Getting Local With the Sharing Economy

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Sharing Economy Commons

How NetSquared Groups Can Imagine a Better Sharing Economy

You’re probably familiar with the idea of the sharing economy. The concept of sharing goods and services isn’t new, but by adding technology the friction between interactions in a sharing marketing has been reduced so much that the sharing economy has been made accessible in radically new ways.

The Sharing Economy has already infiltrated my life. As I was planning my most recent NetSquared Vancouver event I used a nonprofit co-working space as my venue, did my pre-event pickups with the help of a car share service, and ensured my speaker could be heard using a public address system used by several community groups. I suspect that several of you could also say that you are already beneficiaries of the sharing economy.

TechSoup’s Senior Community Manager Lewis Haidt has recently argued that nonprofits need to take a leadership role in creating a better sharing economy.

[T]he use of networked, often mobile, Information Technology to share human goods and services – offers nonprofits new possibilities for innovation and efficiency along with new paradigms to move from scarcity to abundance.

NetSquared, which convenes conversations between the technology and nonprofit communities in more than twenty countries is uniquely placed to initiate a discussion about how the social good sector can build on the ideas of the sharing economy. As Haidt continues:

Local, grassroots nonprofits are best positioned to analyze their community’s needs and unlock Botsman’s “’idling capacity’” of resources–the untapped social, economic, and environmental value of underutilized assets.”

What is most exciting about the Sharing Economy is its embrace of a revitalized public square and a rejuvenated commitment to the social good

Is there an nonprofit in your community who is leading the local sharing economy discussion?
Please mention them in a tweet using the hashtag “#Share2014” and a link to the article.

NetSquared Events
The Sharing Economy is a great theme for a NetSquared event. You probably already have several local organizations who are working in the area who would be great panelists.
Here’s an initial list to help your brainstorm:

  • Coworking offices
  • Maker spaces and 3D printing groups
  • Car share services
  • Tool lending libraries
  • Community gardens
  • Service cooperatives
  • Crowdfunded and Kickerstarted projects
  • Online courses like Khan Academy
  • Room and Home sharing services like AirBNB
  • W3C
  • The Internet Archive
  • Open Data Institute
  • Wikipedia
  • Code for America
  • Kiva and other micro-finance organizations

See our Sharing Economy article on for more example organizations.

Questions for Panel
Once you have found a diverse panel of three to four people, it’s time to ask them some hard questions!

  • How is the Sharing Economy transforming society?
  • What tech innovation is most needed in your community?
  • How has technology helped you grow the sharing economy?
    • If not, what’s needed?
  • What are the barriers to adoption to bringing more people into the Sharing Economy?
  • Where could the Sharing Economy’s “idling capacity” be harnessed?
  • What tools do you need most to match your fellow citizen’s ‘haves’ with others ‘wants’?
  • Are there dangers to an expanded Sharing Economy?
  • Are you ready to build new Sharing Economy start-ups owned by the people?

Let us know if you are planning a Sharing Economy event in your community!

P.S. If you aren’t a NetSquared organizer learn more here and apply. It’s a vibrant community of nonprofit technology activists and leaders holding monthly events in fifty cities across the globe.

Complete Picture Sharing Economy