Creative Collaboration and the New Share Economy

I’m online at the Verge conference in Washington DC, listening to Lisa Gansky talk about “The Mesh” and how the next Big Thing in business will be, believe it or not, ……sharing.

The Mesh is a business model that generates value and creates a new business ‘ecology’, through the collaborative use of data and social media. This data driven business model is enabled by sensors, which are getting smaller and cheaper, and open access to data used in creative ways. Lisa authored a book titled “The Mesh” in 2010.

While listening to Lisa’s talk, I thought it sounded familiar. In early 2011, I read a Harvard Business Review article by Michael Porter and Mark Kramer “Creating shared value”. Porter and Kramer’s vision of ‘shared value’ is achieved by redefining products, markets, productivity and creating clusters to derive economic value from addressing social problems. The difference between these two concepts is Gansky is more focused on the collaborative use of data and entrepreneurial value. While Porter and Kramer focus on the connection between social and economic goals.

In the search for new business models that support sustainability goals, Gransky, Porter and Kramer have hit on something creative and innovative. Shared value can be service driven value, leveraging data, mobility and the internet age. One’s imagination and creativity becomes the limiting factor for understanding how this concept might apply to your sector or organisation.

Now, back to Lisa’s presentation at the conference. To illustrate The Mesh, Lisa articulately described unused business assets as waste. Recognising a potential opportunity, savvy people have converted unused waste into creative business ideas.

Let’s take car sharing. Did you know that we only use our car 8% of the time? The remaining time it sits unused. Whip Car is a peer to peer model where you can access, for example, your neighbours car and free up this asset during its unused time. How about unused office space? Loosecubes is a company that markets spare, commercial office space, around the world. Should you need office space in Brazil for 3 hours next Monday, Loosecubes can help you. These companies expand the utilisation of unused assets. Lisa Gansky says, “The Mesh is where access trumps ownership”.

The corporate sustainability journey can be a long one. if you are looking for ideas on how your company can progress in from a cost reduction focus to value creation, then think about generating shared value and check out the links embedded in this article.

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