Friday, August 18, 2006

Why is consumption practice important to understand from a company perspective?

Companies should take, not an reactive mode towards social and material dynamics, but a constructive role. Historically companies have been active in empowering and developing practices further, and will certainly do also so in the future. As this blog propose, it would be necessary for the company to understand and redeem a practical role in society. Hence, it is proposed that market can be viewed as practical, the service a company can actually be depicted as certain improvement of practices, and also innovation in a final analysis can be seen as innovation of social practices.

It is, however, important to first understand the dynamics of how practical life occur in the world, and maintain a necessary respect when trying to orchestrate the architecture of everyday life.

Practices are both the enabler and obstacle for business. In practice focused marketing, the practices of everyday life become the market that restricts and enables company involvement. Restriction in the sense that the prevailing practice in a certain practice can not in very few cases be radically changed. That means that technological solutions should in most cases not strive to change a practice, but more or less make the already existing practice work better. The technology planned is a failure, if it does not find its place in a certain practice. On the other hand a new tool or toy that is integrated into a practice and has made it more valuable will constitute a great market for the company.

One should also keep in mind that practices are formed not designed. practices are always developing in a historical manner in ways that may be hard to predict and understand. In many cases companies have been enforced to take the role as a provider of material, which then later has been transformed into clearly defined tools and toys by the customer. SMS is a good example of a tool that was first designed for a completely different practice than it finally ended up in. SMS was made as a tool for “keeping things in order” for business men, while the heavy use is happening as a form of “social play” for youth. In that way, it is hardly possible to design everyday life in all cases. And if it would be, practice design would be a highly dangerous tool that could be used by companies for unethical purposes.

A market viewed as a collection of practices needs to be approached in a comprehensive manner. In order for companies to be able to have an impact on the practical life of people and thus create a business, the company should be able to empower the practice in many different ways. As will be discussed later, the company should have their own practice for developing tools or toys, and also material for the customer to maybe design into a tool or toy. The company should have possibilities to affect the images and competence involved in the practice, and maybe also in some cases the physical spaces in which the customer is using the other elements.


At 9:20 PM, Blogger BoHarald said...

"...the service a company can actually be depicted as certain improvement of practices, and also innovation in a final analysis can be seen as innovation of social practices."

I could not agree more. Inventions tend to be prematurely classified as innovations. The improvement of practises needed to make a critical mass of customers take the step must by necessity be an innovation of social practises. We are dealing with people and if we understand their constantly evolving context and behave accordingly progress will be made.

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