I spent some time with a company the other day who introduced me to the word “indispensable” as applied to online services. The folks at AKQA (sadly, pronounced letter by letter rather than as ‘aqua’) say that sustainable services can only be built on feasible technology that is designed to be useable and has the goal of being indispensable to the customer. I liked this short-hand “mission” a lot.
It seems to me that using feasible technology and designing a useable service are the easy bits. Making it sustainable (as a business model) and indispensable (so the customer wouldn’t think of doing without it) is a whole different path. I don’t think many of us have wandered down that path yet, but it seems to me that it is time we did. I’ll be giving some more thought to this over the coming weeks – particularly what is it that sets a service out as indispensable and how might we build that into some of the things that we want to put online here in the UK