No. 10 wraps its arms around the Collaborative Economy

no_10_downing_streetExciting news if you are at all interested in the Collaborative Economy via Nesta.

Apparently there are over a thousand collaborative economy enterprises in the UK! The question framing the event last week asked what can government do to remove barriers that may be hindering the growth of the collaborative economy – to which there were no shortage of answers.

One of the greatest challenges of the Collaborative Economy is how it fits in to existing regulations and laws – when does someone that rents a spare room on an occasional basis on Airbnb become a b&b owner and have to abide by all the local laws and regulations that b&b owners need to abide by, and likewise for an Uber driver – at what point do they become a taxi driver?

This is why it is so important to get Governments on-side on tackle these issues. Some are straightforward problems that are easy to solve; others are more knotty and cracking them will almost certainly add complexity to the system.

Finally the event appears to have highlighted how broad a church the collaborative economy is. And how long it can retain its integrity as ‘one thing’, when it is so clearly many things (and some things not yet conceived).

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The Sharing Economy takes to the water

cruzin.I’ve blogged a few times about the Sharing Economy (sometimes also known as the Collaborative Economy). These terms broadly describe a shift in an economy based on consumption and ownership to one based on sharing and collaboration.

I’m a huge evangelist for this movement as I believe it has the potential to change the World. If you have some time to learn more, you must watch this video from Rachel Botsman.

A start-up on the West Coast of America is winning a lot of fans by taking this approach and applying it to the boat marketplace.

Called they connect boat owners with those who wish to rent boats nationwide.

The transaction they facilitate is really simple; you register your boat, when someone wants to hire it they contact you via and you look at their profile and if you feel as though you trust them you arrange to meet at the boat to hand it over and familiarise them and then when they return you can check it over with them. They have a vested interest in being a good ‘hirer’ or they won’t be able to use the service again and if something goes wrong, part of the fee that you pay is an insurance.
This model makes so much sense to boat owners; financially it makes sense because it lowers the cost of ownership but more importantly it allows owners to share their passion for sailing and boating with others. It won’t be for everyone, but instinctively there’s likely to be a handful of people that would participate in every club and marina in the Country.