Collaborative Economy

Collaborative Economy As A Critical Component Of Business Strategy

As hype continues over the dangers and impermanence of the collaborative economy, it has been interesting to see major corporate behemoths get in the ring.

As 2016 unfolds, news about companies ranging from Ford to Boeing placing sharing as a critical component of business strategy as opposed to passing gimmick or fad, has been rampant.

What’s even more interesting however is noting how the very principles of sharing propelling our economy today have been used throughout history by business visionaries. Used by true innovators who understood that coming together for the greater good was always an effective way to disrupt the status quo with an eye toward creating a better tomorrow.

As Tech Crunch recently reported, DHL, a bastion of global shipping, started when they offered people free airline tickets in return for courier services. This model was based on innovation centered around collaboration, and is a testament to the endurance of business strategies centered upon the collective we over the singular me.

This sharing idea launched a global shipping giant and introduced the idea of containerization to the world. Not so different than what sharing economy leader Nimber is doing today, four decades later, with further reimagined courier modeling.

The history of DHL is also a testament to the power of how disruptive collaborative centered models have the power to actually skirt the inherent power of monopolies. In the case with DHL, the postal system.

Isn’t it therefore ironic that sharing economy opposers continue to cite insurmountable regulation hurdles as reasons to why the new economy must be stopped, when in essence the core of collaborative consumption is at it’s heart a mechanism for taking the power out of the hands of the few and placing it in the hands of the many? DHL was born from a disruption designed to circumvent failed regulation: postal monopoly anyone?

Clearly the world is taking note of this irony with not just big business but everyone from students at the University of Virginia, (http://www.cavalierdaily.com/article/2016/02/doyle-dont-overregulate-sharing-economy) to governments as far flung as Australia and Japan (http://www.wsj.com/articles/japan-slowly-opens-the-door-to-the-sharing-economy-1455008405) pushing for relaxed regulatory mandates that work to put in place necessary guardrails, while not diminishing the awesome potential good our new collaborative economy can proffer.

Innovation vs. regulation is a titanic struggle as old as David vs. Goliath. Hopefully this round will go to the collective WE with a world where unfettered innovation centered around sharing is the right of anyone willing to be a contender.

Billee Howard is Founder + Chief Engagement Officer of Brandthropologie, a cutting edge communications consulting firm specializing in helping organizations and individuals to produce innovative, creative and passionate dialogues with target communities, consumers and employees, while blazing a trail toward new models of artful, responsible, and sustainable business success. Billee is a veteran communications executive in brand development, trend forecasting, strategic media relations, and C-suite executive positioning. She has a book dedicated to the study of the sharing economy called WeCommerce released in December 2015 as well as a blog entitled the #HouseofWe dedicated to curating the trends driving our economy forward. You can read more about “WE-Commerce: How to Create, Collaborate, and Succeed in the Sharing Economy” right here!

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Sharing Economy

Part 3: Collaborative Consumption Not Just for StartUps Any Longer

On the heels of major announcements by auto sector giants GM and Ford getting into the sharing economy game with GM investing $500 million in Lyft and Ford announcing a shared leasing model, the aerospace sector followed suit today with Airbus announcing a new partnership with Uber.

The new Airbus partnership with sharing economy unicorn Uber is part of an experiment that would allow Uber users to hail copters, as well as other forms of transportation.

The recently-formed Airbus Ventures will operate with $150 million commitment to “identify and invest in the most visionary entrepreneurs in the global aerospace ecosystem,” Airbus said in a release.

This new tie up will allow Airbus to provide on-demand transportation service using its H125 and H130 helicopters. According to Airbus, the partnership will help carve out “a new business model for helicopter operators to access a broader customer base.”

With this news, it is clear that the sharing economy is no longer a blip or fad, but rather a pervasive economic engine that is here to stay. And one that is at the front lines of business innovation and disruption.

As the line between sharing economy companies and traditional businesses continues to blur, it is likely that collaborative consumption will continue to move away from being compartmentalized and toward a center of business strategy and innovation. This will be similar to the evolution we saw with technology and digital strategies over the last decade, and what we are also currently seeing with the new purposeful business movement.

With a clear footprint into traditional industries ranging from transportation to lodging to aerospace, retail and auto, 2016 seems poised to be the year WE-Commerce explodes as the visceral shift from the singular me to the collective we evolves into a powerful new economic paradigm.

