Jan 24, 2020
While everyone is guessing for the future, we have rummaged in our drawers and found a few concepts that we would assess differently from today's perspective than a few years ago ...
In 2017 we thought about an Automotive Tinder. A mobile experience that combines transport and dating. A suitable vehicle was presented at CES this year: the Segway Transport-Pod, a self-stabilizing electric wheelchair that drives up to 40 km/h and guarantees maximum comfort.
Like Tinder itself, one may doubt the value of the S-Pod for healthy, socially integrated adults. But it would definitely be an experience to move through the city in this form and meet new people.
The second concept that we found in the same drawer is also located in urban space and connects brands and people. We called it "Uber 2.0" in early 2017. Today we would call it "Sponsored MOIA". You know, these gold-brown minibuses that pass-through Hamburg without passengers and open virtual stops.
In Germany, mobility offers are not as much used for sponsoring – so a "drink and let drive" offer would stand out and would match so well with the demands of the party crowd visiting Hamburg’s Reeperbahn each weekend ...
A third concept was at the bottom of the drawer - more from 2016 than 2017. At the bottom, because there were really a lot of documents related to the same concept and we thought about the implementation more often, because it would simply make our lives a lot easier:
Airports, train and subway stations are not just transfer stations but meanwhile retail places where you buy everything you need. Breakfast on the way to the office, a snack for lunch or groceries for the coming weekend. But usually, after some time in the supermarket queue or a little faster at the self-check-out checkout, you drag yourself down the stairs with the bags into full trains and buses. Just to wait there with the bags for your final stop.
What if shopping could be done on the train?
Inspired by the digital shopping opportunities in the Japanese metro, we thought of a local supermarket on rails. Why not a city convenience store concept that we use as we approach our destination?
While the customer journey was straightforward for us, the service design blueprint and the business model presented us with challenges. Public transport in Germany is inexpensive, and the ticket offices for the necessary expansion of the routes are accordingly empty. In high-frequency times, the trains provided are hardly enough for the number of people. It is inconceivable if two compartments become a supermarket, through which shopping-loving passengers crowd. Of course license or concession contracts could help.
But what does the logistics of the suppliers or food retailers look like? How to organize individual goods availability according to temporary shopping needs in moving units? With the right data basis, these are certainly all solvable problems, but locating all those involved in a value map alone was exhausting, so that after careful consideration we put this concept back at the bottom of the drawer. Right next to the other “We would love to have” ideas that we love to pursue, but only to a certain point without a customer order.
We basically think about mobility, what it means for us as people and consumers. We are skeptical about what will become of Uber’s flight taxis. We are happy to see sustainable projects crossing the oceans. We take a critical look at our own concepts, which are often an expression of the urban filter bubble. While rural areas have different mobility requirements and a own car is more important than in the city.
But looking at all the mobility concepts out there, we should not forget in the future that most of us are equipped with a pair of bio-kinetic, self-balancing, organically degradable "people movers". We call them "legs" and they are very well designed to get us from A to B and to transport goods.
Header Photo by Joey Kyber on Unsplash
Creatives for this special project: Ashkan / Johanna and more