An ode to the sharing economy

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past four(ish) years you’ll have noticed that consumers have been sharing stuff like never before. In turn we’ve been experiencing new ways of doing pretty much everything in a way that is simple, more fun and frankly more human.

 

And it’s all been made easy thanks to emerging technologies.

 

It’s revolutionised our everyday lives and had a massive impact to the way we get around, eat, go on holiday and even make our money, and in the UK we’re engaging with it more than any other country in Europe.

 

So hearing of the FT’s Sharing Economy Summit, held last week, we felt it pertinent Clarity attend. Not only was our client VizEat’s CEO and co-founder Jean-Michel Petit speaking under the category of ‘the next big sharer’ but we wanted to find out more about the current sharing economy trends and what we can expect from the future – both for businesses and consumers. Plus, we heard they had biscuits.

 

Speaking alongside VizEat were brands OLIO, Appear [here] and Propoly. Between the four companies, propositions ranged from disrupting how retailers engage retail spaces, matching those who want food with those that have it to reduce food waste, introducing tenants to landlords with smarts and speed, and connecting dinner party hosts from all over the world with travellers and people who simply want to eat and meet new people.

 

The sharing economy facilitates like-minded meetings, whether that’s to engage for, swap or sell goods or services. The philosophy behind the movement is to remove all things corporate and centres brands around the people using the services themselves. It also helps the ‘little people’ make the most of what they’ve got, whether that’s micro-letting their homes when they’re on holiday, hosting a dinner party which allows them to do what they love and earn some cash at the same time, or sharing their car to help pay for the cost of petrol. Essentially it is the human economy, connecting people from all over the world like never before with the end game being to make people’s lives more enjoyable, easier and at times, more profitable.

 

Technology is often stigmatised with making communities and relationships grow further apart, moving us away from meaningful or ‘real’ connections. But the sharing economy has shown the contrary, connecting strangers to have more than meaningful connections, facilitating generous and often extraordinary moments with outsiders.

 

The FT Sharing Economy Summit has given me a taste of what is budding and I for one am excited to see where and how it grows.

 

@lucyhastilow

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