The Human Centered Design Podcast with Gerry Scullion

Joe Macleod 'Peering through the Past, Present and Future lens of End Experiences'

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December 20, 2021
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Joe Macleod 'Peering through the Past, Present and Future lens of End Experiences'

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Episode shownotes

Doing Design Festival V3 'Better Together' - February 11 2022. Tickets:

Hello and welcome to another episode of Bringing Design Closer. My name is Gerry Scullion, and I’m a service designer, and founder of This is HCD and CEO of This is Doing - we provide live online design and innovation classes , providing training for people within the Design and change-making space.

You are in for a treat today folks - I caught up with the one and only, Joe Macleod - an all round great thinker and leader in the space of designing end experiences. Based in Stockholm now, Joe’s just released his second book titled ‘Endineering’ which focusses on the HOW to design these incredibly important experiences for both businesses and the planet.

Joe’s first book titled ‘Ends’ was released a number of years ago and really focussed on the understanding of the why these systems have not been put in place.

In this conversation we flick between both mindsets, but in the spirit of Christmas that is fast approaching, we speak about Past, Present and Future - what the behaviours are and problems that have been left behind by our ancestors and elder family members. We speak about the Present, where we are at and should be doing both at a societal level but also from a change-maker perspective.

The future may seem like a far away place, but it’s not.

Joe’s a remarkable thinker and highly encourage you to purchase his books - and support his work.

Let’s jump straight into the episode


AndEnd -
Endineering Book -
Ends Book -

Twitter@mrmacleod @andend_co

Episode Transcript

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S1: Hello and welcome to another episode of Bringing the Line Closer. My name is Jerry Scullin and I'm a service designer and the founder of this society and the CEO of This is two-income where we provide a live online design and innovation classes, providing training for people within the design and change making space. You are in for a treat today, folks. I caught up with the one and only Joe McCloud, an all round great thinker and leader in the space of designing end experiences. Now based in Stockholm, Joe's just released a second book titled Engineering, which focuses on the how to design these incredibly important experiences for both businesses and the planet. Joe's first book, titled Ends, was released a number of years ago and really focused on the understanding of why these systems have not been put in place. In this conversation, we flick between both mindsets, both in the spirit of Christmas that is fast approaching way, and we speak about the past, present and future. What are the behaviors are and the problems that are being left behind by our ancestors and elder family members? We speak about the present where we are right now and things that we should be doing, both at a societal level, but also from a change maker space. The future may seem like a faraway place, but in this conversation you realize that it's not. Joe's a remarkable thinker and I highly encourage you to purchase his books. He's an independent author, so support his work. Let's jump straight into the episode. It's a great one. Joe, it's great to have you here. I'm delighted to welcome you to bringing design closer. I'm a long time fan, first guest speaker to you and am excited to chat with you today. Maybe kick off. Tell us a little bit about yourself where you're coming from today.


S2: Thanks so much for inviting me on to the show. Jerry and I really appreciate it because you know you're a big podcast star in the community. So delighted to be here. And my a bit of my background. I've been a designer for years. I graduated in graphic design before the web was around. Then I was really excited about the web, so I started messing around with that for a bit, then got into mobile. Then a lot of dot com stuff, which was super exciting for ten minutes and then rushing down and. But it was it was a really good experience. And then I ended up doing apps in my last job as to head the design there for at least five years, I think, and which was great fun. Yeah. One of the best jobs that it had properly and then. But the most recent stuff I've been doing is around consumer endings or looking on the end of the consumer lifecycle. So, yeah, that's where we're at at the moment.


S1: I mean, the the first book that you wrote is called Ends, and we're going to speak a little bit about that today. But you've also got a new book called Engineering, which is it is a fantastic name. I'm sure it came to you in the shower or something. You're like, Oh, how did you come up with a name for engineering? Well, actually somebody just


S2: somebody said something like, Oh, who's the head of engineering? Then like,


S1: you know, I'll take this


S2: housing joke. I thought it was quite funny at the time, and it's been sort of chipping around as a thought and it's turned from a joke. Actually, it's really good that word, because we do need to end engineer endings I think can take a lot more of a serious look at how we plan and design those type of things and execute them. Yeah. And also it's a unique word. So hashtag in there and making making that a thing is quite quite convenient online and


S1: absolutely, absolutely. Well, the first book, if anyone hasn't read us going by it and read it and support Joe and his work because it's fantastic and it focuses mostly on the why I am, why businesses aren't designing these things, why consumers aren't thinking about these things, I guess. Is that fair to say? Is that is that?


