The Sharing Economy

The sharing economy you have been hearing about has a range of meanings.  A variety of definitions for this term exist.  it includes the gig economy, the on-demand economy, the collaborative economy, and a great deal else.  Jeremiah Owyang, The Crowd Companies founder, has noted that participation in the collaborative economy – which nearly doubled between 2013 and 2014 – is only going to keep growing.

It’s not the idea of sharing that’s new.  What’s different now is technology that allows people and organizations to connect in new and more immediate ways.  The sharing economy is thriving!  We use ride sharing services (Uber, Lyft).  BMW’s DriveNow is a car rental service that lets its users access a car when and where it is needed, paying for use.  There are city-wide bike sharing programs, and car-pool programs like Carticipate.  Sharing your home to travelers dates back to early man, and this is common once again through online room sharing services (Airbnb).  There are online services for swapping things and skills, or to connect individual buyers and sellers of products (Ebay) and services (Upworks).

A blog post by Jeremiah Owyang, the founder of Crowd Companies, describes the three points that make up the fundamentals of the sharing economy:

1. Activating idle resources for usage, therefore reducing waste.

2. A paradigm of access versus ownership, therefore reducing ownership as people get what they need on-demand.

3. Using technology to find these idle resources, then accessing the internet of things, mobile devices, social networks, online marketplaces, digital reputations, and online payment systems.

It isn’t just a consumer phenomenon. Sharing is cheaper, often easier and can have ecological benefits when there is a longer product life cycle before something is tossed.

Sharing equipment, sharing results, sharing knowledge and even sharing customers will all be part of the same movement. Think about how much more you can accomplish if you are not tying up funds in lots of physical assets! You would have much more available for R & D.

What if Hallmark and AT&T and Dell had figured out how to share customers on Mother’s Day? What if you shared/exchanged employees– loaned some engineers in exchange for some programmers for 6 months? How can you achieve your goals faster by sharing with others? Challenge your organization to define one area to experiment with sharing.

And share your creativity with us!

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