Sharing economy is a gold mine for creative folks

February 8, 2014

Described by many as “collaborative consumption”, shared economy is revolutionizing consumption, cost saving, re-inventing community spirit and is quickening entrepreneurship and conservation to mention a few. But this is not an industry for everyone. Only the creative minds are making it and the rest are just wannabes. Research has shown that shared economy industries are more likely to introduce original new product innovations than firms in other sectors of the economy. Also, workers in shared economy largely play a significant greater role in innovation. In addition to that, urban areas especially matter in channeling the contributions of creative workers into actual innovations and multiple studies have confirmed that cities play an important role in the innovative capacities of creative workers, who play an important role in introducing new processes from other firms and industries. The “collaborative economy” is the next phase of social business that will sweep across the world in the next couple of years as it has already done in western world. An economic expert working at a Berlin firm whom I sought views few days ago told me that shared economy is economic model where ownership and access are shared between corporations, people and start-ups.

According to him, people can get what they need from each other, instead of getting it from corporations. For example in Berlin where he lives, residents are making their own goods and products, and selling or giving it to each other, a trend that has unlocked core skills that all humans in Berlin used to have, but not using technology to learn, share, and distribute beyond physical borders. The impact it has had to opportunity markets all across Germany has offered Berliners new ways to generate income, share what’s valuable, and reduce their dependency on others a model that he told me is being replicated in other cities. In the developing world especially Latin America, Africa and Asia, my prediction is that it will be easy to see this kind of community sharing happening in rural areas rather than in cities as has been the case in western world. For example what would stop a resident of Mbarara in Uganda lending his Ankole cows to a Maasai from Tanzania as a shared animal for breeding? The fact is that those who choose to be neutrals in shared economy are risking being driven out of business because customers want to connect with each other and this will apply in politics as well. A good example is where politicians risk seeing citizens voting by moving to boondocks that promote shared economies. The shared economy has proved to be much better when it comes to generating the kinds of innovations that underpin job creation and economic growth that comes from creative workers in cities. It makes sense to create and sustain a creative industry that invites innovation for a sustainable economy.

Contador Harrison