S2: Yeah, that's right. So when I first started looking at it, I mean, maybe if we go back before that book was written, I had a couple of experiences, one of which was this rubbish experience with a voice recognition stuff on on like, I think, Orange Mobile Phone Network, and that highlighted a real lack of endings because I was so angry with and I couldn't end it emotionally. And then I said, this sort of silly project looking back on it, which was about waste and rubbish in the world for the students at St. Martin's in London. And then they all came back with more stuff and, you know, like a monk with don't waste things or avoid rubbish. And yet we


S1: created


S2: sort rubbish. And it was just this clarifying moment of this gap. And what was revealed is basically a hole, and I didn't have anything to put in that hole in terms of thought it was. I had no vocabulary I thought about with design endings and this whole state with moment years, actually decades, I was really beginning quite. Fascinated with endings after that, and then the first book really looks into that hole and looked at why don't we consider endings in our in our broader life that sort of started to move towards consumer experiences? Hmm. And and that first book was the why and that goes what wrote back in history to the sort of protest and uprising, the plague, and it frames how consumerism came about through this sort of these secularized Protestant world view of endings and how I'm not not. I'm not religious. Not not to sort of offend any religion. I mean, there's just this observation around the relationship with death etc and how that has been utilized in the build up of the industrial revolution and consumerism more generally.


S1: Let's break that down a little bit, Joe, because it's something that I'm I'm interested in as well. My my wife is Protestant and Catholic, right? And it's become a thing, I guess over the last we've been together for nearly 16 years. So it's not something we've just spoken about, God. Hey, did you know that you're going to die? I'm going to die, too, but I'm a little bit more planned out and kind of like, I know where I'd like to be buried and so forth, but. Well, one of the things that you found like you mentioned the industrial revolution. Let's break that down. Tell me what you mean.


S2: So the industrial revolution is that in northern Europe, it essentially is a sort of emerged from northern Europe. Northern Europe at the time was predominantly Protestant and looking at the challenges that those two groups had had over centuries previously. So if you just look on the plane level in the in the Protestant worldview, you don't really get a chance to renounce sin or adjust and align towards that death. The the end of life and death. So. You pretty much turn up at the pearly gates as it were and you were judged. And in the Catholic religion, you can adjust and move and renounce sin and stuff. So there's there's a different relationship there with about endings in the Catholic sort of religion. I think a lot more about death in an open way, but the Protestants tended to shove that down a lot more emotionally.


S1: That's definitely true. I know because talking about weeks, I, like my wife, hasn't experienced a week. And to me, that's an a to morbid. But there's nothing better than a good week because you actually get together with people that you haven't seen for a long time and in a really morbid way. It's actually quite a quite a fun time, and it's obviously it's sort of underlying, you know, sadness. It's a powerful,


S2: reflective tool, isn't it? That really, I think many. And going back to the religious thing again, Martin Luther when the Protestants first came about, he removed fasting from the religious calendar. Now the I believe in the Catholic religion. It's not organized as explicitly now, but it wasn't removed till later on. So Martin Luther removes that before the before the industrial revolution. So you've removed this? Imagine that, too. How powerful that would be to have a tool that says, remove yourself from the abundance of life and now reflect upon how lucky you are in a consumer context that would be incredibly powerful. But that was that was removed in the sort of the area which where the industrial revolution started to emerge.


S1: That's really interesting because that whole power of reflection is kind of where we're at. Yeah, after COP 26 and stuff where we need to take take a step back. Yeah, and readjust


S2: exactly that when we don't build in these sort of moments of reflection, the of building an ending of consumption, then we have no we have no measure of how we resolve the consequences of consumption. So we're quite muted in terms of our ability to to really judge that and measure that. And so there's a big, big sort of psychological problem in in that.


S1: So you think that's been carried across over centuries into where we're at now at the moment, the whole kind of the inability to reflect consumer fatigue?


S2: Yeah. And what we've done, what we've tended to do over like centuries, this is it's pretty hard for us to grapple with it now. And in my view, we've split. We've all have this psychosis in us that is a consumer self in the civil service. So on one hand, on incredibly sophisticated at valuing, understanding, measuring an object in terms of purchase or a consumer experience in terms of purchase and usage. So I, we all have a very sophisticated ability to measure that. But off boarding, I then resort to my civil self, which has an overwhelming task to try and value the end of product life. So I'm the one in my civil self, my civil self that half of me is concerned about the environment is worried about how to recycle is, has all of these other values and other concerns, and these two individuals never get really an opportunity to come together inside the consumer life cycle because the consumer life cycle ends very abruptly emotionally and there's an enormous separation between the usage experience and the end experience.


