Strategy & Innovation

Ecosystem integration: electric scooters

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Faced with the rise of electric scooters and the urban challenges they represent, this article delves into the heart of contemporary mobility issues. Between innovative potential and the need for an ecosystemic approach, let's explore together the paths to sustainable and inclusive urban mobility.

An electric scooter story

My first experience on an electric scooter was...memorable. Just imagine: me, clinging to the handlebars as if my life depended on it, so tense that I came off with calf pains, riding so slowly that the seagulls along the Saône looked at me with condescension. As soon as I got my feet back on solid ground, I swore I'd never ride such a thing again.

The unrealized potential of self-service scooters

And yet, I'm saddened by what's been happening recently - the growing restrictions on free-floating scooters, and even their potential banning, as in Paris. It saddens me because I see great potential that may not be realized. And because a great scenario could have been possible, if the business design of this service had been thought through in a more ecosystemic way.

Advantages over traditional modes of transport

Basically, the concept of self-service electric scooters is making a real difference to urban transport, particularly in terms of practicality:

  • Compared with the car, the service avoids traffic jams for the user
  • Compared to bus or public transport, it avoids the crowding problems inherent in rush-hour traffic.
  • Compared to cycling, it minimizes physical effort.

And in any case, the principle of free floating means we don't have to find a parking space or bike, or walk from the metro/bus stop to our destination.

In short, what we call the impact, the difference made for the "transported" user, in terms of practicality, is significant and difficult to question.

Impact on the ecosystem

But electric scooters don't just affect the users they transport. There's a whole ecosystem around this concept, some of which is affected by the scooter.

In the Impact Model developed by Dynergie, the ecosystem is made up of all the players who can be impacted by the innovation, whether they have chosen it or not. More precisely, if you can establish a causal link between an innovation and a consequence, you are a user of the innovation.

As a result, pedestrians who have to zigzag between scooters left abandoned on sidewalks, or even find themselves with unusable sidewalks because of them, are scooter users. The elected officials who receive complaints from these disgruntled pedestrians are users.

Regulatory challenges and impact on innovation

And when scooter operators failed to take this ecosystem into account, the regulatory hammer took over. Anne Hidalgo has launched a referendum to ban the service. The city of Lyon has set up "parking lots" for scooters in certain arrondissements, rendering the free-floating concept obsolete. The city of Marseille has given operators an ultimatum before taking more drastic measures.

The importance of ecosystem design

As a result, the positive impact of this service is being greatly diminished. Whereas, if the entire ecosystem had been taken into account from the outset, and the service had been business-designed in such a way that the benefits for each player in the ecosystem outweighed the costs (in both the financial and non-financial sense, depending on the player), the heyday of the self-service electric scooter would be far from over.

Conclusion: the future of urban mobility and our role

Whether you like the concept or not, that's not the point. Because even I that day, clinging to my scooter handlebars, hoping to get to my destination in one piece, cursing my colleague who had forced me to test this wretched contraption and having a great deal of fun with my situation, found myself admiring the concept's potential for a lasting change in urban mobility.

But when we end up having to create laws to restrict an innovation, it's because the innovation was poorly conceived. And that's always a shame for everyone.

Fortunately for you and your innovations, at Dynergie we're experts in ecosystem design, making your innovation a project that everyone has a stake in seeing succeed. Don't hesitate to contact me if you'd like to find out more!

Léa Bunnens

R&D Director - Doctor - Expert in Business Model innovation

With one foot in research and the other in innovation projects, Léa's main mission is to bring these two worlds closer together. On a daily basis, the projects she helps to bring to fruition enable her to build new methods and tools designed to increase the chances of success for subsequent projects. Her specialty: detecting the right opportunity, building the best possible idea, and offering it the optimal business model.

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