Billee Howard is Founder + Chief Engagement Officer of Brandthropologie, a cutting edge communications consulting firm specializing in helping organizations and individuals to produce innovative, creative and passionate dialogues with target communities, consumers and employees, while blazing a trail toward new models of artful, responsible, and sustainable business success. Billee is a veteran communications executive in brand development, trend forecasting, strategic media relations, and C-suite executive positioning. She has a book dedicated to the study of the sharing economy called WeCommerce due out in Fall 2015 as well as a blog entitled the #HouseofWe dedicated to curating the trends driving our economy forward. You can read more about “WE-Commerce: How to Create, Collaborate, and Succeed in the Sharing Economy” right here!

Wecommerce book Sharing Economy

 

Part 2: Collaborative Consumption Not Just for StartUps Any Longer

Perhaps the biggest shift in the sharing economy we can expect to see in 2016 is a push from traditional economy companies and governments to get involved in the age of collaborative consumption.

Last week’s $500 million GM Lyft news is followed this week by a huge announcement from Ford about their future plans in the realm of shared vehicles. Ford has developed a new leasing program that will allow “self-organized groups” of three to six individuals to group-lease Ford vehicles. It’s called Ford Credit Link and it will be available at three Austin, Texas Ford dealers beginning in February.

Showing further momentum of the blurring line between the old and new economy is Patagonia working with sharing economy Yerdle to find homes for used goods and GE collaborating  with start up Quirky to reimagine the process of invention. Hyatt’s massive investment in Airbnb competitor onefinestay and Absolut’s local distillery program round out this trend as I have mentioned in earlier posts.

What’s most interesting perhaps is how more innovative and open minded government leaders and entities are looking to embrace the new economy instead of railing against it. We have seen positive sentiment from leaders like Republican Presidential candidate Ted Cruz who has gone as far as to say we need an Uber X type of model for our government, but what is even more interesting is today’s announcement by the Governor of Arizona to transform the state into the ultimate partner to business in the sharing economy.

In his state of the state address this morning Governor Doug Ducey had this to say: “Arizona should be to the Sharing Economy, what Texas is to Oil and what Silicon Valley used to be to the tech industry.” Ducey laid out an aggressive vision of reform sure to appeal to sharing economy entrepreneurs and consumers alike. He called for an end to the current occupational licensing regime that stifles healthy competition. Ducey also called for Sky Harbor airport to lift the current ban on Uber and Lyft at the airport and introduced a Governor’s Council on the Sharing Ecomomy. http://azgovernor.gov/governor/news/2016/01/governors-council-sharing-economy

The new group has its own executive order which cites a PwC study forecasting the sharing economy as a $335 billion entity by 2025, along with a list of goals designed to make Arizona more competitive in the realm of innovation.

All this news and its only January 16! For those who continue to say the age of collaborative consumption is just a blip or fad, think again. I can’t wait to see what exciting disruptions the 2016 will bring. Perhaps a chocolate in my peanut butter moment for innovation and regulation is on our horizon after all.

sharing economy

Billee Howard is Founder + Chief Engagement Officer of Brandthropologie, a cutting edge communications consulting firm specializing in helping organizations and individuals to produce innovative, creative and passionate dialogues with target communities, consumers and employees, while blazing a trail toward new models of artful, responsible, and sustainable business success. Billee is a veteran communications executive in brand development, trend forecasting, strategic media relations, and C-suite executive positioning. She has a book dedicated to the study of the sharing economy called WeCommerce due out in Fall 2015 as well as a blog entitled the #HouseofWe dedicated to curating the trends driving our economy forward. You can read more about “WE-Commerce: How to Create, Collaborate, and Succeed in the Sharing Economy” right here!

Wecommerce book Sharing Economy

Collaborative Consumption Not Just for StartUps Any Longer

Part 1: Collaborative Consumption Not Just for StartUps Any Longer

As we enter 2016, it seems clear that the much talked about age of collaborative consumption is most definitely not a blip or fad, but rather a new economic paradigm with far reaching tentacles.

We see the economy’s power and imprint everywhere from the stages of CES this week at a global conference once focused solely on electronic gadgetry, to the campaign trail where candidates are tripping over themselves to develop platforms around the topic that will increase their poll numbers.

What’s most interesting to me however is the impact the sharing economy is having on traditional businesses. The latest shift we are seeing is with large market leading giants becoming smart enough to recognize that the new economy is a perfect testament to the old adage “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.”

A great example is this week’s GM announcement of a $500 million dollar investment into Lyft. The partnership will help the start up to develop autonomous vehicles which will definitely be a boon to the future of ride sharing models, as will the spate of short-term rental hubs the new alliance will aim to create. http://mobile.nytimes.com/2016/01/05/technology/gm-invests-in-lyft.html?referer=

The GM news follows a flurry of other announcements highlighting how big business is getting into the sharing economy game. Other notable deals include the massive investment by Hyatt into Airbnb competitor onefinestay and Absolut’s new local distillery program.

