A series of highlights from Emerge 2015 by University of Oxford Students. 

By Sara Cocomazzi

AirBnB, BlaBlaCar, Taskrabbit. Do any of those names sound familiar? I’m talking about new ways of sharing, consuming and owning our possessions. As resources become increasingly limited, we are required to optimise consumption if we want to be sustainable in the long run. The main question is how to create value from existing assets? The Collaborative Economy is the answer.

AirBnB is a peer-to-peer accommodation marketplace, BlaBlaCar is a ride-sharing network and Taskrabbit is a network of trusted people in your community to outsource household errands and skilled tasks. Those are some of the most successful examples of the Collaborative Economy.

Rachel Botsman – Global Expert on the Collaborative Economy spoke at Emerge 2015. During her Masterclass session on “The Collaborative Economy”, Rachel explained the three critical ingredients of the Collaborative Economy:

  1. Build critical mass: in order to do so, your service should be searchable and sizeable, be supplied in a creative way which provides a value-added experience to customers who access the network, be peer-led, and offer a limited number of options to ease the selection process.
  2. Build communities: to build a successful community it is important to deeply understand the needs of the different groups in your community; clearly define your core value so that your members will develop a strong sense of identification; and finally to empower your community so that members feel ownership and reward. AirBnB is an excellent example of belonging to a wider community of like-minded people.
  3. Build trust: there has been a paradigm shift in trust, moving from institutional to peers. Trust can be defined as the relationship with the unknown, it is to give your community credibility and sustainability in the long run. Trust can imply different meaning depending on the culture. Online ratings and reviews are very important in building trust within a community.

This is what Rachel explained during her Masterclass at Emerge 2015. As she said, “the Collaborative Economy is not a technological trend. It is a transformational lens on the future of value and trust.” She thinks there is a great potential of development for the Collaborative Economy in social sectors like health, food and learning. So, watch this space!