Author Archive

the sharing economy at No.10 ..

February 1, 2014


Ecomodo at No 10

Meriel & Tracy, Co-founders of Ecomodo at No.10 Downing Street

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Recognising the rise of the ‘sharing economy’ over the past few years and a future where people sharing skills and resources being more social and more efficient, we were recently invited to No. 10, Downing Street for a working session to investigate the evolving needs of the sector and examine what obstacles the UK Government can help to remove to support growth.

Hosted by Daniel Korski, the Prime Minister’s Special Adviser, as well as colleagues from the Cabinet Office and Department for Business, this workshop brought together a number of organisations from start-ups like Ecomodo, through to established corporates like M&S, for roundtable discussions focused around specific themes: transport, task-based sharing, accommodation, exchange of assets and platforms for enabling business.

And in the true spirit of collaborative consumption, No.10’s neighbour popped in to deliver the opening address.

George Osbourne MP and Chancellor of the Exchequer, described us all as insurgences, bringing in new business models to break things down in new ways. As it’s usually big industries that know how to lobby government, so we need to know what the problems are within this sector. He gave the example of peer-to-peer money lending that is working within a heavily legislated area. From which he stated that there is a need to make sure we’re not stopping innovation because of legislation.

Our roundtable was focused on the ‘exchange of assets’ and the output from the discussion fell into 6 key areas: Cultural Change, Taxation, Regulation, Insurance, Promotion and endorsement and a voice for the sector.

PostItsAtNo10

The conversation touched on ways to encourage businesses and the public to start to change their behaviour through tax credits and allowances, trust marks for individuals (like a more accessible DBA).

We also discussed steps the government could take to reduce the barriers for these new business models. These included clarity around ownership and liability, a more flexible insurance industry structure to reduce the need for costly multiparty arrangements and more flexible copyright laws to allow IP rights owners new income streams from short-term use micropayments (like the music industry has already).

We also talked about the ways this industry’s needs can stay represented in an environment where the traditional businesses have the loudest voice. Ensuring policy and regulatory decisions are made with attention to the triple bottom line (social, environmental and financial). This might include steps such as banning some goods from landfill to encourage reuse and recycling markets. Formalising this in the same way that business reporting is changing was suggested.

Finally, we commented on ways the sharing economy could be supported by government at a local level and integrated with public service. Though we are a horizontal sector and need a voice as such, the sharing economy needs to be considered and integrated within vertical markets (eg: transport) to have impact.

Feedback from the other roundtables also focused on: tax, reviews of legal definitions, insurance and how to integrate with public sector. From specific markets a review of planning law was suggested alongside how to integrate with public transport and the use of open source data (such as DVLA).

Transparency of data brought up an interested point with regard to tax implications, with the nature of the sharing economy neither focusing on personal and work but being a blend of the two.

An interesting solution to manage tax was proposed that simply expanded the personal allowance from ‘room rental’ already captured on a tax form to enable the rental of anything. This simple idea would build endorsement for the sector and enable people to adopt this behaviour without tax concerns making it easier for people employed and living on benefits alike.

Overall, the participants felt it is important that the market is left open to innovation and that it is allowed to evolve naturally. This means creating an environment that is accessible for businesses of all size, and not constrained by legacy laws and procedures.

The session was wrapped up by an address from Lord David Young, who describes himself as a serial entrepreneur. He commented on a new procurement system – Contract Finder – that should level the playing field between large and small businesses by housing every single public sector contract across the UK in one place and enable a simple one-off capture of an organisations details.

To end, Lord David Young remarked that enterprise is not about business it’s about an attitude to life. I think the same can be very much said about the “sharing economy”

ViewFromNo10

Downing Street

We’d like to say a huge thanks to Benita Matofska from The People Who Share for her support in organising this event and to all the participants for making it an very interesting discussion.

The Sharing Economy Explained.  A video from Number10gov

Photos from the event on Flickr

our first open innovation skills sharing evening ..

December 6, 2013

AgeUKPilotKnitting

Learning to knit whilst fundraising for Age UK Bromley & Greenwich

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Guest blog by Kim Day  from Age UK

Over the past 18 months, Age UK has been part of the Nesta Open Innovation Programme working to develop our first Open Innovation product. Along the way it has been a journey of trials and tribulations. We have challenged our way of thinking. We have had to relook at our initial ideas and go back to the drawing board on more than one occasion.

