Platform Driven Companies Prove We-Conomy Impact

This month’s Harvard Business Review focuses on the rise of businesses of all sizes using platforms instead of mere products to drive company growth.

As the debate continues over the real “sharing” behind the sharing economy, the new platform strategy boom may provide real insight into the undeniable impact that collaborative economy businesses are having on the broader global economic landscape.

As major companies like GE and Microsoft work to transform and grow in size and scale by switching to platform business models instead of product centric or pipeline driven ones, the impact of the WE-Conomy becomes evident.

Platform businesses that bring together producers and consumers as Uber and Airbnb do are capturing increased market share and transforming how competitive edge is achieved. Yesterday it was through product differentiation. Today it is through scale and impact.

With the iOT Predix GE platform for instance, the same ecosystem concept built around the marriage of technology and knowledge or service sharing that drives many collaborative economy models can be seen.

As GE works to go back to its industrial roots, it is using their new Predix platform to shape and define the future of the Industrial Internet. The platform, which falls under GE Digital, is being built to sit at the “intersection of people, machines, big data and analytics.” This new area of GE, recently launched as part of the company’s massive transformation, is expected to bring the company $6 billion alone in 2016.

Microsoft is also using a platform instead of product approach in its huge redesign of its Outlook email program by bringing together outside partners like PayPal, Uber, Evernote and Yelp! to create not just a winning email product, but winning email ecosystem.

According to HBR “With a platform model, the critical asset is the community and resources of its members. The focus of strategy shifts from controlling resources to orchestrating them, from optimizing internal resources, to facilitating external interactions and from increasing customer value to optimizing ecosystem value.

Doesn’t all this new innovation sound a lot like the collaborative economy? Creating ecosystems built off of technology platforms to unite people around shared ideas and the accomplishment of specific goals?

There is no doubt that sharing economy pioneers like Uber are responsible for the new platform driven thinking that is sweeping the “traditional” business landscape.

With new models of success being predicated on a company’s ability to create platform driven models, the massive impact of the collaborative economy becomes more and more visceral. Companies ranging from John Deere to Nike are quickly scrambling to get in the game.

As the Harvard Business Review describes it “A platform model provides the rules and infrastructure for a marketplace that brings together producers and consumers. The players in the ecosystem fill four major roles (producers, consumers, providers and owners) but may shift rapidly from one role to another.”

It seems clear that future success is going to be driven by those wise enough to harness the power of collaboration to build winning ecosystems that drive innovation, disruption and industry leadership.

sharing economy

After all, wasn’t a switch to a platform model by Apple in its second chapter which took it from computer maker to world’s leading lifestyle technology company? While hard to recall, before Steve Jobs made the shift in 2007, Apple had less than 4% of the desktop market and zero percent in mobile phones. It was only when he built his ecosystem model based off of simply connecting app providers and app users that the company’s path to world domination began.

While the comparisons between huge platform companies like GE and Microsoft and smaller collaborative economy players like TaskRabbit and Postmates may possess a few disparities, the undeniable fact is that an age of doing it for the we instead of the singular me is most definitely at the heart of the future of business.

Welcome to a world where it will be collaborative driven platforms not mere products that determine victory. Hail the new age of We-Commerce.

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!

sharing economy

We-Commerce Pushes Past Just Uber & Airbnb

The sharing economy, or model of peer to peer borrowing and lending, shows no sign of abating anytime soon and in fact continues to demonstrate its mettle as not only economic engine but bedrock of the future of society.

No longer can skeptics and the ill informed just point to Airbnb and Uber to describe the collaborative groundswell shaking up our world as disruptions continue to shake out across industry and region. With companies like Didi Chuxing (China) and Ola (India), valued now at over $1 billion the sharing economy is clearly a powerful economic force and global reality.

