Posts Tagged ‘localism’

collaborative consumption – a new market ?

October 26, 2010


Collaborative consumption is a fledgling market traversing many sectors from transport, retail and banking to name a few.

At an event at Nesta last week, Rachel Botsman talked about her upcoming book “What’s mine is yours” and described collaborative consumption as falling into 3 distinct groups.

Product service systems Paying for the use of a product as opposed to owning it. (Streetcar, Whipcar, Barclays Cycle Hire, Liftshare, GoCarShare, Lovefilm, Whipbikes, ecomodo)

Redistribution markets redistributing used and pre-owned goods to someone who wants them (Freegle, Ebay, Big Wardrobe, JumbleAid, Lourish, Gumtree, Swishing)

Collaborative lifestyles The sharing swapping and bartering of time, space, skills and money (Zopa, Crashpadder, Landshare, Sponsume, ecomodo)

She outlined why the time is ripe for a market in sharing to flourish and illustrated 4 distinct trends:

  • Pressing unresolved environmental concerns
  • Global recession that has fundamentally shocked consumer behaviour
  • A renewed belief in the importance of community
  • A torrent of social technologies that enables scalability of services

Three years ago we also anticipated the convergence of these trends and they were one of the triggers that started us on our journey to build Ecomodo.

Understanding that the growth of social activity on the web would continue and act as an enabler, we realised we needed to find alternative ways to inspire and motivate people to change their behaviour.

Through user-centered research we indentified: the growing focus towards the environment; the increase in social values; and a move towards austerity appearing across different sectors within local communities. We choose to use these trends as an approach for a motivational model. From here, we developed the notion of lending for free, a fee or for charity as a way to reach diverse groups that can live geographically very close within our cities, towns and villages.

Other key topics from the talk were on the importance of brand and trust. Brand plays a critical role in the adoption of collaborative consumption services. Brand is the reason “hotels do not call themselves places for ‘bed sharing'”. Brand can provide trust through transparency and dialogue as well as weed of bad behaviour.

Interesting quotes from the talk.

6 of of 10 people in the UK do not know their neighbours names

80% of the things we own get used less than once a month

29 million cars in the UK sit not used for 23 hours of the day

See the Full video of the event at Nesta.

Further reading: Kevin Kelly (Wired Magazine) “Access is better than ownership

what’s hiding in David Cameron’s closet ?

May 19, 2010

With number 10 signing up to 10:10 and the introduction of Big Society the Government is committing to a green agenda and people power. They acknowledge that grass roots initiatives and social enterprises can make the greatest difference.  One recently launched social enterprise which facilitates community based, person to person lending and borrowing of objects spaces and skills via a website is the perfect example of this. Regardless of their means, people are gaining access to tools and equipment to enrich their lives and get jobs done, and all with less environmental impact. is gaining momentum fast and is looking for everyone in the UK to lend out the things they seldom use.

So David Cameron, we ask “What’s hiding in your closet? Something more useful than an old pair of Gordon’s socks we hope”.

Bringing together a new way to green your life and your community, this social enterprise is set to take the UK by storm by providing a real alternative to our consumptive lifestyles without having to give things up. The brainchild of two London born women, simply lets people reuse and lend out their assets to other people around them. People can lend and borrow anything from gardening or DIY tools, stuff for the kids or things for a holiday. They can save money by not having to buy, which is great if you are only going to use it once.

As Britain is a nation of hoarders with households sitting on £31 billion of goods they never use – an average of £581 per person (Gumtree survey | Daily Telegraph) there is certainly no shortage of stuff for everyone to reuse. Using Ecomodo any local community, neighbourhood, school or workplace, can pool their hoards for the common good. So far items around the UK range from lawn mowers to prams, bicycles, DV cameras and even an iPad.

“We are gaining momentum” says Tracy Currer, co-founder of Ecomodo. “We already have 35 lending circles across the UK from Exmouth to Macclesfield and London to Glasgow. We hope to see many more Brits opening up their sheds, attics and cupboards for others to use, making cash for themselves, donating to a charity or local PTA or lending for free. We need to get more stuff online to show borrowers that we are a real alternative to shopping.”

Unfortunately, lending and borrowing does not have a great reputation. The team have designed Ecomodo carefully to drive confidence. ”We listened to all the concerns people had and designed the site accordingly. Lenders can choose to lend to everyone or just people in their circles, to take a deposit or insurance and we help people through the whole transaction, letting both parties leave feedback when they are done”.

So what seldom used stuff would David Cameron lend out to help his community and the environment? After all, he won’t have much time for hobbies or DIY anymore.

image borrowed: robertsharp’s photostream | FLICKR | Creative Commons

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