Collaborative Economy Roundup for the Week of November 23, 2015


As the United States prepares to celebrate Thanksgiving this week, the team at Structure3C is thankful for another great week of growth and development in the #CollaborativeEconomy. We also have some exciting news to share: Bill Johnston (Founder of Structure3C) was nominated in the first cohort of Fellows for the Life Reimagined Institute. Read the full news release here.

1.   “Uber Is Not the Future of Work” via The Atlantic – “The rise of Uber has convinced many pundits, economists, and policymakers that freelancing via digital platforms is becoming increasingly important to Americans’ livelihood.” –

2. “How Segment Models Growth for Two-Sided Marketplaces” via Segment – “Marketplaces are awesome because, without them, buyers and sellers face complex, risky, and time-consuming transactions.” –

3. “Airbnb Banishes NY Superhosts” via rented. – “Airbnb “superhosts” awoke on November 12th to news that their listings had been removed and all of their future reservations had been cancelled.” –

4. “How to Start Using the Sharing Economy for Your Events” via Successful Meetings – “Because they’re convenient and affordable, service like Airbnb and Uber are growing more popular by the day.” –

5. “How to Market Collaborative Consumption Businesses” via Business 2 Community – “Collaborative consumption gives people the temporary benefits of ownership while reducing personal burden and, in many cases, lowering environmental impact. –

6. “A sharing economy for governance? 3 ingredients for sustainable cities” via GreenBiz – “When governments consult cities in the development of national policies and openly work with them to localize legislation, it creates a sharing economy for governance.” –

7. “There’s a simple step Airbnb and Uber can take to make the sharing economy safer” via Quartz – “A regulatory system developed over decades oversees hotel companies, taxi services and retailers, attempting to protect the health, safety and security of the people who use those services. But these rules and regulations largely do not apply in the sharing economy.” –

8. “Is the Gig Economy Good for Workers?” via Triple Pundit – “The growth of freelance, contract, consulting and gig workers in recent years has caused policy makers to re-evaluate how workers and wages are counted in state and national employment figures.” –

9. “Why Digital Marketing Should Join the Sharing Economy” via Marketing Land – “At its core, the sharing economy is about fostering collaboration to turn underutilized resources into new revenue streams.” –

10. “Uber’s chief adviser on benefits of the sharing economy” via CNBC – “Part of our challenge is to sit down with the government and explain what’s on the other side of this.” –

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Collaborative Economy Roundup for the Week of November 16, 2015

Collaborative Economy Roundup

With the horrible events of last week in Paris, Beirut, Israel and Kenya on my mind as we start the work week, I want to encourage everyone to think of ways to use connected technologies to bring us together instead of pulling us apart (as the extreme elements want). I wish you all a peaceful and productive week.

See something we missed? Email us, we’d love to hear from you.

3 Reads To Start Your Week

The Best of Last Week

1.   “Is the Sharing Economy a Retail Disruptor?” via eMarketer – “The sharing economy has emerged over the past decade to revolutionize travel and transportation. Is a similar disruption coming to retail?” –

2.  “Zipcar’s Co-Founder Weighs In on the Sharing Economy” via Bloomberg Business- “I think it’s one sub set of a much larger movement of platforms and people that are really reinventing the way we build businesses.” –

3. “Future of the Global Workplace: The Growth of the Sharing Economy” via Radius – “Simple in concept, the sharing economy is also disruptive and has the potential to change the nature of work and careers.” –

4. “We Need a Social Economy, Not a Hyper-Financialized Plantation Economy” via Charles Hugh Smith  – “What we need is a social economy, an economy that recognizes purposes and values beyond maximizing private gains by any means necessary, which is the sole goal of hyper-financialized economies.” –

5. “Be Your Own Boss” via Industry Leaders – “This economy isn’t a trend; it’s a new way of working.” –

6. “Airbnb is trying to resuscitate its image as the ‘nice guys’ of the sharing economy” via Fusion – “Airbnb, the company pledged, would share anonymized data on hosts and guests with cities, take steps to prevent illegal hotels from existing on the platform, and pay its ‘fair share’ of hotel and tourist taxes in cities that require it to.” –

7. “The sharing economy is people fueled and cloud powered” via Dell – “While many companies within the sharing economy—also called the collaborative economy—are just coming into their own, they’re actually not new.” –