S1: And like that measurement piece is something that's due to the inanimate object that is usually sitting in the kitchen or something like that's where I'm sort of picturing it at the moment is never really measured post-purchase. No, no. It just sits there dormant. And you know, they can go, Look, they fell for us. Who knew you needed 16 kind of different styles on a washing machine or a dryer or your fridge or refrigerator, or whatever it was? So what do you have any insights in terms of where they're at with? Yeah, I mean,


S2: with measure measuring is a really good way to look through this lens. So as a consumer, I am measured in terms of usage and talking in ever such complicated ways, and I understand and can measure myself in those terms. I've got X amount of money, I've got x amount of these types of things. I've got x amount of followers, I've got X. So a measuring and valuing myself in the consumer world all the time. Yeah, in terms of usage, understanding and value that blah blah blah. But when it comes to the end of the consumer lifecycle, a lot of the measuring tools drop off and we resort to science scientific measuring devices. So if you've ever tried to measure your carbon impact, you can see how complicated. Yeah, non-users centric that is is to apply a scientific, very complicated measuring device to the impact you're making as a consumer. And if we can't measure these things as a consumer centric way, then we're never going to get the consumer to reflect about that, about that ending or even improve. What's that saying that, you know, if you can't measure it, you can't improve it?


S1: Yeah, absolutely we can. We can speak a little bit more about why. But one of the things us I was thinking about in the lead up to this conversation is there's been a couple of years since you released that first book if you had the chance to go back and add something to it. Now, based on what you've learned over the last number of years and where we're currently at. What would you add to the book?


S2: Well, for starters, I realize writing about digital doesn't very last, very long. So there's a whole digital chapter, which is very, I think now and which I would revisit revisit that and certainly maybe not make so many statements about digital because they change so quickly and other aspects of it. I think, you know, I'm very proud that the book in terms of how it takes that passage through history and psychology and and sort of philosophy. I never really wanted to write a book, really. I'm quite dyslexic and it's really not much fun writing. So it's not like the joy of writing that that's not me. It's like, Oh my God, writing. So it was quite a mountain to climb and so glad I done it.


S1: Yeah, I know you've done it twice. Yeah.


S2: Well, in media,


S1: you walked into the wall twice. Yeah. Now for people you don't know and don't follow, Jo-Jo lives in Stockholm and Sweden now. Yeah. So you've got the power like I do to compare different cultures. And so for me, living in Australia for, you know, whatever, 13, 14 years and coming back and I'm now in this eternal conflict stage where I'm like comparing the two never, never particularly happy nearly all the time. How does Sweden compare to where you were originally brought up


S2: from the UK on many different levels? I don't know about in terms of endings and consumption


S1: because it's a secular society. Isn't the Sweden secular?


S2: Well, yes, it is secular. I mean, the UK is fairly secular as well, and the separation between the church and stuff sometimes blurs a bit more in the UK. I think there's a lot more room


S1: on the monarchy.


S2: Yeah, exactly. Stuff like that. But I think because Sweden's a smaller country, the language is obviously far more unique than English, which is incredibly dumb. I just as an English speaking person coming here, you forget how privileged you are speaking English, going around the world. And yeah, almost everyone here speaks absolutely perfect English and is. Everything to think how few people in the UK speak another language, and then I find it humbling how you know, this culture grapples with having this very dominant language everywhere. Yeah, every other country as well around Europe.


S1: Yeah, it is definitely like I felt that being Irish, of course, we speak English. Thanks for us. So we won't go down that road, though. Yeah. But look, when I was looking at ends and engineering and I was talking to you beforehand about speaking, maybe the conversation opened to three different parts like the past, present and future and the past behaviours that I guess my, my parents and my ancestors and stuff. They were involved with buying all these things. We've we've inherited this problem now that we have kind of like, how do we kind of clean up the mess? So in terms of where we're at right now, it's 2021 just before Christmas. What does that look like? How big is this problem?