Through all of this we have worked hard with our Open Innovation Coach Kim and Nesta’s Alice Casey to explore different options. We have also developed partnerships with Ecomodo and Age UK Bromley and Greenwich to create our Age UK Bromley and Greenwich Wealth of Experience circle. From all this hard work and amazing partnerships we were able to host our first Open Innovation skills sharing evening!

Last Thursday one of our Age UK volunteers taught two supporters to knit for the first time. The evening was hosted in a local restaurant where food and drink was shared. Our new knitters were quite excited to learn came armed with lots of patterns, needles and wool. Their ambition and excitement almost got the better of them and was agreed we would start with a simple cat blanket and simpler jumper. The group have agreed to meet our Age UK volunteer over the course of the next few weeks to help the projects progress.

The Age UK supporters were thrilled to be part of the Age UK Bromley and Greenwich Wealth of Experience knowing that while they are learning to knit they are also able to help an older person. They found out about the programme through the Ecomodo site and are looking forward to try other skills sharing activities. They are also eager to become volunteers to help an older person in their community either through the skills sharing platform or their local Age UK.

This is the first of many Open Innovation skills sharing projects that we hope to showcase over the next few months.

wealth of experience ..

October 15, 2013

AgeUKPilot2

Over the last nine months we have been working in partnership with Age UK to look at ways to raise donations for the charity while reducing isolation in old age. The work to date has been focused around testing the idea, exploring options and uncovering barriers specifically in relation to supporting vulnerable people.

Focusing around the sharing of time and skills and in alliance with Age UK Bromley and Greenwich, a pilot scheme has just been launched across the borough. The ‘Wealth of Experience’ pilot puts local residents who need a task doing in touch with Age UK Bromley and Greenwich timebank volunteers who can do it, in return for a suggested donation.

By utilising existing volunteers to offer their services through Ecomodo not only enables them to fundraise for Age UK Greenwich and Bromley but delivers extra peace of mind to vulnerable people who need help as each of their volunteers have been previously vetted.

To bring together all of their volunteers within Ecomodo, Age UK Bromley and Greenwich created a ‘Wealth of Experience’ lending circle that only vetted volunteers can join, enabling people to browse their offers in one place. As Age UK Bromley and Greenwich is one of ecomodo’s good causes, any of our lenders can choose them as a charity to fundraise for but only vetted individuals will be able to join their circle.

If you live in the area of Bromley & Greenwich are are interested in utilising your skills and becoming a vetted volunteer please contact Age UK Bromley and Greenwich to set up a vetting meeting.

Alternatively, feel free to list items on Ecomodo and select Age UK Bromley and Greenwich as your chosen good cause. If you’re not sure what to lend? Click here to Get inspired.

This project has been funding by the Cabinet Office, through Nesta’s Open Innovation programme.

Sharing boom challenges business ..

August 22, 2013

Reuters

The internet is enabling a shift in consumer habits through the rise of the sharing economy and the websites that host renting out your spare room or lending a power drill to complete strangers are giving big companies a run for their money. Reuter’s journalist, Joanne Nicholson talks to some helping make it happen.

View Video with commentary from: Rachel Botsman, author of What’s Mine Is Yours;  Tracy Currer, co-founder of Ecomodo and starring Alex, one of ecomodo’s lovely members. Thanks Alex 🙂

Reuters_EcomodoMemberAlex

image: Alex, ecomodo member with his hedge cutter

be the start of a nation that shares ..

May 29, 2013

wePartOfStart

#DAY 29: We are so proud to be part of Be the Start and today is Ecomodo day! From lovely people at Start Be the Start is a campaign that celebrates living well & doing good by encouraging each of us to start something amazing this May 2013.  Over the past month we have been collecting a whole bunch of items (with little stories) to spark your imagination around what you can share on ecomodo.com.

Celebrate today and start sharing! Follow these 3 simple steps to be the start of a nation that shares ..

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1. Sign up .. it’s free to join!

Once registered we will keep you updated of new items to borrow and wanted ads near you. And choose to create a lending circle for your ‘hood.

2. Add items to lend to inspire others to share

Using Ecomodo.com you can choose to lend your items for free, for a fee to keep yourself or to donate your earnings to charity. Opt for deposits & insurance for extra peace of mind. Not sure what to lend? Get inspired

3. Tell a friend ..

Invite your friends, neighbours & work colleagues to join ecomodo. And if you’re having a Big Lunch this Sunday .. invite your fellow lunchers too!

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A bit about .. be the start!

