Monday, November 15, 2010

You Say Collaborate, I Say Participate

The Participation Economy has been motoring along for some time. People no longer want to be passive recipients of product and services, they want to engage with them as experiences, put their personality and passions into things, and pass on the fun to friends and family.

In their new book What’s Mine is Yours: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption, Rachel Botsman and Roo Rogers bring this idea to life. They focus specifically on the “explosion in sharing, bartering, lending, trading, renting, gifting, and swapping” that is going on in our economy.

Their examples are spot on. Just look at the car sharing service Zipcar. Instead of each person buying a car, the service enables an entire community to share a fleet of autos, save a little money, and help the environment in the process. The same principle is at work with the bike sharing service Velib as well as the giants of the Participation Economy, Ebay and Craigslist. More than ever, consuming is a collaborative, participatory activity. As they rightly point out, these new ways of consuming not only reduce costs and environmental impact, but they are also a way for people to live more engaged, stimulating lives.

The authors do a good job of identifying some of the causes of this shift as the “convergence of peer-to-peer social networks, a renewed belief in the importance of community, pressing unresolved global environmental concerns, and cost consciousness.”

I’ve described the main undercurrent as a shift from an Attention Economy to a Participation Economy.

Botsman and Rogers see the big shift as:

I like their observation that advertising is dead, and community has taken its place. It’s now about building movements around ideas that people want to participate in, ideas loaded with Mystery, Intimacy, and Sensuality, ideas online, on-screen and in store that answer the question: “How will you improve my life?”


Susan P. said...

Zipcar I've never heard of before and that sounds very interesting. However, I wouldn't put ebay or craigslist (heaven forfend!) in the same category. I mean, if you include ebay, you may as well include St Vinnie's op shops.

Shared access is certainly proving popular for those companies who are renting out luxury and designer gal or guy can rent a designer bag for a weekend for a couple of hundred rather than needing to spend over a thousand to have the actual item. And, of course, rental systems means that some folks are accessing numerous brands and designs rather than just having 'one'.

Javier Tourón Porto said...

Ojalá logremos este cambio... I hope this change is possible. Thanks KR for remember it. The graphics are great, I LOVE it!

Mr. Social said...

Hi KR,

Be it ideas or actions, goods or services, digital or traditional, where there's particpation & collaboration, there's social media aka peer-to-peer people networks!

Here's a post on Social Media Junction 2 (click on my name to read) a 3 day business event in Auckland. Great speaker line-up. Very well attended. Lots of learning.


Innovazionews said...

"they are also a way for people to live more engaged, stimulating lives".

I think that's true, because: Everybody needs some-glory!

rosella recchia

Mike Walsh said...

Thanks Kevin. I'm a few chapters in and am really enjoying the book. I appreciate your insights.