Simone, your ideas are continually inspiring. You’ve managed to create a very succinct expression of such a complex topic.

I had an interesting conversation with the person I was sharing a table with in a cafe yesterday. He was working to create branded products that would be packaging free, and aimed to be selling them though packaging free shops. I’d never even thought about this kind of product before, but rapidly came to realise that they were something very different. Packaging free stores tend to just sell generic items, where the brand is essentially irrelevant. (The only brand I can think of is Ecover.)

Trying to sell a physical product without any packaging is essentially an exercise in creating a boundary-less organization — and it requires the right platforms to deliver it. The packaging of a product defines such a clear boundary between those creating something and those buying something. If you remove it, you now have to create much deeper connections with customers, bringing them into your inner workings, you underlying purpose and explaining why they should put in all the extra effort into buying your product.

Anyone attempting create this kind of product, and make it physically available in stores, requires a completely different relationship with the store. When a product cannot simply be put on a shelf, there is, once again, an erosion of a boundary. Both parties need to build the connection that allows this — and the store must think of itself as a platform.

Packaging is so integral to everything in our consumer society, (The most popular YouTube channels are unboxing!) I do wonder if it makes any kind of commercial sense to attempt this kind of product…. but, your article did provide some food for thought as to the kind of shift required before it could be possible.

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