Shareable / Latitude 42: The New Sharing Economy StudyBy Kim Gaskins June 1, 2010
Latitude is a full-service international research consultancy. We work with companies at the forefront of technology, content, and learning. You can learn more about what we offer and how you can work with us here.
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The New Sharing Economy study is closed to participants.
For findings, download the full report here.
Sharing is a means to build community, to distribute (and then re-distribute) the resources we need more efficiently, and to tread more lightly on our environment. Sharing is also a flourishing industry that’s accomplished an incredible amount, but is really just getting started.
Shareable Magazine and Latitude Research are co-launching the first ever (to our knowledge!) comprehensive sharing industry study. We hope to learn how people understand sharing at a time when innovative Web platforms and local communities–new technologies and psychologies–are continually expanding what sharing can mean, connecting people to each other (and people to things) in ever-more intelligent ways. The study will assess individuals’ awareness of current shared offerings, their attitudes about sharing and trust, and their engagement with sharing across a variety of contexts. Participants will be contributing to a relatively new and increasingly important knowledge base. Moreover, they will be playing a critical role in helping to generate new ideas and opportunities for the future of sharing. (Results will be shared on both Shareable.net and life-connected.com in the coming weeks.)
From an early age, we’re conditioned to think of sharing as having limited applications–as an oft-inconvenient social expectation. But something is changing about the world: something significant and pervasive, with seemingly unbounded potential. Advancements in technology (especially mobile and real-time technologies) are enabling new kinds of sharing amongst diverse networks of people, often over broad distances. And a new collective psychology is fizzling up: one which intuitively favors trust over skepticism of others, and one which builds influential communities from the bottom-up.
Today, sharing offers material benefits that can significantly improve the lives of individuals. I can now make money by selling the things I don’t need anymore on eBay (or by renting out items I don’t need all the time on Rentalic) to someone else who does need them. As it happens, I’ve saved the environment from the pollution that goes along with manufacturing more products. (I’ve also probably saved the buyer or renter some money, too.)
Through “possession-on-demand” services like Bag Borrow or Steal (formerly Avelle), I can access luxury or hard-to-find products that might’ve been previously unavailable to me. And I can save money by shedding the high cost of owning and maintaining my own vehicle; instead, I can drive less, walk more, and access a car only when I need one (through Zipcar, RelayRides, and other car-sharing programs).
In addition to physical objects like cars and clothing, it’s possible to share information, money, time, physical spaces–even agriculture–with people I might not already know. I can join a community garden or yard-sharing community to access fresh, local produce, spend time on a relaxing hobby, and make new friends in my community.
When you stop to consider, most things are shareable in one way or another, but what and exactly how we might share isn’t always clear. “It’s true that sharing is a relatively simple concept and a basic part of human life,” explains Janelle Orsi. “What’s new is that people are applying sharing in innovative and far-reaching ways, many of which require complex planning, new ways of thinking and organizing, and new technologies. In short, people are taking sharing to new levels, ranging from relatively simple applications of sharing to community-wide sharing initiatives — and beyond.”
This entry has been cross-posted to Shareable.net.
Latitude is an international research consultancy exploring how Web technologies can enhance human experiences; our people-driven research approach unites generative, media-based methods with robust quantitative analysis to identify future opportunities for Web-based innovation. Latitude’s 42s are a series of open innovation studies covering diverse topics, unified by a common digital thread, which address everyday problems of great personal and societal relevance. Visit life-connected.com for other 42s, or email Neela Sakaria (firstname.lastname@example.org) to learn more about working with Latitude.
About Shareable.net: Shareable is a non-profit online magazine which explores how to design our streets, cities, workplaces, institutions, government, and technology so that people can share lives and resources. They tell this story because they believe that a shareable world might be just want we need to enjoy life to the fullest—and restore the planet in the process.
About Creative Commons: Creative Commons is a nonprofit corporation dedicated to making it easier for people to share and build upon the work of others, consistent with the rules of copyright. They provide free licenses and other legal tools to mark creative work with the freedom the creator wants it to carry, so others can share, remix, use commercially, or any combination thereof. Creative Commons exists entirely because our users, advocates, and supporters contribute to its success.
About Project for Public Spaces: Project for Public Spaces is a nonprofit planning, design and educational organization dedicated to helping people create and sustain public spaces that build stronger communities. They have completed projects in over 2500 communities in 40 countries and all 50 US states. Partnering with public and private organizations, federal, state and municipal agencies, business improvement districts, neighborhood associations and other civic groups, PPS improves communities by fostering successful public spaces.
Header image courtesy of katmere’s flickr, (cc) some rights reserved.
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