An interesting TEDtalk I’ve come across —Rachel Botsman on the “new” internet-enabled sharing and swapping business models that she is labeling “Collaborative Consumption”. In this 16 minute TEDtalk from Sydney Australia in 2010 Rachel presents her views on why this trend is an emerging reality that will have a profound impact over the next decades as our current “buy-centric” consumption model evolves into more of a “rental” market.While I personally believe that our “buy” consumption model represents the status-quo that most of the retail industry strongly wants to keep firmly in place, the “rental” model will continue to grow on the fringes and with particular market segments.
In my own case, faced with repairing an old motorboat that I bought for a few bucks from a friend who was “upgrading” their boat, I am reminded that what I really wanted was access to a working boat the few hours on any given weekend I am up at the cottage. Instead, what the “market” offered was ownership (and ongoing maintenance) of another asset which — at best — is going to get very limited use in my hands. We have been socialized to “buy” first rather than consider (and spend precious research time investigating available options) some other alternative of a rental, swap, or sharing model.
In Rachel’s talk, she identifies 3 different “collaborative consumption” models for consideration:
1. redistribution market — taken a used or pre-owned item and redistribute it to somewhere/someone that wants it.
2. collaborative lifestyles — (matching money, skills, and/or time gaps) example of matching up people with spare plot of land with someone who wants to grow/garden
3. product-service system — example of renting out little used assets (cars, drills, etc.) for broader community use
In Rachel’s words, “…collaborative consumption as a new social currency that will become every bit as important as our credit rating is today.”