S2: I think this problem's absolutely gigantic, and it is very frustrating when you look back in the history of grappling with all sorts of solutions and climate change. I mean, we're at twenty six of Cop now. Cop started in, I think seventy two. So it's been going ever since I was born. And I think that gives you a perspective of how little we really grappled with it. Well, progress. Well, that there's a problem with it for many decades. Yeah. But when I think about the past, present and future. I think, yeah, we've got to grapple with this right now. I hear people saying, Oh, I think the next generation are the ones to do it, and that's when I hear people say that I think we can breed our way out of this. Yeah. You know, it's going to be a fuck our way to the future so we can have more kids. They will deal with it. Yeah, and that really can't be done. We've got to deal with it right away in this.


S1: If anything, we need less people


S2: next few next few years.


S1: What can I ask a question? And it's going to seem such a stupid question, but what is the problem? But we know the problem


S2: well, overconsumption is a massive problem on lots of levels, I mean, climate change is definitely on the agenda, but it's not the only thing that's damaging the environment. I mean, from my point of view, I look at this through the lens of consumerism and design and creating consumer experiences, and I look at this and see how many years we've gone without considering rebalancing that of boating on boarding experience. Yeah. And if we can't do that for the consumer to get them to engage in the and in the issues, I mean, we talk a lot about behavior change, but it's if it was fairly barren, if we can't work out what is behavior change in terms of in terms of execute in that in the consumer experience, because we can talk all we want about like, oh, we've got to change our behavior and reduce our carbon footprint. What does that mean to the consumer? We're still sending consumer goods like there's no no problems at all. So yeah, we've got to start making behavior change part of that consumer experience. And I believe that is about making endings more responsible. Reflective, yeah, purposeful.


S1: There's just on that topic like there's a responsibility of the consumer. There's a huge responsibility on the business level to actually walk the walk and talk the talk. There was a scenario heroes back and forth with a supermarket chain in Ireland called SuperValu. I'm going to name them. I don't really care if so I did my shopping online. We're still kind of very much culverts, you know, risk averse here. And the shopping came in and there was 12 bottles of 7-Up cherry for free in anything and free for free. OK, so. And of course, there were just in


S2: case the first bottle didn't really grab you,


S1: and they have to have


S2: another one to really push you into the


S1: yeah, the cherry one. Yeah. Seven. Cherry as well. Like, I'm not even into cherries like but and they had like, you know, beautiful kind of like for free, you know, plastic label on the top of it. And I put them out on the counter in the kitchen and I went mad as like, how Sunni. I've inherited this problem. I like, how am I got? They're not going to come back and pick up these 12 bottles of free, seven up cherry. I'm like, No one's going to want them. Okay, so I've inherited this literally shit pile, and I'm like a port and the sink that I got the plastic and I'm like, You know, anyone who knows me knows I've been sitting there kind of looking at them for a few minutes coming on and all I do. So I did what everyone else and probably listen to the podcast. I hit them up on Twitter and I'm like, Seriously, is this is this how you guys, you know, supports the the initiative that you talk about, like being sustainable and you know, it goes up by how many of these orders you do in a week. You're probably doing about 15 20000 and you're given 11 or 12 bottles to them as well. And I'm not stupid. I know you're also getting money from probably Coca-Cola for giving these out. Yeah. So walk the walk where I'm going to be a bit of a mini rant about this and eventually I got hold of them. The store manager and they said, Oh, we'll send somebody down to pick them up. And I go, But you need to give me my promise that you're not just going to throw them into another bag. I said, you need to have some sort of social responsibility and allow people to opt in or opt out and say, I don't want this stuff and I never want any free stuff because I'm not going to use this. And they're like, Oh, yeah, sure. Sure, sure. Four weeks later, I got another four bottles full of Cherry Cherry Cherry seven up again back on Twitter, and I'm like, This is what I mean. Like, it's it's repetitive, and I don't believe businesses have even come to the table to think about these things. It's a PR stunt for them to talk about sustainability. And it's it's a tough one because we need them to come to the table as probably quicker to help guide the consumer behaviors to change.


