Posts Tagged ‘Sharing’

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ECONOMIC RECOVERY PART THREE

June 4, 2013

Although I made note of these encouraging signs, it took the arrival of the Summer Issue of “thirty two”  for me to understand that a transformation was indeed happening.  A featured article, “The Next New Economy” by Jessica Conrad began with this:

If there has ever been such a thing as a silver lining to the economic crisis, it may be this:  As we dig ourselves out of the recession, we are also building the stepping stones for a new economic paradigm, where trust is the new currency and sharing is more attractive than ownership.  Jessica Conrad explores the rise of a global phenomenon in the Twin Cities.

To set the stage, Conrad described two new sharable phenomenons  in Minneapolis-both of which I am familiar with, use and support:  Nice Ride bikes and HOURCAR.  Conrad thinks the fact that Avis  purchased  a similar service, ZIPCAR,  shows that the rental car industry recognizes the viability of car sharing.   People want the sharing option.  In fact, a national consumer study commissioned by Campbell Mithun found that 60% of respondents find the concept of sharing appealing; and 71% who already use “sharable” goods expect to continue.

And with that, my interest peaked, I read on to learn more:

The sharing economy leverages the power of on line social networks and smartphones to provide a new way for old business models to thrive…people all over are sharing, lending, trading, bartering, and swapping goods  via peer-to-peer exchanges instead of owning them.  And in doing so, we have created a cultural shift that builds trust among strangers….”And it’s an economic revolution where access has become more important, and more fashionable, than ownership” 

You are not convinced yet?  Think Time-shares and Netflex!.  As I continued to read, I was reminded of more examples….SOFIA,  an online platform for social education….The Mayo Clinic  as a pioneer in social education and I also  learned  about a whole new list of national and international examples that have been experimenting with this concept. 

I added Rachel Botsman’s TED Talk on “The Rise of Collaborative Consumption” to my to-do list, and learned of a new service in Minneapolis: “Heroic” -an online platform for free recommendations. I enjoyed the author’s take on CoCo being driven by not only a tough economy, but also a more ecologically minded population and a desire for stronger community.  A creative city-making concept I learned when I participated in Plan It Hennepin was mentioned as part of the Starling Project on University/Central Corridor Light Rail; I was happy to read that appealing to owners of vacant properties  to consider short-term leases  for artists and others  is working not only on Hennepin Avenue and in Whittier Neighborhood, but has now been applied to spaces on the Central Corridor.

Familiar with some of the examples given, it was easy for me to see this as a growing trend; however, I took note when Conrad tied the trend to both community creation and the creation of staggering wealth.  “Forbes actually estimates that people will earn more than $3.5 billion this year through the sharing economy, with growth exceeding 25 percent.” 

That is a significant contribution!  Add to that, a declining supply of natural resources and an exploding population, and I concur with Conrad that it is more important than ever “to find new solutions for curbing the waste inherent in modern consumerism.”

There is much more “food for thought” put forth in the article as it continued.  Check it out-more details at www.thirty-two.com.  Perhaps, like me, you will concur with the author’s closing remarks:  “It’s encouraging to see entrepreneurs embrace the new model and drive innovation because they…believe that we can’t afford not to try.”