With the help of an army of businesses and organisations across the country (M&S, Waitrose, B&Q and Ecomodo to name but a few), Be the Start is all about celebrating how living sustainably is a extremely meaningful and rewarding way to live. The aim is to help every single person in the UK discover how we can each make a unique and important contribution to a more sustainable and all-round lovelier Britain.

Check out Start’s Pinterest boards for a wealth of ideas about how to live sustainably. Be the start you want to see in the world!

living green ..

April 19, 2013

The Williams family living in Stanford in the Vale are one of the 150 pioneering households that have transformed their old house into an eco home through the SuperHomes project. As part of their shift to live more sustainably they are using Ecomodo to share all sorts of items and inspiring neighbours and local community groups to do the same through a number of lending circles they have set up.

The family recently hosted their first SuperHome Open Day and we wanted to share their video with you as its chock-a-block full of great eco features around their home and information. Enjoy!

sharing our prized possessions ..

April 4, 2013

InspireTimesLogo

“As Leonard Nimoy famously quoted: “The miracle is this – the more we share, the more we have”. Through the kind act of lending and borrowing, we can enrich our communities; creating strong friendships within neighbourhoods and a greater sense of self worth ..” Read on

This opening paragraph is the start of a fantastic article written about Ecomodo by the lovely people at Inspired Times. Inspired Times is an uplifting magazine magazine that explores the latest environmental issues and initiatives and celebrates holistic living.

It’s well worth a look so check out the rest of their Spring 2013 issue.

tackling confidence in peer-to-peer lending ..

January 30, 2013

Marke2ingLogo

Recently, we were interviewed by Marke2ing, a strategic marketing company that specialises in bringing growth to ambitious businesses that do good and help others do good. Amongst many other things, they are extremely interested in the whole area of collaborative consumption and it’s potential to be the next disruptive innovation.

Check out our interview here > Ecomodo – tackling the confidence issue in peer-to-peer goods.

we’re partnering with Age UK ..

December 19, 2012

AgeUKAndEcomodo

Nesta recently run an Open Innovation programme for charities to find new ways to overcome major challenges within their sector. Through the Cabinet Office’s Innovation in Giving Fund, managed by Nesta, we had the opportunity to meet with a number of these charities and explore ways to collaborate.

Through the process we spoke to Age UK, who were very interested in the potential of working with ecomodo on a sharing platform that raises donations while reducing isolation in old age. And we are delighted to recently hear that Age UK was one of the 10 charities accepted to go forward.

Working together, the idea is to build on Ecomodo’s existing platform and for Age UK to explore new business model based on skills-sharing whilst encouraging older people to actively engage in society.

Paul Farthing, fundraising director at Age UK, says: “By working with Ecomodo, we believe we have found a way to bring these two challenges together, and generate an income stream that could be a long-term, sustainable platform for Age UK to fund its services.”

We are incredibly excited by this opportunity to work alongside one of the biggest charities in the UK. This mutually beneficial partnership can help us deliver the scale we need to drive impact whilst enabling Age UK to deliver on their mission and fundraise in a new way.

With Age UK, we will be exploring two models: a white label option branded as an Age UK and an integrated model where Age-UK offers would appear alongside others charities; to see which is most effective.

For the project, Age UK has been awarded £120,000 from Nesta to support technical development, salary contributions for key staff at Age UK and Ecomodo and market research.

londoners love sharing ..

November 14, 2012

Today is the first ever Global Sharing Day and to mark this historic occasion we are celebrating all of our members and especially those that live throughout London.

Amongst members using Ecomodo across the UK, 30% live within the Greater London area. Every borough in London has people using Ecomodo to share their everyday goods, skills and spaces with others nearby. As well as borrowing locally, Londoners are using Ecomodo to borrow further afield, across the UK,  to gain access to the things they need whilst on holiday, including kayaks, tents, travel cots and pushchairs.

Moving from 2nd place in 2011, Hackney has knocked Lambeth off the top spot and takes the ‘sharing’ crown for 2012 with Islington moving up a massive 3 places to 3rd position. Check out our graphic to see where your borough ranks and get wee taster of some of great items to borrow around London. Help your borough rise in the ranks and sign up for free to Ecomodo today.

.. And see what items you can borrow across London.

About Global Sharing Day ..

Kick-started by The People Who Share, Global Sharing Day has 160 partners and a network of 61 million+ and spans no less than 147 countries. It will see people and organisations across the world coming together to share in all sorts of different ways especially between  1-2pm on 14th November. There are lots of ways to get involved! Follow #GlobalSharingDay on Twitter to keep updated.


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