Among the latest phenomena is the Library of all Things model. Within this school of thought, the sharing economy will include “Tools, rides, homes sports and camping equipment, board games, and children’s toys, in the same way libraries free you from the burden of owning your own books,” says Lawrence Alvarez, co-founder of The Toronto Tool Library.

Alvarez, who is crowdfunding to launch The Sharing Depot, Canada’s first Library of Things which will offer all the above and more, strongly believes the sharing economy is set to become completely embedded in society.

And he is not alone as noted here in past blogs in the form of global research from various think tanks and leading consulting firms on the topic, in my book We-Commerce, and in the spate of traditional economy announcements in the space just this year alone. (I.e. GM $500 million in Lyft, Ford new leasing models and autonomous car push)

As the world continues to palpably shift from the me to the we, it will become rapidly apparent that the collaborative economy is no longer just about cheap and innovative rides and lodging, but rather a harbinger of the type of globally and digitally connected world we can all look forward to ahead.

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!

Sharing Economy Wins Big In India

Sharing Economy Wins Big In India

The collaborative economy continues its aggressive global push with a plethora of news out of India last week, the latest international market to aggressively pursue sharing focused innovations to solve modern day problems.

Following suit of Ford’s announcement at Mobile Congress, the country seems riveted on leveraging sharing economy disruptions to abate its excessive traffic congestion issues. Last week alone Ola a leading ride share app spent $200 million to acquire competitor TaxiForSure, and Ubermoto a new motorbike sharing service arrived on the scene.

India is looking to abate their traffic issues with motorcycles with Ubermoto which launched in Bangalore last week. Ola, followed suit with a similar service announcement.

In a press release, Uber described uberMOTO as “another step to help cut congestion in Bangalore by getting people out of cars when they don’t need to use them, and by encouraging motorbike drivers to share their ride. … By using today’s transportation infrastructure more efficiently, Uber’s technology can help the government of Karnataka cut traffic and congestion at no extra cost to taxpayers.”

Bengaluru-based PoolCircle launched in April last year with a mission to take a million cars off the roads—“by enabling four people to ride in each car, instead of just one”, says Raghu Ramanujam, founder-CEO of the carpooling/ride-sharing network. “It’s been an exciting journey since then. We have around 4,000 users, largely in Bangalore, with nearly 40% of them being active. We have about 3,000 carpools offered/looking for on our platform on a daily basis,” he adds.

As 2016 continues to unfold, it seems clear that India is poised to be a major sharing economy player. With the government providing better access to credit through financial market reform and market incentives to attract talented staff and flexible contracting laws, key enabling factors stemming from governmental intervention and relaxed regulation will play a key role in the future success of the sharing economy in the region.

“As long as we deliver value to end users and are able to win customer affection, regulations are never going to be a challenge. Regulations will evolve. At the end of the day, sharing economy drives huge benefits not only from the economic point of view, but also from environmental and social points of view,” Ramanujam, said.

With sharing central to India’s culture as a whole, the country seems poised to be among the world’s leaders in collaborative consumption. Perhaps the country can set a model on the need to have regulation keep pace with innovation as our new and exciting world of we takes flight.

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!

Wecommerce book Sharing Economy

cc: Ford

Mobile World Congress: Sharing Economy As A Platform For Long Term Growth

Between the Ford news at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona introducing an entirely autonomous vehicle called the Kuga SUV to better compete in the sharing economy and Tech Republic writing a feature on the new “time banking” movement which is putting peer to peer sharing at the heart of communities worldwide, it seems clear that the age of collaborative consumption shows no signs of abating any time soon as it continues to achieve a global footprint.

Don Butler, Ford’s executive director of connected vehicle and services, told the AP in reference to the Kuga “we like to think about it as the transition from just a hardware company to a software and mobility services company as well.”

“Mobility” as tied to the sharing economy was a major buzzword at the Mobile World Congress show. For Ford customers, it means a wide range of innovations from further integration of the Internet in cars, to ride-sharing and even the use of other modes of transport in conjunction with cars, like bicycles.