8. “Why I’m All For The Sharing Economy” via Odyssey – “The most profoundly positive aspect that the sharing economy has is its benefits for consumers.” –

9. “How the Sharing Economy Can Create Value from Waste” via The World Post – “We as a global society are beginning to pause and question before discarding something that might be of value to someone, no matter how remote or disconnected.” –

10. “Secrets of the Sharing Economy” via BusinessMatters – “New research suggests that far from being the preserve of the millennial, the Sharing Economy is being more readily embraced by older consumers, with 35-44 year-olds emerging as its most vocal supporters.” –

Don’t forget to register for our Collaborative Economy Kickstart Workshop. Space is limited, so get your tickets today:

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Collaborative Economy Roundup for the Week Ending November 6th


This week saw 2 major events in public policy & politics related to the Collaborative Economy: The defeat of Prop F, which sought to limit the rights of AirBNB hosts and the SEC approving an expanded set of rules for equity crowdfunding. See something we missed? Email us, we’d love to hear from you.

1.  “Housing and Homeless Activists Storm and Occupy Airbnb HQ” via SF Weekly – “A day before San Francisco voters will decide whether to regulate ‘home-sharing’ more strictly, the activists sought to show the short-term rental company what ‘sharing’ is all about.” – 

2. “After S.F. ballot victory, Airbnb to create global army of political supporters” via Upstart Business Journal – “Airbnb’s $8.5 million campaign against Proposition F may have won it a victory in a battle over short-term home rental restrictions in San Francisco, but the tech company isn’t slowing down its political efforts any time soon.” AirBNB will “start 100 home-sharing clubs across the United States and internationally, creating an army of supporters to take on future political battles.”

3. “Announcing a New Online Workshop: The Collaborative Economy Kickstart” via Structure3C – “In 2.5 hours, participants will get a briefing on the Collaborative Economy, a facilitated exercise to guide ideation and action planning and 30 minutes of group coaching to begin their journey in the Collaborative Economy.” –

4. “The SEC Just Approved Rules Opening Up Equity Crowdfunding to the General Public In a 3-1 Vote” via Entrepreneur – “With the passing of this new set of rules, entrepreneurs can sell pieces of their companies to anyone who has the interest and cash to do so.” –

5. “How Platform Coops Can Beat Death Stars Like Uber to Create a Real Sharing Economy” via Shareable – “It might be the most important economic decision we ever make, but most of us don’t even know we have a choice.” –

6. “How the Sharing Economy Can Improve Your Next Business Trip” via Harvard Business Review – “If you want to use on-demand apps to squeeze every last minute of value out of your travel, you can and should make them part of your trip from the moment you start planning.” –

7. “How Developing Nations Can Leapfrog Developed Countries with the Sharing Economy” via The World Post – “A recent study by Zogby Analytics found that 54 percent of millennials are attracted to the notion of sharing goods, services and experiences in Collaborative Commons.” –

8. “Being a part of the sharing economy” via the Economic Times – “Meanwhile, cities and countries around the world have had to decide whether to treat sharing companies as innovators or scofflaws.” –

9. “The future of the sharing economy: boom, brand or bust” via Marketing Magazine – “These companies are a response to consumer demand for efficiency, value and convenience and, in the process, are dramatically altering the business models of their industries.” –

10.  “The Sharing Economy Is Booming in Helsinki: Here’s Why” via Truthout – “Helsinki’s sharing scene puts the lie to the widespread misapprehension that the sharing economy comprises only a handful of major for-profit players (Uber, Airbnb), and serves as an example of how local history and culture can positively shape a technology-influence social and economic change.” –

11. “Is The Legal Profession Ready For The Sharing Economy?” via Above the Law – “While in many ways the emerging sharing economy represents an entirely new way of doing business that is disrupting the old order, sharing economy companies still rely on the age-old concept of trust to promote transactions between actors.” –

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Announcing a New Online Workshop: The Collaborative Economy Kickstart

Every organization in the world is being impacted by the Collaborative Economy in some way. Smart organizations are engaging now by addressing emerging threats and identifying business opportunities.

I created the Collaborative Economy Kickstart as a companion to our longer-form workshops. In 2.5 hours, participants will get a briefing on the Collaborative Economy, a facilitated exercise to guide ideation and action planning and 30 minutes of group coaching to begin their journey in the Collaborative Economy.

