The Performance Economy

  • Speakers:
  • Walter Stahel

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The Disruptive Innovation Festival is an online festival of ideas that asks the question: what if we could redesign everything? During the DIF, we’ll be asking our speakers to tell us what they think is in store for the future of the economy. While watching you can chip in with your thoughts and questions: sign up for a free My DIF account and ask your question through the discussion forum below the live stream!

The industrial economy could be described as wasteful - it rewards the extraction of finite materials and generates large quantities of waste at the end of life. In other words, it’s about throughput and ignores the use of goods.

Digital technologies and new business models are opening up the possibility of an economy based on the idea of stock optimisation. What if people or firms paid for the performance of goods and then handed them back when they no longer needed them? There is growing evidence that this is a smart route to take, generating positive returns for society, for the environment and for the economy.

Watch Walter Stahel explain more in this video.


This video is one of a series of three. Look out for A Flow of Wealth or a Wealth of Flows? with Ken Webster, and A Good Disruption with Martin Stuchtey.


Walter Stahel

Walter Stahel

Walter Stahel founded the Product-Life Institute, Europe’s oldest sustainability-based consultancy, in 1982. His seminal 1976 research report to the European Commission in Brussels ‘The Potential for Substituting Manpower for Energy’, written with Genevieve Reday, sketched the vision of an economy in loops (or circular economy) and its impact on job creation, economic competitiveness, resource savings and waste prevention.

Currently, he is a visiting professor at the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences at the University of Surrey, UK and works as independent researcher.

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