Community Supported Everything!
By John Robb
How do you build resilient infrastructure in the 21st Century?
One good answer: make it opt-in. It’s already happening.
Farmers are doing it with CSA programs. Businesses and artists are doing it with Kickstarter.
We’re finding that once you cut out the middleman (Wall Street and Big Box Retail) and connect with customers directly, we end up with much more choice, innovation, quality, and success (the people doing the innovating/making actually get paid, an event that is actually quite rare in this economic system).
Here’s a smart spin on this concept that may work.
This little fashion company called Gustin got its start on Kickstarter. Gustin is now using this customer/community supported approach to sell everything.
Here’s how it works.
- They design something.
- They ask the community if they want to fund it.
- If a sufficient number of people buy into it, they make it.
Very straight forward. Very disruptive.
This is the future of business. Small creative/innovative entrepreneur connects with 7 billion via the Internet. A community of people form around what they are doing.
The entrepreneur can keep doing what he/she loves to do for life. Customer gets community, connection, and exactly the product they want.
Beyond jobs, would this approach work for resilient infrastructure?
The Power of Small Numbers
Of course. The key is to keep the project small. Here’s an example.
What if the options on Gustin’s platform above were:
A share of an apple tree like this one from Treemendous Fruit?
Or a dozen solar panels producing electricity for the next 50 years?
Or a mini greenhouse? Or a small pond with aquatic fish/plants? Or a neighborhood micro-grid? Or…
Of course this would work. It wouldn’t take many people to make it happen when the project is this small.
Keep thinking. Keep doing.