S2: I sometimes think that we we do blame businesses a lot, many businesses trying to do stuff that I think a lot of the time we we just aren't talking about the same issues in the wrong way. I used to work at Nokia for years and people used to talk about, and some businesses do build in obsolescence into their devices. But the real concern for me wasn't that. I mean, it would be great if businesses did talk about endings in terms of obsolescence because maybe they were planning how to rectify that or do better. But what was really worrying is that all the time I was at Nokia, we talk about all sorts of aspects of onboarding and usage and distributing and never had a conversation about how do we get all this stuff back and process it into new things. And very few companies do that. I mean, like, for example, Apple takes your phone back and they'll take it a bit and use those things, and they've got quite a good scheme, but that's a very rich, expensive company to be doing stuff like that. And they're, you know, maybe doing good in that sense. I mean, I've got other criticisms of them, but maybe that's a good thing. But loads of companies aren't even thinking about anything, so they're thinking about promotion and that onboarding experience. So like the promotion of shoving, have 12 bottles worth. How many in all trials of Cherry Coke


S1: 16 and Total Girlboss and I didn't know, never passed my lips, and only even the delivery guy came back the second time he knew me and it was like, Oh, here he is, and I'm like, There better, not be anything in those bags. I said, apart from what I paid for, like, I'm a complete and utter anomaly. He was like, I can't believe you don't win any free stuff. Yeah, and I go,


S2: especially cherry


S1: even, he said. He said, I wouldn't drink it and I'm like, All okay. It's interesting,


S2: though, isn't it really the the burden you've been given if you went around to do that to customers of anything almost and gave them something which was just a massive burden to them? Yeah, you're going to get really sugar high on this. You know, it's free. You're going to get a sugar high, then a sugar crash and then you've got a load of plastic to process and


S1: it's just hasn't been thought out. Someone from Coca Cola goes, Hey, we've got a new, a new flavour. We want to push out to the consumers. Maybe we'll just give it to them for free to get them hooked. And I mean, they're giving it to the wrong person. I am definitely one of the worst customers to be meeting at the door because I'm like, What's this for them? It's interesting. It's it's just one of those anecdotal stories I want to throw out there.


S2: I think examples on boarding, off boarding and the grappling your consumer self and civil self are having. I mean, that sort of revealed in that. I think,


S1: yeah, they did. They did apologize. And they say, like, it didn't happen here. But then yet again, nothing has changed in the system that when you go to order your food, I still was given free coffee then a couple of weeks ago and I'm like, Look, take this back. I don't I don't want this stuff. I'd rather use my own ethically sourced coffee and I know a a complete snob when I say this stuff, but it's how I live my life. I only want to consume the stuff that I buy. I don't want people to be bringing me stuff that's never gonna probably end up in the bin. Yeah, but. So look, we're looking at the past stuff and it's we've identified it's a huge problem. OK, okay. So do you know of anything there? Thus, you can add to that or processing that the past stuff. I know when you're in Dundee, you mentioned there to me with the Design Council. Well, I think


S2: with the past stuff I do doing a really deep historical look at why we do this instead of, I think we often look back at like a business and blame them. And we only look back like a few years like this company done this in such and such a year when actually we never look really back at how our society has been framed sociologically around the wider consumer experience. And that doesn't come under the spotlight as much because I think we do look into far too close the lens. I mean, was it David Attenborough was talking about how democracy really makes it hard to deal with long term impacts like climate change because no one's in power long enough to really take responsibility to to see the to see the impact or take the responsibility of the changing it.


S1: Yeah, it's it's a tough one like, you know, but fast forward, I feel like there's a movie, isn't that there, the past, present and future Christmas movie. So I feel like we're probably doing a Christmas themed podcast here, folks. Next.


S2: It will come out, I guess, in a couple of weeks when they decide, yeah, but just when the shopping zone?


S1: Yeah, we could


S2: talk about that.


S1: Let's do it. Let's talk about it. Because the presents where we're currently at, we're approaching Christmas. We've already mentioned the the conflict and personal conflict as well. Like, you know, in terms of my own household, what Christmas looks like for the kids. Yeah, if you want to take action this Christmas show, you know, what would you say to people out there?


S2: Well, I have been thinking about doing the Christmas book for a few years now. Thought you are going


S1: to say Christmas song,


S2: you know, a Christmas book that is just like, how does it end? But it is. It's photograph really beautifully. We've really lush, oversaturated images. How does it end? And it's like really cool toys like. Toys are sort of things that you might buy at Christmas. Photographed in great ways. And then all it's about is like the average lifespan of this product is X amount of time after which it could be dismantled in an appropriate way. But these types of things in this product are really hard to recycle. So it's sort of like the worst gift you could give at Christmas because it's such a horrible sours and it will ruin everyone's Christmas was just received a lovely, cool toy or yeah. I mean, the jumper.


S1: I mean, how do you handle the whole kind of Santa Claus thing and kind of family know giving gifts that are like dolls and all this? I'm a big fan of Christmas. I'm not Scrooge here. I want to celebrate and spoil my kids. But how do you handle it?


