The lowly tea kettle and the solutions economy

At Treetop Strategy, we’re all about building a solutions economy. So what is a solutions economy, you ask?

Let me start with a simple example courtesy of teatime in Britain.

The British love their tea, drinking an estimated 60 billion cups a year. But their passion for Tetley can cause power outages.

When the TV show EastEnders finishes, 1.75 million Brits put on their kettles. The surge in electricity demand is so great that back-up power stations are put on standby to ensure the grid doesn’t go down.

The culprit isn’t that nation’s penchant for following soap operas with a spot of tea, but rather inefficient kettles, made worse by natural human behaviour.

We all waste energy filling our kettles beyond what’s needed for teatime. According to the UK Government, cutting this waste could free up enough electricity to power that nation’s streetlights and return £52 million a year in energy savings to British households.

The entrepreneurs at EcoKettle identified this problem as a business opportunity.

While I can’t vouch for the product, EcoKettle is 30% more energy efficient than regular kettles. And its dual-chamber design works with, rather than against, human behaviour. Go ahead, fill the kettle to the brim and then pick how many cups to boil.

EcoKettle makes money aiding a nation of tea drinkers to use less energy. This saves consumers money, helps stabilize the electricity grid and reduces greenhouse gas emissions. A simple example of the solutions economy at work.

Not bad for a simple reinvention of the lowly tea kettle.

In future posts I will explore other simple and not so simple examples of the solutions economy at work.