Register (and get more info) by clicking on the “Get Tickets” button below.
Collaborative Economy Kickstart

The purpose of the Collaborative Economy Kickstart Workshop is to help Executives quickly understand how the Collaborative Economy will impact their business, and what new business and product opportunities the Collaborative Economy represents.

In the first hour Participants will be given an overview of the Collaborative Economy, including:

  • The key elements of the Collaborative Economy;
  • The three C’s of a Crowd-powered business: Crowd, Community and Collaborative Organization;
  • Case studies and examples of Crowd-powered businesses;
  • A method for identifying opportunities for, and threats to, a Participant’s business;
  • A framework for developing a Crowd-powered business model.

During the second hour Participants will then be guided through an Ideation & Action Planning exercise that helps them:

  • Explore the dimensions of the Collaborative Economy that are relevant to their business and market;
  • Assess the biggest threats and opportunities;
  • Learn to do an asset inventory;
  • Explore opportunities via the Ideation Canvas tool;
  • Create an action plan to more forward immediately after the session.

The workshop will end with 30 minutes of group coaching to explore topics that have surfaced during the overview and action planning sessions.

Participants will leave the session with a better understanding of the Collaborative Economy, an action plan draft and exclusive templates to use within their organization to kickstart their Collaborative Economy journey.

Collaborative Economy Roundup for the Week Ending October 30

Your Weekly
#‎CollabEcon Roundup for the Week Ending October 30
We hope everyone is geared up for an extra #spooky Halloween weekend. Uber’s latest valuation and funding round might be scary (actually, terrifying!) We’ll get you up to speed on this week’s best #CollabEcon articles. Just settle in with some trick or treat goodies and read the best the web has to offer this week:

1.  “Can the Commission collaborate on the collaborative economy?” via Science|Business – “At a Brussels news conference, top EU officials had different perspectives on taxi-sharing and other aspects of the ‘sharing’ economy.” –

2.  “Developing the Sharing Economy” via Economy Watch – “For any policy in this area to be effective, it needs to grapple with and challenge some underlying assumptions about the ‘sharing economy’ and its associated rhetoric.” –

3. “Interview with Uber: Creating a Frictionless Experience That Spawned A Generation of Copycats” via PSFK – “The Uber experience has also impacted consumer expectations across industries: if people can call a driver, organize a ride within minutes and pay for their trip at the tap of a button, why shouldn’t all service brands apply this same methodology?” –

4. “Today’s sharing economy will shape our future” via The Daily Northwestern – “This recent unprecedented rise in the so-called ‘sharing economy’ is not just defining our careers, but also actively reshaping our daily lives and even our mental approach toward consumption.” –

5. “Following Uber’s Success, Copycats Rush To Carve Out Niches” via NewsFactor – “Uber has become a hip shorthand for efficient transportation and seamless commerce, a digital darling that turns your smartphone into a matchmaker between you and your ride home.” –

6. “FIR Interview: Jeremiah Owyang On Competing In The Collaborative Economy” via FIR Podcast Network – “The collaborative (or sharing) economy is heating up, with dramatic increases in both the number of startups that employ the model and the number of consumers who use them.” –

7. “A Revolt Is Coming for Cloud Labor” via The WorldPost – “We are on the cusp of a revolution in the way work and labor are done.” –

8.  “A worldwide paradigm shift from ‘sharing’ to ‘collaborative’ economy?” via LabGov– “Most importantly, it’s only if and when each and all of us gets directly involved in such a process that we together can make a difference – suggesting a more than necessary shift toward a more participatory and collaborative economy.” –

9.  “The Sharing Economy Doesn’t Need to Be Full of Monopolies” via The Atlantic – “Without checks on their power from consumers, these billion-dollar companies are beholden only to government regulation—and even then, sometimes they shrug that off.” –

10. “Corporate Travel Managers Don’t Trust the Sharing Economy” via Skift – “It’s shocking that more corporate travel managers haven’t embraced mobile technology and the sharing economy as ways to reduce costs and gain more accurate data on the habits of their clients.” –

Bonus: Bill spoke at Crowdsourcing Week Europe last week in Brussels (the conference was amazing). Presentations from all the sessions have been uploaded here. Do yourself a favor and spend some time with these slides!

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Communities in the Crowd Economy: #CSWEurope15

image credit: Xavier Damman @xdamman

This week I am participating in Crowdsourcing Week Europe 2015 in Brussels. The conference has an amazing range of speakers from both the public and private sector sharing their ideas about, and experiences from, the Crowd Economy.

