During the past few years companies and organizations have focused most of their research on why people would take part in the collaborative (or sharing) economy. Researchers including ourselves have followed suit. In 2016 entrepreneurs and researchers will become savvier. The field has expanded and many platforms have become more accessible. Today an increasing amount of people are aware of the new possibilities the collaborative economy offers. Yet many of us active in the field strongly feel that people are still not sufficiently informed about the workings of the various existing platforms. In addition, there may be other barriers towards adoption. In 2016 many companies and surveys therefore will focus on the ‘why not?’
Research will explode
Up until now, proper research in this field has been scarce. It’s been more than five years since the collaborative economy first graced the headlines. During those years the topic has raised the interest of many academics around the world. We will see a lot of papers and reports of this early wave of research published in 2016. shareNL will be tracking and compiling this research in the ‘Collaborative (and Sharing) Economy Research Library.'
Seoul became the world’s first sharing city in 2012. Amsterdam officially followed suit early 2015. This year many more cities will launch their own sharing city initiative with the help of toolkits from Shareable and OuiShare, knowledge from global experts such as April Rinne and inspiration from existing sharing cities. Seoul and Amsterdam will launch a global sharing city council in 2016 to share their experiences; expect to find more information on the council’s website soon. In addition, several events will be organized during the year.
Every year the collaborative economy continues to impact new markets. Last year saw a lot of activity in the field of logistics and surprising new startups in the energy sector; such as Vandebron. This year we expect a similar development for the healthcare sector. Governments face huge challenges to keep their healthcare systems up and running due to the increasingly ageing population in western countries. The collaborative economy is built on trust, and the platforms that move within it are becoming savvier in establishing trust between its users. Therefore in 2016 various organizations that connect supply and demand in the healthcare sector will surface and surprise us.
Convenience is key
Removing social friction for convenience seems to be the direction many organizations are taking in 2016 in order to reach more consumer segments. They will often do so by replacing the personal contact with automated services and we’ll see an increasing number of new intermediaries who will facilitate the exchange instead. We’ve written an article about the rise of the peer-to-business-to-peer marketplace, which capitalises on the user’s needs for convenience and therefore attracts more people to the collaborative economy. Examples can be found in key exchange services propping up around Airbnb and new services such as Peerby Go. This shift will challenge organizations to find newer ways to create trust in the sharing service and between its users.
The overall experience
Since its rebirth, the collaborative economy has been rapidly expanding across different sectors. Existing companies and organizations have gotten a better understanding of what this entails and the opportunities that come along with it, don’t go by unnoticed. This year will be marked by a big increase in partnerships between different organizations and this will allow some of the companies and organizations to dominate their market. A recent example is the partnership between GM and Lyft.
In 2016, the largest players in some of the markets will strive to offer users a high quality overall experience.
By Pieter van de Glind and Harmen van Sprang.
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