview did help us to frame our target group and proposition better.
How can we deliver this to them in a circular way?
Instead of paying for the ventilation system, employers pay for the entire facility management of a building which includes the guarantee to keep CO2 beneath a certain level. Thereby the service enables companies to focus on their core tasks, while they save energy in a pleasant working environment. Maintenance is executed by Vaventis, who remains owner of the device.
Listen to Vaventis story in ‘RTL XL Ondernemend Nederland’ (Start video at 12.00min)
Break free of your current supply chain
This proposition means that Vaventis has to find different partners compared to their current supply chain. Instead of working with prefab home builders and housing corporations, Vaventis has to cooperate with facility management businesses. Last week, we wrote a blog on how important it is to have an internal vision on what you want to accomplish, where you stand now and dare to be open about it. Vaventis has a product, a circular concept and is looking for partners to bring the pay-per-use business model to a next level.
Do you know a potential partner that is ready for a fresh breeze and wants to join the challenge?
Stay tuned for more inspiration in the upcoming weeks. Are you interested in more cases and/or discussion? Join our inspiring breakfast 19 January 2017.