S2: There's obviously some cliches I could talk about. You know, it's the spirit of it. And when I think about Christmas on a personal level, it's been, you know, really quite drunk mid-afternoon. Look in a really nice twinkly lights around the, you know, I'm really warm, overly warm because I'm burning up loads of carbon in


S1: the air quality straight EastEnders.


S2: Yeah, something like that. But the and I think I'm the parent of two kids. I remember feeling super anxious about the amount of gifts that they get, not not the amount, because like, stop, they've had enough. It was more like this, you know, another big toy that I have no idea how it's dismantled or what type of plastic that is or what the metal is in this. And it makes you incredibly anxious, doesn't it? And we were talking about the past, present and future. You sort of looking at your youth, the next generation playing with something which is probably going to outlive them in terms of landfill like plastics, thought 300 years or something can learn to work on it. And then and you're doing this to instantly gratify yourself as a good parent by giving it to them. So there's all sorts of conflicts about it. So for you there?


S1: It's a tough one. I don't know how to approach it myself. I just try what we're doing this year. And truthfully, we're asking the family


S2: to the kids, don't listen to this podcast there. They're not going to spoil their Christmas presents.


S1: You know, they say, Daphne, don't listen to this society. They know that I do something with like a radio kind of thing, but they definitely don't listen to it. That might just do it in the future


S2: listening because we don't want to accidentally reveal about Santa Claus.


S1: Yeah. Well, Santa Claus exists. He does exist, and we're going to see him and I in two weeks. So I'm looking forward to seeing that. Yes. But I do kind of go, is that a plastic toy that's there, given the kids in the neighborhood? Where did you source that? Did you buy them on Amazon? That would have been coming over on an airplane, and that would have been our high CO2 emission there. So you probably want to rethink how you're purchasing this. You should be purchasing local and like, get out. But in terms of like we were asking the parents and family members to give money and were buying one present as opposed to 50. Yeah. And that that's one way to approach that, I guess, is rethinking about the volume and in terms of purchasing quality over quantity in terms of the present stuff that we currently have. What are the behaviors that you're seeing that are repeating that we could probably do a little bit more around trying to change like, for instance, batteries? I think we spoke about this before AAA and AA batteries. Well, what should people do with those things? Because Daphne Christmas time, as is battery battery, having


S2: batteries aren't too bad because they're actually fairly simple and they're high value inside them as well. So, OK, lithium like companies will definitely be up there like reprocessing them and selling the separate bits of metal, the real things you got a watch out for. And just in the last 10 years, I've seen so much very cheap electronic products. So any Bluetooth speaker like So where's it come from? Who's made it? Who's going to dismantle that when the time comes? So I could probably I could probably send all my Apple gear back to Apple and be fairly confident they might dismantle it and pull out bits, name it. But you're not going to get that with most Bluetooth speakers. Your earphone if you if you will use them like headphones with cables, they lost so few time, so little time. And the componentry is so cheap that it's not worth listening in. There is like quite costly for whoever this meant, was it? And all of these things are these are the really big problem. Things e-waste is gigantic issue.


S1: I was actually speaking to Gerry McGovern about this. Gerry is a good friend of the podcast. He is worldwide waste as his podcast, and we were talking about these things and the story came about. We have a toaster and a kettle downstairs, OK, that is now. I don't know. Maybe eight or nine years old again, it was given to us when we get married and stuff from DeLong. My my wife did some work for Jilani and I was like, Oh, these look, it looks like a really kind of fancy kettle and toaster. Where am I going with this cherry? The value of those combined is about $350 a cake, and I didn't we didn't pay for my gay folks, but they've never once given us any problems. I mean, nine years. Okay, like whereas before that, when we lived in Australia, we were going cheap and we were going to target and we were buying a toaster and kettle and we went through maybe about five or six of them in a couple of years. They just burnt out and they went into the bin and moved on. How do you think the kind of the principles of ownership like I own this thing versus the cost? Okay, because $350, let's be honest, it's outside of the reach for most people.


