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.

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.

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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!

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