The Next Economy
Life-Size Living™:
How to Find Meaning Within Our Means Once More

The time when we were happily seduced into reaching far, far beyond our means with a promise of infinite everything and the glittering lure of a‘larger-than-life’ life, seems, to some of us at least, quite archaic now.

But even in our socially enlightened, austerity-shredded, community-conscious, light-speed-connected present, we still struggle to get to grips with a smarter, lighter, less financially and materially burdensome style of life.

We’re all still living ‘larger-than-life’ lives. We seem to struggle to find meaning in the things that exist comfortably within our means.

Landfill living, for all our best intentions, is the norm, fuelled by a plethora of choice and cheap money, multipacked and bundled everything, upgrades a plenty, sexy must-haves, and ton upon ton of indispensible dispensable ‘look at me’ stuff, all wrapped up in proliferations of every kind of packaging conceivable.

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Partly it’s the gene pool imperative of ‘I have more therefore I am more,’ which creeps us all up the gene pool consideration list to a slightly better healthier smarter mate and a greater likelihood of gene pool immortality!

But also its because there is no movement for people to join. There is no singular central mantra to gather populist sentiment around. There is no simple compelling language to light the torch and gather the masses. The arcana and trending language of the circular economy, the sharing economy, sustainability, corporate responsibility, conscious capitalism … WTF! I can’t see them making for a chirpy lighthearted chat in a bar on a wet Wednesday night in Burnley, Lancashire or Boise, Idaho.

But make no mistake: Everyday people need someone to make this happen for them — to make it real, make it meaningful.

Let’s face it — most of us are just two credit card default payments away from the house of cards falling down — quietly stressing on making ends meet, paying bills on that car we can’t really afford, the house we shouldn’t even be living in, and that extra holiday we’ve bluffed on a wheezing credit card. And BONUS, we still get to feel bad when someone points to our rubbish still sitting in a landfill in India three generations on and the fact that the energy we burn to keep the lights on in our temple of fabulousness is going to send the planet our unaffordable home is planted on up in smoke.

A Flag

So to move this forward, let’s start with a flag in the ground and create a simple movement mindset around two things:

  • Unlocking the conversation on a mass scale. Find the human and emotional language and a sense of a movement, and make it cool and smart for people to shape a life whose meaning is not solely focused around driving the margins of someone’s business growth.
  • Unlocking the capital in the investment community to transform the way those businesses and brands supply the desire for a smarter lighter life. The Investment community are the people ultimately that fund businesses’ ability to make that transformation. And currently it’s a doff of a cap and little more.

With the end objective of getting the money monsters and some leading and profitable brands and businesses in a room, let’s create a movement that every stakeholder could find some meaning in; that would be a start.

Welcome to the Movement for LifeSize Living™

LifeSize Living™ is a movement that supports any brands or businesses that choose to help their people, both inside and out, find meaning within their means once more.

What does it mean and what should it do? LifeSize Living intends to be more than just a slogan:

  • It should unlock the conversation around smarter lighter lifestyle choices on a mass inclusive scale
  • It should create a clear, coherent and compelling narrative to help unlock the capital that can transform supply
  • It should frame the opportunity for both quantitative and qualitative growth in one seamless narrative
  • It should present a clear set of criteria by which services products brands and the businesses that deliver them can assess themselves
  • It should deliver a clear protocol and a set of actions which can be undertaken by any brand or business which wishes to participate or align itself with the movement.
  • It must present a clear set of stakeholders around which to activate thinking and doing
  • It must both create and capture value and drive innovation

Framing the Challenge

To be part of the LifeSize Living™ movement, the brand product, service or business would need to demonstrate a clear and sustained intention to have:

  1. Reduced number of lifetimes impacted by consumption: All impact of the thing consumed held within the consumers lifetime – no plastic razors still sitting in a landfill in India in 80 years time!
  2. Increased number of lifetimes and cycles of byproduct use reuse recovery recycle: The circular economy in all its glory — nine lives should be the norm demonstrated through the likes of zero to landfill and cradle-to-cradle modeling as well as product and service innovation that builds the shared economy into the actual life cycle planning of the products or services
  3. Reduced or eradicated need for cheap credit & borrowing to enable consumption: You cannot press the consumer or purchaser to over-reach themselves and consider yourself LifeSize. The aspirational meaning of what you sell must exist within the means of the purchaser
  4. Highly reduced expenditure on bought media: LifeSize Living businesses, brands, products and services must be human-shaped — celebrated and advocated by the consumer within the existing social spheres in which they exist– preferably through an advocacy model powered by live and digitally enabled WOM/Share/Reward/Gift. This may well begin as a marketing economies and efficiencies drive but ...
  5. Activated a dynamic strand of social entrepreneurial endeavour: To be Life Size is to 'put in more than you take out' — Public spiritedness, positive socio-cultural impacts and activation both inside and outside the business must be an innate systemic trait in the brand and business, not a bolt-on — both part of its operational DNA and of its brand story.
  6. ***Understood your place in the sharing economy:***To be LifeSize, the brand, business, product or service must endeavor to have a clear and strategically robust understanding of its secondary and indirect value and impact within a sharing economy — as a formal part of its life cycle planning.Compound indices of measurement & positive effect

The LifeSize Living™ movement is not predicated on utilizing one measure or rating system. It endeavours to sit above, and draw upon any number of recognized ratings or metrics of corporate purpose, and intends to be GSB, Corporate Knights & BCorps friendly.

To participate in LifeSize Living™ would require aggregating the brand, product service or business’s existing measures and indices up into the criteria buckets set out above.

Summary

LifeSize Living™ is about recalibrating the way we aspire, create, make, consume and live. And in doing so, redressing the balance of our lives and finding a greater degree of meaning within our spiritual, material and financial means once more, both individually and collectively.

Some brands are already embracing The LifeSize Living to a greater degree. Patagonia and of course Interface, the golden children of mindful, purpose-led, heart-on-sleeve capitalism, are already ticking many of the bucket boxes set out above — and could make great organisers of the movement.

Ben & Jerry’s have been mooted as a potential LifeSize Living™ brand along with Stonyfield Farms.

M&S — with their clear line of sight on their supply chain, Shwopping! initiative, Plan A commitments and active socio-cultural role in the fabric of British society — could also make for a brilliant LifeSize Living participant.

So where do we start? With a straw poll and a short list.

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