S2: I think it becomes quite quickly. It turns into a class wealth issue. So uh, it's I mean, when you look at some of the issues that we've got in the world and the privilege of being able to make choices beyond those issues. So if I think about the ease of which is if you've got money to purchase the right type of fruit and vegetables, organic or sourced or this type of that and this type of this and this is coming from here, et cetera, et cetera. And so in the food market, you are you've ever so privileged and the rich have that choice. But many, many people, the vast majority of the world don't have a choice at all about where they get their goods from and they have to get the most what they can afford a media, what they can afford, etc. And the same thing happens with other other goods. So it's easy for me to talk about like, you know, having Apple products and yeah, well, what a poncy rich guy like talking about having two


S1: white dudes talking about


S2: iPods and recycle. But if you have a low end laptop that you're having to do work on then and people don't have a choice and this goes really deep. You look through the like. If I think about endings and identity in terms of people having an identity, if on boarding my identity as a rich Westerner in consuming all sorts of things is layered in very, very thick. So I have an identity as a as a voting member of the public because I live in a rich country which has democracy, probably. But underneath that, loads of these things are consumer driven. So I have an identity of the purchasing power. I have loyalty cards, I have an identity on this social media platform, etc., etc. So all of these identities are very layered. Mm-Hmm. If then off-putting and you think about your identity being removed very quickly. So identity ownership is wrapped up in that. Loads of laws around this when I purchase something of boarding, if I throw it in the bin, it immediately gets relinquished in my identity. And it is that then the state and the municipal companies problem because it is waste. And that also happens in terms of me making an impact on the world that waste is going to get then shipped downstream off border into countries that are going to put up with processing with people who are very lowly paid. And the UN reckon there's about one billion people on Earth that haven't got an identity to say no. So that is a huge number. And those are the people who were putting up with the type of labour of most of my consumption as a rich west with many layers of identity, who's working in democracy, etc.


S1: not as a as what I call a wicked problem. And it's a


S2: massive injustice, and I think you've got to think about that as a consumer. I the stuff that I do is impacting people who are faceless.


S1: And it's not invisibility, though, isn't it, Joe? It's it's you can't see that like, it's like when you buy a toaster. At some point it's it's an angel, but at some point it's going to be a devil. Yeah, and it's such a shift in the twilight stage between the two worlds is kind of like, that's the the problem space that we need to need to understand. But just going back to the ownership piece, yeah, Gerry's point when I spoke to him was if we remodel the ownership framing and break apart that in terms of how you own things and like, I don't know about you, but in Ireland, in the 70s and 80s, leasing things was was hugely popular. You know, you lease your your fridge and then when it comes term, it, you know, it has it has another life and so forth. People don't seem to want to do that anymore. Like if we broke apart that toaster and cattle combo at $350 and it was spread over like whatever nine years because that's. AgriLife Lifespan is 10 cents or something a week or I don't know what it will be useless at maths, people are throwing their eyes at Typekit batteries mounts, but anyway.


S2: And I agree that I think that has gone away for a bit. I remember, like radio rentals in the UK, yeah, parents had the TV set. In fact, I remember it broke and my dad was a bit of a handy man with electronics, and so he took the TV apart and to try and mend it


S1: and they put a nation, holds its breath, put it back


S2: together again. And anyway, radio rentals came around and then the clouds had the TV's scattered across the floor and the radio rentals came around to pick it up, saying it's not not working. And because I was only a kid, I was


S1: already working at night. One parts in the kitchen.


S2: Incredible achievement of breaking the TV to bits and then put them back together again. And I said to the man, Like, my dad's very clever, you know? He took that TV all to bits together.


S1: And he's done a favour. Well, he was breaking it apart for people to recycle it like, you know? Yeah. And you said the radio and one day I'm going to I'm going to write a book about this.


S2: But coming back to the ownership piece and I think were, you know, just going and also about the present in the future, we don't have to go back far to see what we weren't, the damage that we were doing now. So it's only been in the last 30, 40 years that we've been just upping the damage. Yeah, and you go back and there was like better options in terms of rental. And I think there's a lot of companies who were moving towards that rental market for all sorts of goods now. And you see all sorts of companies moving towards rental and that's going to be so much better. And just in terms of endings, the rental relationship is so much easier at the off board. And because that company is going to take that material back and put it back in to dismantle it, process it in their own place.


S1: Yeah, and the strength in numbers. Huge strength in numbers like the company at radio rentals now will have maybe a million fridges, and they're like, OK, we're going to do a deal with LG. You're going to look after and it strengthens the relationship and strengthens the likelihood of it being taken seriously, as opposed to one family in Croydon who's looking to get their fridge redone.


