The concept of right to repair is about making product last longer by designing them to be repaired when broken, as well as supporting repairers of all kinds. Leading mobile phone manufacturers are prepared to launch new products supported by spare parts in the form of batteries, cameras and displays. EU is planning to present a new legislation proposal late 2022 (briefing document) and the US presidential order last summer pushed forward industrial policies in different lines of businesses. Accordingly, the right to repair is around the corner.
From our experience, most companies do not take any action in this kind of matters until the policy or legislation is an accomplished fact. To our knowledge there are a few management teams who will have to consider what to do, not if, but when the right to repair “has arrived”. We made some assumptions to clear their paths.
1. Accessibility is No 1!
Finding the right spare part, the correct version of the spare part and information on how to use it are a necessity. Adding on with manuals in languagues that you can understand or take part of through videos, as well as tools making it possible to conduct the actual repair work, space for repair work and time to do it as crucial conditions.
2. Affordability might be a watershed!
If the spare parts are too expensive, there will be no market for the right to repair. Such an attitude from manufacturers will most likely not be in their favor, but in their competitors.
3. Viability is a pillar to the right to repair!
Naturally, the inherent viability of the product to last for several years, and to do so well, is a basic technological prerequisite for making it all work.
4. Desirability and emotions might enhance product loyalty!
Consumers who are happy with their products, for instance mobile phones working well, might see the right to repair as a means of prolonging the life of their beloved items.
5. The right to upgrade is also a way of repairing your products!
Since many of today’s products are totally dependent on updated versions of the software running them, the ability to upgrade this software is also of great importance to prolong the life of a product.
The above reasoning of a mandatory right to repair in six months made us consider some characteristics of outmost importance to the companies that might end up in a haste to comply with new legislation or new business policies.
For us as strategic advisors on design thinking to leading businesses it is amazing to be a part of their transformation journeys into innovative 21st century principles of operating within planetary boundaries.
This is design thinking for the near future – to be applied already by today’s businesses.