Friday, September 19, 2014

Changing roles in the We-economy

The main characteristic of the We-economy is that value creation takes place in an ongoing interaction with a much broader set of stakeholders than what companies and organizations usually consider.

It’s a different way of collaborating and organizing value creation, and it requires all involved to reconsider their roles in the process.

Consumers are usually thought of as passive and free of responsibility. As a consumer, you can choose from the menu, pay what’s required, use what you bought and discard it afterwards.
In the We-economy, the people formerly known as consumers become co-creators.  Co-creators can actively participate in defining the product, configuring it, and contributing ideas, data and labor to the process.
A co-creator operates with a different mindset than a consumer. Consumers are the classic homo economicus. Consumers think short-term and personal. They want the best deal for themselves, and they don’t care about the consequences of their choices for others.

In contrast, co-creators see they will get better value by engaging with others, and they understand that thriving in the long-term requires that others will also thrive. They realize that their choices have positive and negative consequences in a far-reaching system, and that they have responsibilities beyond simply paying for the right to ”consume”.

Manufacturers usually create finished products that are sold to consumers in transactions, which rarely extend beyond the sale and a bit of follow-up for repair and warranty issues.
In the We-economy, the finished physical product is less important relative to the process, which allows users to make the most of the product. An increasing part of overall value is created through interactions on a platform, that allows many stakeholders – including other companies and end-users – to contribute to a solution, which fits the user’s needs and demands in the specific, current context.
This requires that manufacturers open up to input from other companies and users, and this in turns means that they lose some of their control of the finished product.

Public services are usually provided to taxpayers, who are seen as clients that are entitled to a service. In the We-economy, public institutions see themselves as enablers, that create systems and platforms, which allow citizens, civil servants and private companies to co-create common goods such as health, security, mobility or education.
Citizens are given opportunities and responsibilities to improve the value of the services by co-creating.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Waves innovation exhibition opens in Paris - 5 currents of the new economy

The Waves innovation exhibition has opened in La Villette in Paris. It presents 5 currents, which are changing the economy and opening up new types of value creation: Sharing, co-creation, the maker movement, Social enterprise and the circular economy – in my opinion, a set of approaches, which are hard NOT to see as parts of the normal future economy. It's exactly the topic of the We-economy project here in Denmark.
The main content are 20 case-stories from around the world, illustrated with wonderful photographic artwork. The exhibition is housed in an elegant and organic purpose-built 500 square meter pavilion.

For me it has been a great pleasure to work with the team at BNP, to contribute ideas, research and texts – and the result is fabulous, IMHO!
The exhibition will stay in Paris till October 5, and will then travel on around the world, and in France. There is a comprehensive website for the exhibition as well. 

Monday, September 08, 2014

Airbnb co-founder discusses the nuts and bolts of the company on Econ-talk

Nathan Blecharczyk, the CTO and co-founder of Airbnb is interviewed by Russ Roberts of Econtalk. It’s a great interview with lots of insight into the nuts and bolts of Airbnb.
Also, there are some amazing recent facts: There are now 800.000 properties on the platform, and recently 375.000 rooms were rented out in one night. It’s big.

I’ve picked a sequence, where Blecharczyk talks about the turning point of the company, when the founders, at the suggestion from their Y-combinator mentor Paul Graham, went to New York and visited the people who were using Airbnb to rent their flats:

“So, we went to New York, and before we showed up, we called every single user, every single host.
Russ: How many were there?
Guest: About 30.
Russ: Okay. That's 30.
Guest: It was not a monumental task by any means. And we said, How would you like a professional photographer to come by your home and take some pictures? And I think that question was a little bit out of the blue, but people were curious and they said, It's free? Yes. And they said, Okay, sure, why not. And, you have to remember, at this time camera phones weren't that great. They were lower resolution, poorly lit. So we noticed the photos could be better. So we offered to take them, have a professional take them, for free. What ended up happening was that Joe and Brian would go to the camera store, rent the camera for the weekend, and show up themselves, knocking on the door. So the host would open the door expecting the professional photographer, and it was Joe and Brian, the founders of the company. But they let them in anyways, and Joe and Brian took the photos. And while they are in there, sat with them at the computer, showed them how to use the website, got product feedback, as well as invited them to share beers later on. And so we'd get together anywhere from 5-8 people in the evening, have a beer, tell them our story over the last year. And once people had heard the story and gotten to meet us, they became our advantage list. They wanted us to succeed at that point. So much so that even once we came back to San Francisco, we could call them up and give them advice, such as: you really have a beautiful apartment but you've only written a paragraph describing it; could we add a few more paragraphs? Could we perhaps start with your price being lower, and then raise it if you are getting too many inquiries? And so once we had great pictures, lower prices, more complete profiles, and cooperative hosts, that was the special combination. It was then that those properties started getting booked by travelers coming from all around the world. The travelers had great experiences and then would go home to their home cities--Paris, Berlin, Hong Kong--and the guests would oftentimes say, Hey, I want to do this, too. And the guests would become hosts. And so, within months there was a global cross-pollination of the idea in a way that might not be true of other businesses”.

Another quote:
So events are a great catalyst for Airbnb. And just recently during the World Cup down in Brazil, we hosted about 150,000 guests in Brazil. It was actually about 20% of all international visitors, stayed on an Airbnb property. We now have 20,000 properties in the city of Rio. So, Airbnb is a great solution when there's an event that brings an influx of people and there's a lack of the existing hotel capacity to kind of flux and accompany all that”.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Mobilizing small un-used resource - like your car's trunk

It's amazing how the sharing economy can mobilize the smallest idle capacity. Check Cardrop, which offers to deliver package to your car's trunk. So you don't have to worry about staying home to receive that package. 

Monday, September 01, 2014

Man meets woman - in pictograms

Yang Liu, who created the classic comparison of Asian and Western culture in "East meets West", has a new book out on Taschen.
It's about the differences between men and women. Looks like another great collection of deep and very funny insights shown in an extremely simple way. Yang Liu has developed a distinct and effective genre of her own.

Using open data - where's the nearest public toilet?

Clever use of open data, made available by the municipality of Copenhagen and Ã…rhus: An app to locate the nearest public toilet. 

What will you do for $5 - the Fiverr website

At you can get stuff done for five dollars - Voice overs, drawings, videos, search engine optimization...
It seems to be a hard way of making any kind of decent income. Scary, somehow.

$0.007 for a song on Spotify

Interesting to see the figures. Spotify has a section on their website, where they explain the details of their payments. 

Sharing city Seoul - a good overview

An article from the Shareable website gives a good overview of the many initiatives in the ambitious strategy to make Seoul a sharing city. Amazing how much is going on!

Here's a quote: 

"Taken together, it's obvious there's a pressing need to reinvent the city. Seoul is certainly not the only city with these issues. It is, however, fertile ground for the sharing economy to take root. Seoul has built world-class IT and civic infrastructure; it has the highest fiber optic broadband penetration and fastest Internet in the world; it offers free WiFi service in all outdoor spaces; and has the highest smartphone penetration rate in the world at over 67 percent. It also has one of the best subway systems, also wired for high speed Internet.
Using this infrastructure, in addition to strong public-private partnerships, the Sharing City project is working to connect people to sharing services and each other, recover a sense of trust and community, reduce waste and over-consumption, and activate the local economy".