S2: And absolutely not. I think with 000t, that's going to help as well. I mean, people look anxious about on many levels, quite rightly with security, but the. That is going to enable a lot of companies to recognize improvements in their products and errors in their products. A lot of the time these companies that just ship in stuff and even in people's homes for 20 or so years until they get a new one and someone else deals with it. But now it's going to be a lot harder for them to to a motion. Well, not emotionally, justifiably to do that.


S1: Yeah. So with the presence stuff, you know, we're we're having these meaningful conversations. I know you're doing an awful lot of work trying to get the word out there about the importance of designing. And which brings us to the future stage, which I guess is a the service designer is user experience designers, content designers, whoever is. Listen to this podcast. You're a change maker, most likely. What do you say to them about going about leading those conversations in your organizations, about selling in the importance of rethinking or just thinking about designing ends?


S2: So culturally in businesses, we have a massive aversion to ending. So when I go into any business, they are almost blind to it. So on some levels, I often start with my, my wedding and my marriage to, you know, I'm unmarried. There's only two ways out of that death or divorce. How many ways have you really thought about how your product ends and the companies haven't thought about any of them they sell? Is shipping these things into the lap of a customer and never think about the ending? So the first big cultural jump is like trying to have that conversation, and that's no small thing. So in the book, there's some there's one chapter which is just about selling it into the business and it's the business benefits of that and that can go through all sorts of things. So it's in terms of legislation, it's in terms of benefits to your bottom line. So a lot of a lot of customers will be delighted that there is an end and an end in mind. Customers feel more comfortable about committing to a business that has an off boarding thing. And I think there's there's a phrase about people like going on the on ramp. If they can see an off ramp, is it? Yeah, they know that increases. You'll think people are more trusting of businesses that have got a better ending instead of trapping people in. So if you're doing long term sort of them, if you're doing contracts that have really punitive an early release clauses, which is stacks of different companies, cable companies, phone companies, et cetera, there's there's a lot of stuff in there about why that isn't going to work for you in the in terms of customer satisfaction. Yes, it is a lot of companies that have Bursch alternatives so that they get better satisfaction rates from their customers instead of I'm entrapped in this company relationship. So that goes on. There's a whole chapter about how you can improve, how you can do business benefits and start those conversations internally.


S1: You can if you want to start the conversation or if you can just share this podcast around. Yeah, I guess to start the conversation and then I know you're offering training. Go around engineering. Yes. And this book is closer to the how isn't it?


S2: Yeah, exactly. So the first book was the why this book is the how so I and it and it goes through all sorts of how to do it. So the reasons to do it as I was just talking about in terms of a business sense. It takes you through the characteristics of different types of endings your customers experience and how to design and improve those. And it also talks about the phases, the common phases that the customer goes through so you can start designing for that time lapse between the first inklings of the customer wanting to leave, to making sure they've really enjoyed that onboarding experience and they get into a really happy sort of place at the rebirth.


S1: So we're coming towards the end of the the episode, OK?


S2: Everything ends, Gerri.


S1: We're going to have a smooth onboarding here. Yeah. Look, we've already spoken about Joe Torre and our Joe McLeod doing a meet up with one of the chapters. And this is HCD  around the world. There's a couple of people in the community kind of go. We'll take Joe and I'm like, No, we'll take Joe. So there might be a combo of chapters looking to do something, which I was to sign up to the newsletter in the show notes, Folks, if you want to hear about the Joe McLeod, meet up so you can actually ask your questions and so forth. One of the most meaningful books that I've come across in the last some years is ends on. I haven't read engineering yet, but I will be getting it in the next couple of weeks. So sign up. Buy the book support Joe and you'll be doing some good for the world, hopefully. Joe, if people want to reach out to you, what's the best way for them to do that?


S2: So I'm on LinkedIn, Twitter, all those platforms. You can go to the End and Echo website, which has all of the stuff I'm doing on there, and you can get in touch through that. And yeah, please reach out. And what's it doing? I do free gigs for education. So if you were a student and you want me to talk at your university college, I do a one hour session online, half an hour talk and half an hour Q&A. Happy to do that anywhere on Earth. And if you're a business, want to talk about this a bit more and investigate you a bit more? I do loads of different modules and engagements around that, so get in touch. That's designed better endings.


S1: Yeah, nice. Joe, thanks so much for your time.


S2: Thank you, Jerry, and thanks so much for having me on the podcast. Being such good fun.


S1: Anytime. Can't wait for you to come back, Joe. So there you have it. That's all for this episode of Bringing Design closer.

John Carter
Tech Vlogger & YouTuber

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