Group Access Power: new business model and cool vintage?
Posted on 11 July 2012 by Wouter Kersten in Blog
Sometimes inspiration for new ideas, or as it turns out here, business models, comes from not agreeing with what is out there. Get inspired by what you don’t like, to turn negative into positive energy. What I do like is Group Access Power or GAP. After explaining what it is I will elaborate a bit on what the inspiration was, and why using ‘old news’ is not a bad thing.
Group Access Power
GAP. Group Access Power. A (business) way of thinking where Groups are facilitated to get access to whatever they need from each other. In one direction: a market that was not interesting, for example because the individuals were too inefficient to reach; in the other direction, a solution provider that was inaccessible for example because of unattractive financial conditions for individuals in need. So that opens up the third likely partner in this arena: financial service providers. Dealing with a group rather than an individual reduces risk and by enabling a connection between supply and demand they earn previously inaccessible revenues. With an open mind you could apply this to any need but it becomes all the more relevant when it concerns life’s necessities.
The world is my inspiration, even dislikes
Now, what was one of my inspirations? It was the well-known phenomenon called Groupon. In a nutshell it convinces (mostly small) companies to provide a big fat discount IF a minimum number of clients can be found for that offer. The company gets many clients and Groupon gets a (large) % of the discount. Interesting business model. However, IF looked upon from a sustainability perspective, I would consider it flawed. While governments across crisis-struck countries convince us to consume more as only way out of the misery, from a sustainability perspective I would say this is really not the paradigm to blindly follow.
Why do I think that? Basically because it is supply push instead of demand pull. There is something to be sold and the model seduces us to buy it. Regular stuff. But not the only way the world should work, in my own opinion (and anyone is welcome to think differently). However, how can it then still inspire me? Take what you don’t like and reverse it. By definition that should result in something you like. In this case collect similar needs and find solutions for that need. Most likely these solutions already exist, but just are not visible, or rather, not accessible to the people who need them most. Accessible in terms of physical, psychological or financial terms. This is lose-lose situation because the people with a need don’t have access to a solution and the solution providers miss out on a market they could serve. Basically we see a number of groups here, passing each other as ships on a dark ocean.
Everything is a remix
Is this type of thinking new? Not necessarily. It feels a lot like cooperative or consumer-united type of structures: people with similar needs unite in a group because as a group you have more power to achieve something than by yourself, and dealing with a group is more efficient for a provider.
But is it important that a way of thinking is brand new? In this case GAP in fact can bridge gaps. Isn’t that more important? Many innovations are variations of or inspired by existing things. Or as this video says:
Name of the Game
Perhaps one of the strongest parts of GAP is the name, and the fact that some strong elements of other models are pulled together. No shame in that, everything is a remix, and the power of the remix rather depends on letting it sound right, and being able to play the music with modern instruments.
Want to know more about how Enviu is applying this concept, or if you want to know more about applying GAP to your business ? Contact me, Wouter Kersten, at email@example.com