While it’s clear that the line between traditional and sharing economy companies is blurring, what seems to be in question is whether keeping an uber niche focus or pushing into larger conglomerate service type structures is preferred.

With companies like Uber branching off from just transportation to everything from food delivery to courier services, the question that lies ahead is how to create scale, while still remaining small enough in focus to achieve the levels of agility and innovation required to compete in today’s ultra competitive marketplace.

I for one believe that the too big to fail mentality most definitely applies here. As we move further and further from the hubris that drove the 2008 meltdown, we must not forget the Jobsian wisdom that pioneered our new world order. Be good at one thing and do that one thing better than anyone else.

Collaborative Consumption Not Just for StartUps Any Longer

With sharing economy “purists” popping up in places like Berlin with initiatives like borrowing shops, shared refrigerators, and community gardens on the rise, it seems clear that maintaining a crystallized definition of what collaborative consumption is and is not, and what the critical factors are for success vs. failure, will be essential to ascertaining the potential and longevity of our We-Commerce world. http://www.irishtimes.com/news/consumer/berlin-s-sharing-economy-a-glimpse-of-the-future-1.2475033

The Lyft GM news seems like a step in the right direction. Two transportation innovators coming together with a rifle shot vision to imagine the future transformation of the sector. Let’s hope that other leading sharing economy companies retain their humility and keep their focus so we don’t harken back to the days of the late 1990s tech boom and find ourselves in another pets.com type of bubble.

Billee Howard is Founder + Chief Engagement Officer of Brandthropologie, a cutting edge communications consulting firm specializing in helping organizations and individuals to produce innovative, creative and passionate dialogues with target communities, consumers and employees, while blazing a trail toward new models of artful, responsible, and sustainable business success. Billee is a veteran communications executive in brand development, trend forecasting, strategic media relations, and C-suite executive positioning. She has a book dedicated to the study of the sharing economy called WeCommerce due out in Fall 2015 as well as a blog entitled the #HouseofWe dedicated to curating the trends driving our economy forward. You can read more about “WE-Commerce: How to Create, Collaborate, and Succeed in the Sharing Economy” right here!

Wecommerce book Sharing Economy

Sharing Economy Luxury

Sharing Economy: Up Next Luxury & Market Incumbent Challengers

As the sharing economy continues to democratize the ability to enjoy many of life’s finer things through the notion of sharing as opposed to ownership, the luxury market is slowly stepping onto the scene.

Whether it is Boatbound or Blade, high-end offerings like yacht and helicopter travel are being offered to an increasingly global audience that has a rapacious hunger for luxury goods.

While new start ups that tap into this trend are smart and likely to succeed by meeting growing demand for high end offerings by the first ever global middle class, it will be the former incumbent brands who harness this trend that arrive as tomorrow’s top innovators.

Hyatt is among the best examples of this new paradigm having launched onefinestay to compete head to head with Airbnb. The company just received $40 million in financing and is rapidly growing in London, New York, Paris and Los Angeles and boasts a larger inventory than the Ritz, the Plaza, George V and Hotel Bel Air combined.

Wyndham has continued this trend with a recent $12 million investment into Love Home Swap, another platform that connects luxury homeowners with affluent travelers seeking unique and one-of-a-kind travel experiences.

Both of these examples are terrific harbingers of what’s hopefully to come-which is market incumbents disrupting and reinventing in ways that guide us toward a period of never before seen innovation across industry.

I for one hope these new trends both in sharing economy luxury expansion, and incumbents battling against, not bawling, about new competition only continue. The power of We-Commerce has only just begun….and it will be super exciting to see if the new weconomy possesses the magic to not only harness sharing, but also make what was once old new again.

Sharing Economy Quote

 

Billee Howard is Founder + Chief Engagement Officer of Brandthropologie, a cutting edge communications consulting firm specializing in helping organizations and individuals to produce innovative, creative and passionate dialogues with target communities, consumers and employees, while blazing a trail toward new models of artful, responsible, and sustainable business success. Billee is a veteran communications executive in brand development, trend forecasting, strategic media relations, and C-suite executive positioning. She has a book dedicated to the study of the sharing economy called WeCommerce due out in Fall 2015 as well as a blog entitled the #HouseofWe dedicated to curating the trends driving our economy forward. You can read more about “WE-Commerce: How to Create, Collaborate, and Succeed in the Sharing Economy” right here!