With ride-sharing platforms like Uber reshaping driving for many young would-be consumers, Ford is clearly looking to get a piece of the so-called sharing economy.

“Across the world when you see growth of these megacities, with 10 million or more folks, people want mobility solutions, they want options,” said Ford CEO Mark Fields. That can include car-sharing, ride-sharing or the use of multiple modes of transportation linked into one service — such as the use of a train and bike. He said Ford is testing some programs in this field, which he sees as “a big revenue opportunity.” Those projects include car-sharing in London and across Germany. Ford is also working on an experimental e-bikes program that Butler said it could one day mesh with car-sharing.

Further evidence of the weconomy’s growing influence across all aspects of business and society is the global time banking movement. Tech Republic a major media influencer did a profile on the concept this week validating the trend.

Timebanking lets you swap good deeds with neighbors and creates community by making everyone’s time worth the same amount and then swapping the value of those deeds. The phenomenon is exploding in regions across the world. In the US, St. Louis is a hotbed for this type of disruptive innovation. On the Louisville TimeBank Facebook page, a member who has come down with a cold extends a plea for homemade soup. The request is answered in minutes. “Thank you TB family!” she posted. “I’m good to go.” Other posts involve requests for plywood, borrowing a dog crate, offers to donate a propane tank and an old dryer.

Time banking is a global phenomenon that is taking shape from the US to Tokyo with the idea of peer-to-peer collaboration at its core. In fact there is even a time banking global directory. As no one makes a profit with this permutation of the sharing economy, it’s hard for skeptics to sneer at the sharing model when something of this level of authenticity serves as concrete proof of the permanence and long-term viability of collaborative consumption. Throw in one of the world’s leading companies touting the sharing economy as a platform for long term growth at Mobile World Congress and you clearly have not a fad but a phenomenon.

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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innovation sharing economy

WE-Conomy: Regulation Aims To Keep Pace With Innovation in 2016

 

The NSW government followed suit of the state of Arizona today with the release of a wide sweeping plan designed to continue the advancement of the collaborative economy.

http://mobile.abc.net.au/news/2016-01-19/uber-airbnb-kickstarter-the-subject-of-nsw-government-paper/7097690

As detractors continue to harp on regulatory hurdles created by the new economic engine, the NSW government becomes the latest to push back on obstacles created by our new environment with a plan designed to harness its many opportunities.

The new document out of Australia flags a new regulatory framework for services like Airbnb and Uber. It also pinpoints the sharing economy’s value currently at $504 million and is welcomed by parties on both sides of the debate including Airbnb and the Tourism Accommodation of Australia.

Airbnb Australia’s manager Sam McDonagh said the position paper recognized the contribution the share economy made to the state’s economy, including to help grow and diversify tourism. “We think the announcement by the Government today is really great for everyone in NSW and particularly Airbnb hosts, the everyday Australians, the mums and dads who make a small modest income sharing their homes on Airbnb,” he said. He said one of the things Airbnb hears from its hosts is that regulation varies widely around the nation from state to state, to council to council and now there will be a base for a clear national framework.

This uniform approach to regulation could serve as an excellent model to duplicate as regions around the world struggle to close the gap between regulation and innovation as the economy continues to grow at a blistering pace.

Interestingly, the NSW plan aims to highlight the major advantages created by our new economy, things often overlooked by the opposition:

  1. The collaborative economy is creating opportunities for microenterprise and self-employment.
  2. It is providing opportunities for people to earn additional or supplementary income.
  3. An estimated 45,000 people earned income through the collaborative economy in the last 12-month

As 2016 continues to unfold, we can only hope that this type of smart collaboration between the public and private sector continues with an eye on creating a new narrative around the historical struggle between innovation and regulation. To do so, a focus on the collective WE over the singular ME will me most imperative.

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!

Wecommerce book Sharing Economy