Collaborative consumption and 'doing well by doing good'

Two keynote speakers at Online Information 2011 focused on social and economic transformation - facilitated by new technology.

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Key trends to watch

Trust, reputational capital, community and shared access

In this new world, people are no longer passive consumers but enabled collaborators.  People are using and exchanging all types of asset and service, which in turn enables them to:

Extract value from underutilised assets

People with untended gardens are being matched with locals who want to grow vegetables.  Big cities are rolling out bike sharing scheme.  Peer to peer car sharing sites enable the renting of ‘idle' cars to local people, helping owners tap the value of their underutilised assets.  Travellers are staying in the homes of ‘strangers' they have been matched with via social matching sites. 

And what is more, experience is proving that in almost all cases, people behave well.   It is an extremely rare occurrence for thefts or vandalism to occur.

Access trumps ownership

To Botsman, our relationship with ‘stuff' is changing.  The mood is away from ownership of ‘things' and more to collecting experiences.  

Online to offline

Even big companies must think hard about what it is they do.  How can they take advantage of a growth in collaborative lifestyles?  The megatrend of 'online to offline' is what is really grabbing the attention of venture capitalists right now.  The online world being used to facilitate experiences in the real world. 

Rachel Botsman's website features details of her research and a link to her TED talk.  Her book is available from Amazon.

You can read more about Craig Newmark's new venture, craigconnects here.

Photo courtesy of Aidan Jones via Flickr.

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