Alternative Camden - Ideas




What is it?
A warranty and insurance contract for a product that has been refurbished in a local repair centre. It could be a smart digital contract between the original manufacturer, part supplier, repair centre and customer to insure the repaired product for a given time period.

Why is it useful?
Most standard warranties are canceled as soon as a product is repaired by anyone who isn't 'certified'. This prevents us going to more affordable 3rd-party repair centres or upgrading products ourselves, often leading to product disposal and contributing to a large amount of waste – each year in Europe we waste nearly £400 million worth of materials in discarded mobile phones, alone.

The Circular Economy is an exciting and powerful idea, but it rests on us redefining how we manage our material resources. A key part will be in creating the warranty and insurance frameworks for the sharing, maintenance, and refurbishment of products. If we create smart, modular contracts between multiple parties, we could reduce the financial risk of sharing or repairing and incentivise longer product lifecycles.

Who needs to be involved?
  • Local repair businesses & lending libraries
  • Product manufacturers
  • Product insurance providers
  • Local waste & recycling services
  • Local product resellers

Where do we start?
  • Research and map the current process and costs for repairing a product vs buying new.
  • Run a workshop to identify how a refurbished product warranty could reduce financial risk and incentivise repair and reuse.
  • Develop a “paper prototype” of the insurance and warranty contract. Identify the parties involved and the legal and financial implications.
  • Test prototype in the community and refine proposal from stakeholder feedback.
  • Identify the technology and legal expertise required to convert the paper prototype into a smart contract.
  • Start testing the digital prototype in a real-life context in Camden.

Some Thoughts…
  • How could we design a user experience that makes repairing or sharing more attractive than disposal and buying new? How is this integrated into the warranty?
  • Which types of product are we happy to buy refurbished or to share? Does this vary e.g. a washing machine vs shoes?