My session focused on the critical role of Communities in the Crowd / Collaborative Economy, and covered:

  • Why 20th century businesses aren’t adapting to 21st century realities;
  • Why we need a fundamentally new and more expansive approach to building online communities in our evolving global economy;
  • Emerging opportunities for businesses to create and exchange new forms of value with their communities and in the process, become more sustainable.

Key points detailed below:

  1. Networked Companies Thrive
  2. Connected Customers Create More Value
  3. A Lens on the Collaborative (Crowd) Economy
  4. Crowd, Communities & Collaborative Organization
  5. An Example of a Market Network

1. Networked Companies Thrive
In a recent article from Harvard Business Review, a study between Deloitte and a team of independent researchers examined 40 years of S&P 500 data to examine how business models have evolved with emerging technologies. The study had 3 key findings, including the emergence of a distinct new business model of “Network Orchestrator”. As defined by the study:

Network Orchestrators. These companies create a network of peers in which the participants interact and share in the value creation. They may sell products or services, build relationships, share advice, give reviews, collaborate, co-create and more. Examples include eBay, Red Hat, and Visa, Uber, Tripadvisor, and Alibaba.

Network Orchestrators outperform their peers on revenue and profitability.

2. Connected Customers Create More Value
The 1:1 relationship between a company and a customer is increasingly perishable. The customer is blessed by an abundance of choice in the market, and increasingly (especially for technology) the lifespan of a relationship can last only days, weeks or months — not years. As an example: most software companies are moving from a perpetual license to term-based licensing that can be as short as 24 hours. Creating a great customer experience and minimizing churn are key. One key strategy is to develop customer communities where customers connect to people in the business (as hosts) as well as other customers and prospects (as peers). This creates a network of many to many connections, where bonds strengthen over time and value is exchanged in the form of knowledge, content, advice and help. These communities translate into real value for the customer and for the host business. When I led communities at Autodesk, we found that community members were more loyal and more likely to recommend than non-members. We also were able to quantify cost savings from our support community to be several million dollars. When I led communities at Dell, we discovered our IdeaStorm community members spent 50% more than non-members, and members’ purchase frequency was 33% higher than non-members. Community member ideas from IdeaStorm created $100’s of millions of dollars in revenue in the period between 2007–2011.

3. A Lens on the Collaborative (Crowd) Economy
My POV on the Collaborative Economy is that it is a set of trends, movements and technologies reshaping how we make, market, discover and use products and services. It was born out of the global financial crisis of 2008, enabled by global communications networks and digital technologies, and powered by people. I would also assert that Collaborative Economy initiatives should be focused on sustainable methods and equitable outcomes for all stakeholders.

The purpose of defining, identifying and studying the collaborative economy is to understand how business models need to evolve to thrive in this new economic context. Based on my experience building online communities and collaborative experiences, as well as research I’ve conducted, I’m convinced that a new and comprehensive approach to online communities is the way forward.

An approach where:

  • What we thought of as “social” is really the networked marketplace
  • Your market is synonymous with your crowd
  • Online communities build lasting relationships amongst your customers, prospects, employees and partners and
  • Collaboration looks like a partnership with customers, not an internal social network no one really uses.

There are two great resources I would recommend to see the range of sectors and technologies that make up the Collaborative Economy:
Collaborative Economy Honeycomb – via Jeremiah Owyang / Crowd Companies
The 14 Parts of The Crowd Economy– via Sean Moffitt / CSW2

4. Crowd, Communities & Collaborative Organization
In order to begin exploring business opportunities in the collaborative economy, businesses need to shift their mindset to think about markets as networks. Their total addressable market(s), connected via platforms & social networks.

There are three important contexts to think about in the Network Marketplace:

  • Crowd: A group within a Market Network that has:
    • A shared interest or goal
    • The ability and assets to participate in a shared marketplace, task or activity via common platforms
  • Community A connected & hosted group within a Market Network that has:
    • 1 or more shared interests or goals, leading to shared identity & purpose
    • The ability, motivation and assets to work towards a common purpose over time
    • A host with intention to support & manage community over time
  • Collaborative Organization Collaboration amongst organizations, partners and customers essentially functioning as one organization:
    • Shared IP & Common resources
    • Shared vision of activities and outcomes
    • Shared risks and equitable outcomes

These contexts are not mutually exclusive, meaning, a Collaborative Economy initiative could engage a crowd, community and a collaborative organization context.

