There is a P2P side of every supply side.
Peer to Peer behavioural patterns and proliferation of smartphone, especially in emerging markets like India, West Africa and South America has changed the landscape of digital economy and we have yet to fully grasp what opportunities and challenges it really presents.
Democratisation by Design in Marketplace economy
We believe that Design as a Strategy building exercise and as a discourse for future has a responsibility to come forward and proclaim That definition, of “what it could be” and how do we go there from “where we’re now.”
Since the invention of electric telegraph, every technology has come to an age and as will iPhones, browser windows and facebooks, the only thing that never changes is “making real connections with people, essentially connecting them”.
It is abundantly clear that at the core of P2P economy and digital experiences is “connecting people”.
Since we have set the definition straight, let’s talk about the contrast.
For the last two decades, the technology and IT platforms pivoted around the model of supply side economics..from retail systems to logistics to Commerce to Banking to healthcare and the idea as it is apparent was to largely build and connect comprehensive information systems. To offer a simple analogy, it was like laying down pipelines, drainage and electrical grid in a city to supply water, gas, electricity etc. So these systems had been built with demand/supply cycle as centre of economy and supply side as the dominating factor.
But..that’s exactly why supply-side systems and business models can become irrelevant…
The proliferation of smartphones and net behavioural patterns of users and new markets which are agile, dynamic and demand immediacy and transparency from every experience, are making the supply side construct counterproductive.
And we have seen this phenomenon with OTT services like Whatsapp, Marketplaces, Taxi services like UBER and even transactional businesses like P2P lending and crowdfunding.
That’s the bad news for supply side business models and that’s where design strategy can make it a good news.
To illustrate that with an example, we worked on a design strategy to reimagine voicemail as instant P2P media and designed a peer to peer app that delivers the voicemail right in your chat window as any of the other media e.g. text, image, video. That achieved two things, the user doesn’t have to go through the painful supply side process, or in this context contacting telecom carrier, get the activation codes, dial a voicemail number, authenticate and then listen to voicemails one by one.
Instead, the P2P design strategy that we came up with is instant, transparent by design as it is associated with contact book information, offers choice, contexuality and personalisation. I can chose to listen to voicemail or even just read the transcript (voice to text) in a context where I’m about to board on a plane and I can’t go through all the voicemails but I have a choice to listen to one from my wife or parents because now I can by design.
The traditional telecom carriers didn’t offer the user a choice in the context and while it may be a bad news for them in P2P economy, we sincerely believe that by Design strategy and predictable disruption, we can change that by taking the experience to P2P side from supply side, by imagining over the top services that leverage the existing supply side platforms and technologies.
It turns out it’s good time for design and we are very excited about what it could be from what it is now.
And let’s be absolutely clear, Design Strategy is a design-led innovation approach and it is how we sensitise, learn, contemplate and synthesise from user behaviours, market dynamics and business goals to a conclusion, a script, a disruptive prediction, to what is it that we are designing. The user experience and actual product design comes later on and while the design strategy finally influences and directs that whole process, Design as discourse should not be confused with a Design as technique.