Screenshot 2015-10-21 09.45.54

5. An Example of a Market Network
As a thought exercise, I chose Levi’s as a brand to explore opportunities with. Please note: this is not client work.

The three key opportunities I see for Levi’s:
Hosting a peer to peer marketplace where customers can sell / trade used and custom goods, possibly partnering or including listings from external marketplaces.
2. Extending their innovation function online (think a more modern IdeaStorm for apparel), as well as partnering with other communities to develop specific crowdsourcing and challenge initiatives. An example would be partnering with on a smart apparel.
3. Hosting their global fan and denim connoisseur community, while continuing to develop great content on their Unzipped blog. The community feeds all digital activity.

Example of a Market Network

Crowd Market Network Example of “Market as a Network”

My slide deck from my Crowdsourcing Week session:

The Net-net:
Networked companies are more valuable and resilient. Connected customers are more valuable to companies. To create long-term growth in a sustainable way, companies need to evolve their business models to address the “networked marketplace”. A new approach to online communities can provide a path for business model transformation.

Next Steps: I have developed a worksheet, based on my business model innovation workshop, to help businesses begin to explore new Crowd / Collaborative Economy initiatives. Please email me for the worksheet or to discuss participating in a facilitated workshop.

Structure3C Worksheet

New Industry Report: The New Rules of the Collaborative Economy

Jeremiah Owyang of Crowd Companies and Vision Critical have released a follow up report to their 2014 Sharing is the new Buying. In the 2015 report, The New Rules of the Collaborative Economy, over 50,000 people across the US and Canada were surveyed on their attitude towards, and use of, the collaborative economy. There are many clear signals in the report that the Collaborative Economy has shifted from early adopters and is now entering the mainstream. The report indicates that by 2017, 80% of americans will be participate in the Collaborative Economy in some way.

Three key levers were identified that established companies can use to engage in the market that is beginning to be dominated with rising sharing sites: price, brand and convenience.

Key Stats from the Report:

  • The report estimates that by 2017 eight in 10 Americans will participate in the collaborative economy.
  • Financial savings is one of the top drivers of the collaborative economy with 82% of sharing transactions partially motivated by price.
  • 70% of people in the overall population who initially choose the sharing option would consider buying instead, if the buying option were less expensive. A 25% savings would make traditional purchasers consider moving their business to the collaborative economy.
  • The opportunity for big brands is to use price as a lever to retain or win customers in the collaborative economy by creating peer-to-peer marketplaces, allowing customers to purchase and sell pre-owned goods from established brands, or developing offerings that help people maximize the financial benefits of sharing, such as rental models.
  • Established brands are well-positioned to offer greater value to providers in the collaborative economy, of whom barely 60% were “very” or “extremely” happy with their latest transaction. Established brands can thereby attract more providers – and use their brand power to attract more buyers, too.
  • More than a third of traditional buyers will consider home sharing or pre-owned home furnishings if it comes with certification from a reputable brand.
  • The role of brand in the collaborative economy presents an opportunity for large brands to take advantage by marketing on trust or partnering with sharing services to leverage their brand.
  • 78% of sharers indicated that convenience is the most popular reason for using shared services.
  • Across all age groups, about a third of would-be buyers are swayed to consider sharing services if they offer conveniences like next-day delivery or a concierge to provide advice.
  • Convenience is a factor that established brands can compete on, with value-added services that create efficiencies, on-demand access to products and services, mobile apps, and even the sale of locally-sourced and crafted products.
  • Technologies that underpin the collaborative economy decouple convenience from location to an unprecedented degree, yet we found that the desire for local goods was more powerful in driving sharers to buy than in driving buyers to share. As sharing services grow, they will become disassociated with local communities and traditional businesses may be in a better position to provide the convenience of local goods that appeal to community-minded sharers.

The infographic below shares other highlights from the report.

This is a critical read for anyone doing, or planning to do business in the Collaborative Economy. My only criticism (and hopefully an area of coverage in the next wave) is that the report really doesn’t touch on the emerging role of Customer as Creator (Maker) and the value creation that is happening between customers and companies when customers help create the product vs. just sharing goods and assets.

You can download the full report here:

If you are interested in more information about how brands are evolving to engage in the Collaborative Economy, I would also suggest:
Brands & The Collaborative Economy Report Preview (Structure3C)